The holidays in my household, for as long as I can remember, have been marked with a prime rib for Christmas Eve or New Year’s eve. While I love creating new traditions with my husband, this is a food tradition that has carried over and I love it. Not only is prime rib delicious, but the act of making it every year will inevitably remind me of family. So much of what we make and when we make it is wrapped up in memories and I love that food can be the conduit for family and love. Okay, I started to get sappy here for a second but let’s bring it back to the meat.
Prime rib is one of those meals that seems really fancy, but in reality requires very little work. A little technique and you will have a juicy, perfectly cooked roast every single time. I’ve talked about the reverse sear method for cooking beef in the past (just check out the recipe for this gorgeous tomahawk ribeye), but the science bears repeating. Ultimately, the most tender meats are meats that are cooked for long periods of time, just like you’d slow roast or braise meat. This is great for tough cuts (think brisket and chuck), but they are typically cooked to a well-done, fall-apart texture. When you’ve got a thick cut, well-marbled, steak-quality cut of beef like ribeye or prime rib, you sure as hell better not be cooking it to well-done (seriously, don’t. Please). The reverse searing method allows the beef to cook at a low temperature for a longer period of time, effectively melting the fat and collagen found in the meat and ensuring a melt-in-your-mouth piece of beef that is still served medium rare-medium. If searing meat is throwing it into a hot oven or pan first and then lowering the temperature, reverse searing is (obviously) the opposite. The beef goes into the oven at a very low temperature for a long period of time, then it’s allowed to rest, and finally goes back into a screaming hot oven briefly to get a nice crust on the outside. You will impress your guests over and over again with the perfect prime rib. And please, please, serve it with this incredible horseradish sauce. Happy cooking!
Use a well-marbled cut of prime rib. Fat is important to keep the meat juicy, now is not the time to skimp on fat
A digital read thermometer (probe) is absolutely necessary for this recipe to ensure that the internal temperature is where you want it to be. I use a probe thermometer that stays inside the roast during the entire cooking process so that I don’t have to keep checking the temperature. The one I used is linked below.
Plan ahead and season the meat at least 16 hours in advance. Seasoning it ahead of time is important to allowing the salt to permeate past the outer layer.
Letting it hang out in your fridge uncovered is also an important part. While the meat is seasoning, it also helps dry the outer layer a bit, resulting in a nicer crust.
Roasting pan with a rack or a rimmed baking sheet and a wire rack
Digital thermometer, preferably a probe thermometer
PRODUCTS USED IN THIS RECIPE
This is my go-to prime rib recipe! It’s always tender, flavorful and so easy!
- 4–5 lb bone-in standing rib roast (prime rib)
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- rosemary sprigs
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- The day before you plan to cook the prime rib, season the roast liberally all over with kosher salt. Place it on a plate or small baking dish and leave it uncovered in the fridge for at least 16 hours. This allows the outside to dry a little for a better crust and allows the salt to permeate past the outer later.
- Preheat an oven to 225 degrees F. Place the roast, fat cap up, in a roasting pan with a rack or on a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack. Nestle the rosemary sprigs under the roast. Mix together the dijon mustard, horseradish and olive oil and liberally brush all over the roast. Then grind freshly cracked pepper all over. Insert a probe thermometer into the middle of the prime rib (make sure the probe reaches the center). Place the roasting pan in the oven and cook until the internal temperature reaches 130 degrees F, about 3 1/2 – 4 hours. Remove the roast from the oven and tent loosely with foil, and allow the meat to rest for at least 30 minutes, up to an hour and a half. Discard the rosemary sprigs, unless you want to garnish your serving plate. Right before your guests arrive, crank the heat up to 550 degrees F (or as high as your oven will go) and return the roast to the oven for 10 minutes or so, until the outside is well-browned and crisp. Remove from oven, carve, and serve immediately.
- Horseradish sauce: Mix all ingredients together. Can be made in advance. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
A digital thermometer (preferably with a probe) is essential for this recipe to ensure that the inside is the correct temperature.
130 degrees F will yield a medium-rare prime rib. 135 degrees F will yield a medium prime rib. I do not recommend cooking your prime rib to higher or lower temperature points. Prime rib is best served medium rare-medium. If you have guests who want medium-well or well-done meat, I would recommend slicing off portions for them and cooking them in a little bit of au jus.
Use a well-marbled piece of beef.