Perfect Prime Rib Roast

When most people think of prime rib or standing rib roasts, dining out or holiday celebrations immediately come to mind.

But I imagine there are some folks out there who don’t wait for Christmas or New Year’s or a trip to their favorite upscale restaurant to enjoy these delicacies. They fix them at home year-round. And there are those who would like to know to do it so it comes out of the oven  perfectly.

The other day, Trudy of East Grand Forks called and said she’d purchased a prime rib roast and wanted to know how to fix it. She said in the past, her cooking method just didn’t pruduce the results she’d hoped for.

When it comes to cooking the perfect prime rib or standing rib roast, size, timing and cut are everything. Here are a few facts:

A full prime rib/standing rib roast is seven ribs, about 15 pounds, and enough to feed a crowd of 14 or more people (depending on how big of eaters they are). The term "standing" means the bones are included in the roast, thus the roast can stand by itself. A rib roast comprises of seven ribs starting from the shoulder (chuck) down the back to the loin. For a generous serving of roast, figure on two people per rib. (Don’t even bother with less than a three-rib roast, any less than that is not a roast but rather a thick steak and would be better treated as such.)

Always trim the roast of excess fat except for the thin layer of fat the butcher leaves on the roast to protect and baste it while it cooks. By excess fat, I mean any more than 1-inch thick. Fat provides the flavor, and that’s what you’re paying for with prime rib.

To make sure the meat is cooked evenly, let the roast stand at room temperature, covered loosely, for about 2 hours. If you don’t, it will take longer to cook your roast. Also, your roast won’t cook evenly, and you’ll end up with well-done slices on the end and raw meat in the center. If your meat is frozen, let it thaw completely in the refrigerator before taking it roast out to stand. Just before preparing the meat, pat the rib roast dry with a paper towel or napkin.

Now for the cooking: Preheat oven to 450 degrees and smear the cut ends of the roast with the butter. Place the roast (ribs down or fat side up) in a heavy stainless-steel or other metal pan, one that’s at least 3 inches deep. The rib bones are a natural rack; you won’t need a metal one.

Sear the rib roast for 15 minutes before turning the temperature down to 325 degrees for the rest of the cooking time (about an hour for every two ribs). Every half hour, baste the cut ends of the roast with the fat accumulated in the roasting pan.

About one-half hour before the end of the roasting time, begin checking the internal temperature with an instant-read digital meat thermometer. Insert meat thermometer so tip is in thickest part of beef, not resting in fat or touching bone. Cook until rib roast reaches an internal temperature of 120 degrees. Remove from oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let sit approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

Finally, a rib roast will continue to cook after you take it out of the oven. The temperature will rise to 125 to 130 degrees internal temperature (medium rare) after 15 to 20 minutes. If allowed to rest as long as an hour, the temperature will rise even higher.

For those of you brave enough to try, here’s a recipe for a standing rib roast with a horseradish sauce. My mouth already is watering!

Standing Rib Roast with Horseradish Sauce
1 teaspoon each: salt, freshly ground pepper, granulated garlic
1 4-rib standing rib roast, 10 to 11 pounds
¼ cup freshly grated horseradish
2 cups creme fraiche or sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground pepper
Combine salt, pepper and garlic in a small bowl; rub the mixture over the roast. Refrigerate the roast at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Remove roast from refrigerator to come to room temperature, 1 hour. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place roast, bone side down, in a baking pan. Cook until a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion reads 120 degrees for medium-rare, about 1 hour, 20 minutes, or to 130 degrees for medium, 1 hour, 45 minutes. Let stand 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine horseradish, creme fraiche, mayonnaise, salt, Worcestershire sauce and pepper to taste in a medium bowl; refrigerate until ready to serve.
Carve roast in thin slices. Pass horseradish sauce at table.
Yield: Serves 12.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving (based on 2 tablespoons sauce): 941 calories, 75 percent of calories from fat, 79 grams fat (31 grams saturated), 206 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram carbohydrates, 53 grams protein, 478 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

One thought on “Perfect Prime Rib Roast

  1. The confusion for people is the definition separating prime rib from standing rib roast. Your article only really touches on what cut it is but not why there are different names. As I know you know, but for people who do not, the difference in name is the USDA stamp of PRIME on the meat. Anything stamped less than prime is a standing rib roast. I know this because in my town and most towns in our area, you can not even get prime cuts of meat. So the butcher is careful to say, standing rib roast when you ask for prime rib.

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