How to Cook Prime Rib

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors  | 

prime rib
Cooking prime rib, or standing rib roast, might seem complicated, but it's actually super easy. DebbiSmirnoff/Getty Images

Prime rib is perhaps the best cut of beef; it's marbled with fat so it's juicy and tender with incredibly rich flavor. It's traditionally served during the holidays or for special occasions and is often referred to as the "king" of beef cuts [source: Simply Recipes].

It's also one of the most expensive, and averages more than $10 a pound (a full rack includes seven ribs and can easily serve 14 to 16 people). But it's also very easy to cook, so it's worth the money. It's known as a standing rib roast because all you really have to do is stand the roast on the bones in a roasting pan and cook it.

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The best way to cook a prime rib is to start with your oven on a high temperature so the outside of the roast browns quickly. Then you can reduce the temperature so the roast cooks low and slow and reaches the desired internal temperature (see sidebar). The only tool you will really need is a meat thermometer.

prime rib
Salting and seasoning the prime rib before it goes into the oven is really all you have to do, other than check its internal temperature during the cooking process.
Jeff R Clow/Getty Images

Here's how to cook your roast:

  1. Remove it from the refrigerator.
  2. Generously salt and pepper the outside and loosely cover with foil or butcher paper.
  3. Allow the roast to rest for about three hours so it can reach room temperature. This will ensure it cooks more evenly.
  4. Preheat your oven to the highest temperature possible, usually 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius).
  5. Place the roast fat side up in a roasting pan.
  6. Brown the roast at 500 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until it has a nice golden color.
  7. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius) and continue cooking until the roast reaches the desired internal temperature. (Check the internal temperature before you think it will be done, as lots of factors go into how long it will take to cook.)
  8. Remove the roast from the oven once it reaches the desired internal temperature.
  9. Cover it with aluminum foil and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving it [sources: Simply Recipes].

You can also cook your roast in a convection oven. It will help the roast cook faster, but the convection fan will also make it much easier for the roast to dry out and overcook. So, if you simply must use a convection oven to cook your roast, use caution and watch the meat carefully. Use your meat thermometer to continuously monitor its internal temperature so you don't overcook it.

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Originally Published: Jun 21, 2011

Prime Rib Cooking FAQ

What is a prime rib steak?
Prime rib is the best cut of beef and is often referred to as the "king" of beef cuts. It's rather expensive, but well worth the money. It's sometimes referred to as a "standing" rib roast, because all you have to do is stand the roast on the bones in a pan and bake.
What temperature should prime rib be cooked at?
Preheat the oven to the highest temperature possible. Place the roast in the oven. After 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius).
How long should my prime rib be in the oven?
The total amount of cooking time for a rare roast is approximately 15 minutes per pound (500 grams), and 18 to 20 minutes per pound (500 grams) for a medium-rare roast.
What temperature should a prime rib be cooked to?
The temperature inside the beef should measure 115 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (46 to 49 degrees Celsius) for a rare roast, and 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit (52 to 54 degrees Celsius) for a medium roast.
Do you cook prime rib covered or uncovered?
Take the roast out of the oven once it reaches the desired temperature. Cover it with aluminum foil for 20 minutes before carving it.

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