If you are looking to impress, you will want to learn how to cook a standing rib roast! Read on, and get ready for the best meal of the year!
I don’t know if there is a more impressive holiday centerpiece than a standing rib roast. Dripping with juice, slight bits of char teasing the eyes, and, of course, naked roasted bones punching out of the meat, all as a carefully choreographed tripwire awakening dormant desires from our primitive past! If only the cavemen really had it this good!
Learning how to cook a standing rib roast isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. The roast itself is fairly easy to master, and a few extra steps will take it from simply delicious, to simply show-stopping!
What is a standing rib roast?
Often referred to as “Prime Rib”, a standing rib roast has the rib bones still attached to the meat. It is “standing” because the roast ‘stands’ on the bones as it roasts so the meat does not lay on the pan. This is the most delectably tender of all roasts since it is essentially a large ribeye steak.
How to French a Standing Rib Roast
Not all rib roasts will come with the bone exposed. If the beautiful bones are still hidden under a layer of meat and fat (mostly fat), I recommend carving them out to expose their true elegance. This doesn’t add any additional flavor to the meal, but it is worth it for its presentation value alone!
To do so, simply take a look at each end of the roast. Find where the major muscle ends and most of the fat begins, and mark it with your knife. Obviously, I’m referencing the skinnier side of the roast, where the bone is.
After you have marked each end, take a long carving knife, I use this amazing meat pirate sword (as I call it), and slice down to the bone, cutting out the layer of fat and meat hiding the bones. Then, using a boning knife, cut out everything between each bone. And finally, scrape the bone clean of any hanging fat for a more pristine look. I find a bird beaked peeling knife to be useful for this.
Prepping your roast
This isn’t a required step if you find yourself reading this post hours before dinner time, however it is certainly a worthwhile prepping step if you discover it in time: Salt the roast and leave it uncovered in the fridge the day prior to cooking.
(If you are reading this a few hours before dinner time, stop reading. Get up and go salt your roast. Even 45 minutes is better than nothing.)
I know your fear… You are afraid you will dry out the roast in your fridge and the exterior will be crusty and nasty the next day when you are ready to roast it. Right?
Relax, it isn't going to happen!
Your standing rib roast’s exterior will dry out, but that is a good thing. Salting the exterior will draw out moisture from the roast in which the salt will dissolve into. In time the salt will soak into the meat, while most of the liquid evaporates from the surface, leaving you with a better seasoned roast and a drier surface. Why do you want a drier surface? It will yield a better crust!
How to roast it
What is the best way to cook the roast? Low and slow. The lower temperature you roast your meat, the less likely you are to dry out the outer edges of your roast. If you cook a standing rib roast in a high temp oven you will dry out the exterior before the inner roast comes to temperature.
However, if you only roast low and slow you will never get that delicious blackened crust on the exterior. What is the solution?
Roast gently at 200 degrees until the standing rib roast comes to temperature, then take the roast out of the oven and let it start its resting phase. While it is resting crank the oven to 500 degrees and wait for it to preheat. The time needed for the oven to preheat should be sufficient for most roasts to rest. When it comes to temperature finish roasting for 8 minutes, to allow the exterior to crisp and blacken.
Your standing rib roast should now be perfectly roasted inside and out!
Unless, of course, you didn’t use a meat thermometer. You did use a meat thermometer, right? If not, you may have wasted $50 on the best cut of beef ever mistakenly charred to medium well. What a waste of money that would be! Do yourself a favor, buy a good digital oven thermometer and never question when meat is done again!
When is prime rib done?
Your prime rib roast is best served at rare, or medium-rare. However, there is nothing stopping you from ignoring this advice if you and your dinner guests like meat more well done. Use the following temperature guide to reach your ideal doneness:
- Rare - 125 degrees
- Medium Rare - 135 degrees
- Medium - 145 degrees
- Medium-well - 150 degrees
- Well done - 160 degrees
Tips and Tricks
- Stop roasting on low heat prior to your beef reaching your ideal temperature. The temperature will continue to rise 5-10 degrees while you roast on high heat in the final step.
- You can use a smoker or a grill to cook your prime rib as well, using this same recipe. Just ensure the cooking temperatures remain as written.
- This recipe works just as well for a boneless rib roast as it does for a bone-in roast.
- You can substitute any sized rib roast in this recipe if you are using an oven thermometer that monitors the internal temperature as you bake.
The two names can be used interchangeably, as they come from the same primal rib cut. This is also the same cut where ribeye steaks are found.
No, you want the meat to be exposed while roasting so the exterior dries out and a flavorful crust is formed. Covering the meat will create a spongy exterior texture with an unappetizing gray appearance.
Cook gently at 200 degrees until the roast is 5-10 degrees away from your desired temperature, then remove from the oven and crank the heat to 500 degrees and return the roast to the oven for 8 minutes to crisp the exterior.
Prime rib is cut from one of the most tender, and therefore, most desired part of the cow. This cut is also relatively small in comparison to the overall size of the animal which creates a valuable supply-and-demand effect.
What to serve with it
How to Cook a Standing Rib Roast
- 4 lb Standing Rib Roast
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp Rosemary chopped fine
- 2 tbsp Sage chopped fine
- 2 tbsp Thyme chopped fine
- 2 tbsp Garlic Cloves chopped fine
- Kosher Salt
- Fresh Ground Pepper
- The night before cooking French your roast, if desired, and rub it generously with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Let it sit uncovered in the fridge overnight.
- Combine garlic, oil, and herbs and rub evenly over the roast.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
- Place in roasting pan, fat side up and bone side down, and place into oven.
- Let roast for 4 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 125 degrees, for medium rare.*
- Once roast reaches temperature, remove from oven and crank oven temperature to 500 degrees.
- Let roast rest while oven preheats.
- Once oven reaches 500 degrees place standing rib roast back in oven for 8 minutes to crisp exterior.
- Remove from oven, and carve off bones by cutting straight down along exposed bones.
- Lay roast, cut side down, and proceed to carve into slices and serve.
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