How to Cook the Perfect Holiday Prime Rib
12.23.2019 Tips & Tricks
We’re dreaming of a white Christmas – and a prime rib this holiday season! Nothing says “celebration” quite like a prime rib, which is why we’re sharing our tips to prep, cook, and serve a perfect prime rib for your holiday gatherings.
This prepping and cooking method is specifically designed for smaller prime ribs that weigh less that eight pounds. This method is also intended to produce a medium-rare prime rib. If you are cooking a larger prime rib or want it cooked to a higher temperature, we suggest following the traditional method for prime rib of beef au jus instead.
If your prime rib isn’t trimmed already, cut the thick layer of fat on top down to a 1/4-inch to a 1/2-inch layer. Place the prime rib in a heavy roasting pan and let it rest for two to four hours (depending on its size) to come to room temperature. Allowing the prime rib to come to room temperature is a crucial because if the prime rib is too cold, then the cooking formula will not be accurate.
To ensure a prime rib full of flavor, make a simple butter and spice seasoning. For every four pounds of prime rib, combine 1/4 cup of soft butter, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and 1 teaspoon of herbs de Provence. You can use olive oil instead of butter and any dry herbs that you’d like.
Spread the butter and spice mixture all over the prime rib’s surface, then generously season the top with more black pepper and salt. Don’t be afraid to heavily season the prime rib! Because it’s a large piece of meat, the outside seasoning must be generous.
Cook & Wait
To determine how long to cook the prime rib, multiply its exact weight by five and round up to the nearest whole number – this is the cooking time in minutes. Next, preheat your oven to 500°F. Then, place the prime rib on the middle rack and cook for the exact number of minutes according to the formula above. Once this time has passed, turn the oven off, but do not open the oven.
Wait for two hours with the oven off and the door closed – resist the temptation to open the oven and check on the prime rib. During this two hour period, the heat from the oven will continue to slowly cook the prime rib to a perfect medium-rare.
This formula should work beautifully, but you can always double-check the prime rib’s temperature with a meat thermometer after the two hours. If the prime rib is undercooked, simply heat the oven to 325°F and cook the prime rib until its internal temperature is 120°F. Then, remove the prime rib from the oven, cover it loosely with tin foil, and let it rest for 20 minutes.
Cut & Serve
Remove the prime rib from its roasting pan and place on a cutting board. You can slice the prime rib on the bone or trim the bones off the bottom of the roast and then cut the meat. The general rule of thumb is two servings per bone in the prime rib.
Prepare Au Jus Sauce, If Desired
To make a quick and easy natural sauce for your prime rib, pour the excess fat from the roasting pan into a pot and place over high heat on the stove. Add two to three cups of water or beef broth to the fat and bring the mixture to a boil while scraping the caramelized beef drippings from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon or a whisk.
Let this boil and slightly reduce its heat when you slice the prime rib. Pour the au jus sauce into a small serving bowl, season with salt and black pepper to taste, and serve alongside the prime rib. Each serving of prime rib should have 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of au jus sauce.