Prime Rib is a very popular menu item at fine restaurants and steak houses. Many people would love to prepare it at home but do not really know where to begin. The following should take that fear away and help you prepare prime rib perfectly.
Start With Determining the Size of Prime Rib You Need
If you have ever seen a standing prime rib roast in your grocer or butcher’s meat cooler, you know that they can be as large as 15 pounds each. Standing simply means that the bones are in the roast and it can literally stand on its own. The bones will actually give your prime rib more flavor as it cooks.
One rib can serve two people comfortably. So if your guest list includes six people, purchase a three rib roast. If eight people are invited, purchase a four rib roast, etc.
Your butcher will recommend that you purchase your rib roast from the small end. It is leaner and offers more meat than the larger end located towards the shoulder. This is the “first cut”, “small end” or “loin end”. Be sure the roast you select is fresh. It should be a bright red with no brown edges.
Prepare Your Prime Rib for Baking
The first and very important part of preparation is to bring your prime rib roast to room temperature. This can take up to four hours. If there is excess fat on the roast (more than an inch thick) trim it off. Be sure to leave the thin layer of fat that the butcher left behind. This thin layer will add flavor and help protect it as it cooks. Also, ask your butcher to tie up your prime rib roast. If not tied, the outer part of the meat will pull away from the rib and overcook.
Start Baking Your Prime Rib
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Dry your prime rib roast with paper towels and coat the cut ends (only) with butter. Do not use salt because it will draw the moisture from the meat as it cooks.
Put your roast rib side down in an uncovered heavy roasting pan that is at least three inches deep. Sear the roast for a quarter hour at 450 degrees F, and then turn your temperature down to 325 degrees F for the remainder of the cooking time. Baste the cut ends of the roast every one-half hour with the liquid that is accumulating in the bottom of the pan.
How Long Do You Need to Bake It?
The trick to perfect prime rib is using a meat thermometer in in the thickest part of the roast. When inserting the thermometer make sure it is not against bone or resting in fat. For rare prime rib, you should cook your roast until it reaches 120 degrees F. Remove it from the oven cover it with aluminum foil and let it set for 20 minutes. The roast will continue cooking while it is outside the oven and should gain an extra five degrees F. After 20 minutes, you can start carving it.
Cooking Temperature Guide
Follow this temperature guide for perfect prime rib:
• Rare: Cook to 120-125 degrees F.
• Medium Rare: Cook to 130-135 degrees F.
• Medium: Cook to 140- 145 degrees F.
• Medium Well: Cook to 150-155 degrees F.
• Well Done: Cook to 160+ degrees F.
Carving Your Prime Rib
Remove and discard the twine used to tie up the roast. Use a large fork to hold the roast in place and cut off the large end bones. These are the chine bones or featherbones. Then set the roast cut side down and slice it across the grain. You can cut the slices as thick as you wish. Serve it with au jus or any other complement you want.
Enjoy your prime rib!