Finding and Cooking That Perfect Prime Rib

Where to get that holiday prime rib and tips on making sure it's amazing.

My phone is ringing off the hook, and emails are asking for my “Prime Rib” recipe from last year. Prime rib is a very expensive "company's coming" cut of meat, and typically it only goes on sale around the holidays. 

Again, this year the best buy on prime rib is at Bloom, where they are selling Sheffield & Sons “Angus” standing rib roast for $6.99 lb. with a Bloom "Breeze" card, otherwise it is $10.49 lb. This is only $1 more per pound than last year, and the sale is on through Dec. 20, while supplies last. I bought three today (they freeze perfectly for that special Valentine’s Day dinner, or a birthday).

This has large, traditional prime rib bones and a good grade of meat (USDA Angus Choice Beef). It is typically three to four pounds. (With tall college guys in my family, we usually think a pound per person, including a bone with each slice.) That is an outstanding price, and select a roast that is "marbled" with bits of fat "speckled" in the center of the roast (ask their meat manager to help you select if you have a question).

This "marble" will give the roast the best flavor and ultimately the juiciest texture as the fat dissolves into the slices when baking. “We are selling a lot of these,” said the Bloom manager as he helped to bag my groceries today.

Giant is only selling "Semi-Boneless," on sale through Dec. 24. This cut does not have the large individual beef rib bones that the Bloom selection has (it only has one or two). It is $5.99 lb. with a Giant card. The regular prime rib bones add flavor and hold the shape of the meat while it cooks (this is important). 

Safeway is selling a boneless beef ribeye roast for $5.99 a pound. I would ask for this roast to be sliced into steaks, as the price of $5.99 per pound is excellent for boneless ribeye steaks.

Believe me when I say that it is not difficult to roast a perfect prime rib, so long as you have a good, heavy cast iron skillet and a good digital meat thermometer that has a probe attached to a long cord that plugs into the side of a digital thermometer.

Yes, you can use a traditional meat thermometer (stick), but repeated opening of the door of the oven will drastically affect your cooking time and oven temperature. It is better to invest in a quality digital meat thermometer.

First, preheat the oven to 200 degrees (yes, 200). Season the outside of meat (Montreal Steak Seasoning is the best for this). Pat the seasoning into the sides of the meat.

Sear meat on top of stove in the cast iron skillet (you can use a heavy skillet, but the cast iron is the best choice as it gives it the best crust). You will have to sear each side separately, about three-to-five minutes per side at high heat. Keep turning until all the sides are seared. Sear does not mean burn, just brown it and turn, as cast iron can heat up to a very high heat. Beware that you cannot be distracted while you are doing this step—you must pay attention and keep turning it and searing.

Insert the digital meat thermometer probe into thickest part of the roast (don't hit the bone with the probe) and place it on a broiler pan, bone side down, and roast at 200 degrees until the temperature reaches 130 for bright pink (medium rare). If you like it a bit closer to medium, go to 135 but I wouldn't go beyond that as it will start to get well done. It will take about 45 minutes per pound up to a maximum of four to five hours. Be sure to go by the temperature, not the time.

Next is the most important step in roasting: let it rest about 20 minutes before slicing. This assures you will have a very juicy roast. Use a large knife to slice off the bones, then slice into slices as thick as desired and serve with ground horseradish.  

Leftovers make a superb prime rib hash when combined with fried potatoes.

Nancy Loughin December 20, 2011 at 07:51 PM
Great news!! The sale price at Bloom for standing rib roasts has been extended through Dec. 27th!!!
Leslie Perales Loges December 23, 2011 at 04:53 PM
A tip from Jeff Johnson of JJ Deli: A very important step in cooking Prime Rib is to let the roast sit at room temp. for about an hour before cooking. And then let it sit for 20 minutes to rest after you take it out of the oven.


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