Nothing gets people’s appetite going like great-tasting prime rib. Also known as standing rib roast, prime rib is a primal cut made from the ribs of beef. It is classified as “primal” because it is one of the first sections that is cut from the carcass (hence the word “prime”) before it is broken down into other cuts.1 Prime rib is taken from the top part of the center section of the rib — specifically the sixth through the twelfth ribs. From there, butchers can derive other cuts such as ribeye steak.2
Cooking Prime Rib: What Does Prime Rib Mean?
Simply put, when you mention “prime rib,” it is traditionally served roasted from the oven using primal beef rib cuts. It also is sometimes broiled or grilled Aside from this, the “prime” in prime rib is also a distinction of the meat’s quality by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).3
The word “prime” is used by the USDA to describe meat of the highest quality from beef, veal or lamb in terms of juiciness, tenderness and flavor. According to the USDA, prime beef is generally produced from young, well-fed cattle. This creates abundant marbling, which is the amount of fat interspersed with the lean meat. As such, it usually commands a higher price and is generally sold to restaurants and hotels.4,5
How Long to Cook Prime Rib for Best Results
The length for cooking roasted prime rib depends on how much time you have. According to AllRecipes, there are three durations typically followed:6
- Low temperature for a long time: At 325 degrees Fahrenheit, the meat will take around 17 to 20 minutes per pound to cook.
- High temperature for a shorter time: The meat will be roasted at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for the first 30 minutes and then the temperature will be reduced to 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 13 to 15 minutes per pound.
- Both high and low temperature: The meat will be seared outside first, then the heat will be turned down to cook for 30 to 45 minutes.
However, I recommend that you cook the meat as little as possible — rare or medium-rare at the absolute most. The longer you cook the meat, the more heterocyclic amines are created during the process. These are toxic chemicals that are linked to cancer.
How to Cook Prime Rib Roast in the Oven
Roasting is considered to be the traditional way of cooking prime rib. This produces medium-rare cuts that have a browned exterior, with the inside retaining its juices for maximum flavor. Aside from traditional bone-in prime rib, this method also works well with boneless versions.7 In the following sections, you’ll learn how to cook prime rib in the oven in various ways, as well as how to reheat it properly when you have leftovers.
How to Slow Cook Prime Rib Properly
Slow-roasting prime rib is a preferred method of cooking the beef because it preserves the flavor and juices, as well as helping maintain the structure. In short, there’s little shrinkage, and you end up with a delicious dish. However, the downside here is that the skin won’t brown, for those who like roasted exteriors.
If you still want to have a brown appearance, you will have to either sear it on a stovetop before roasting8 or quickly sear it in the oven before or after it’s cooked.9 To try the slow-cooking method with the browning done on the stove, follow this procedure accordingly:10
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. While allowing your oven to heat up, set the pan across two burners on the stovetop.
- Add 2 teaspoons of coconut oil and heat it, then sear the beef on all sides for seven to eight minutes until all sides are brown.
- Once done searing, place the meat in the oven for two and a half to five hours. Using a thermometer, make sure that the deepest part of the meat does not reach a temperature higher than 128 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the beef from the oven, place it in a ceramic dish and cover it with a lid to allow it to rest properly. The beef will rise to 130 degrees, which is perfect for medium-rare. After 20 minutes, it will go down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which means it is ready for serving.
For searing the meat after it’s roasted, once its internal temperature has reached 118 degrees, increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees and roast on the lower third rack of the oven for about 10 minutes, when the fat forms a dark brown crust.11
Cooking Prime Rib: A Classic Roasted Prime Rib Recipe
One of the best things about cooking prime rib is its simplicity. You can make great-tasting prime rib using very few ingredients to create a meal that will satisfy every member of the family. If you haven’t made prime rib before, now’s the perfect chance. Simply follow this recipe to get you started:12
- 13- x 9-inch enameled cast iron pan
- Probe thermometer
Classic Roasted Prime Rib Recipe
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 7 pounds of prime rib, or 3 to 4 ribs
- 1 tablespoon of kosher salt
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1 cup of sour cream
- 1/4 cup of horseradish
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional)
- Remove the meat from the refrigerator two hours before cooking. Pat it dry with paper towels and then season generously with the salt. Make sure to coat all sides and corners. Place the seasoned beef in the pan with the ribs facing it and the fat cap up. Leave at room temperature for two hours.
- Combine all ingredients for the horseradish sauce in a small bowl, then whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Put the meat in the oven and roast for 15 minutes to sear the meat before you roast it. This will create a fair amount of smoke, so turn on your ventilation.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, then cook for 13 minutes per pound. All in all, it should take around an hour and a half, or two, for larger roasts. For medium-rare, make sure the temperature at the center of the meat stays between 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once the beef is done roasting, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest. Place it in a ceramic pan and cover with a lid and leave it for 30 minutes on your countertop.
- Carve the beef using a knife, cutting away at the twine then pulling the roast away from the bones. Slice the rib to get one-half-inch-thick slices, then serve with the horseradish dip.
How to Reheat Prime Rib
If you have leftover prime ribs and would like to enjoy them again in the coming days, reheating them properly is important to regain their deliciousness. But before reheating, you must first store prime rib properly to preserve the quality. Start by covering any leftover meat in parchment paper and place in a closed container. When placed in the refrigerator, it can last for up to seven days, or up to six months in the freezer. Don’t forget to drizzle some of the leftover juice before wrapping.13 To reheat your leftover beef, simply follow this procedure:14
- Defrost the meat in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Place the leftover beef in a pan and cover it with a lid. Add some of the au jus (leftover sauce from cooking), or one-fourth cup of low-sodium beef stock.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, then place the beef inside for 20 to 30 minutes depending on the leftover size.
Whichever Way You Cook Your Prime Rib, Make Sure the Beef Is Grass Fed
No matter which way you prepare your prime rib, no doubt it will taste magnificent. That being said, it’s important that you pay attention to the quality of the meat itself, because that will dictate whether what you’re eating is actually healthy or not. Simply put, if you’re going to cook prime rib, make sure that it comes from high-quality grass fed beef. Research has shown that it is superior to regular beef because it has:
Lower amounts of total fat15
Higher levels of carotenoid precursors to beta-carotene16
Higher amounts of vitamins A, B6, B12 and E17
More calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, sodium and phosphorus18
Naturally higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid19
Higher amounts of vaccenic acid that can be transformed into conjugated linoleic acid20
Fifty percent more omega-3 fatty acids compared to standard beef21
To make sure you’re getting the best grass fed beef, you can visit ranchers or local cattle managers and buy the meat directly from them. You may also purchase from certified organic providers online if you don’t have any nearby ranches in your location. If you choose to go to your local grocery, look for products certified by the American Grassfed Association (AGA). Their standards are generally higher compared to the ones set by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing service. You can be sure that AGA-certified beef comes from cows that:
- Have been fed a 100-percent forage diet
- Have never been confined in a feedlot
- Have never received antibiotics or hormones
- Were born and raised on American family farms
Sources and References
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