I prepared a delicious Standing Rib Roast and these are the directions I used for the Apple Cream Horseradish Sauce, the Prime Rib and Yorkshire Pudding.
What Size of Prime Rib/Standing Rib Roast to Buy?
A full prime rib/standing rib roast is seven (7) ribs, close to 15 pounds, and enough to feed a crowd of 14 or more people (depending on how big of eaters they are).
The term “standing” means the bones are included in the roast, thus the roast can stand by itself. A rib roast comprises of seven ribs starting from the shoulder (chuck) down the back to the loin.
For a generous serving of roast, figure on two people per rib. That means if you plan to serve:
- six (6) people – three (3) rib roast
- eight (8) people – four (4) rib roast
- ten (10) people – five (5) rib roast
- twelve (12) people – six (6) rib roast
- fourteen (14) people – seven (7) rib roast
Don’t even bother with less than a three-rib roast, any less than that is not a roast but rather a thick steak and would be better treated as such.
How To Purchase A Prime Rib Roast:
A whole standing rib roast (prime rib roast) consists of ribs 6 through 12. Most GOOD butchers recommend that you request a rib roast from the small end toward the back of the rib section, which is leaner and gives you more meat for your dollar. This cut is referred to as the first cut, the loin end, or sometimes the small end, because the meat and ribs get larger as they move up toward the shoulder.
I do NOT recommend purchasing a boneless rib roast, as roasting with the bones adds flavor. But, if you do purchase a boneless prime rib roast, cook using the same guidelines as a roast with ribs. Usually the weight is figured without the bones. If in doubt, weight your roast before cooking it.
Be sure and check the date the prime rib was packaged. This is an indicator as to how long it has been sitting around in the store. Look at the color of the prime rib; it should have a bright red color and no dry or brown edges. Check for any damage to the packaging and wrapping.
Optional – Dry Aging the Roast:
This is optional, but if you have the time and the space in your refrigerator, you can dry age the rib roast for several days to bring out additional flavor and produce a more buttery texture in prime rib roast (aging allows the natural enzymes to break down some of protein in the meat).
Dry-aged beef can be expensive to purchase and hard to come by. Some top-quality butchers will offer already dry-aged roasts for sell. If you can find one and can afford one (as they are pricey), purchase the roast. This will cost your more, so the decision is yours!
A food safety note: Home refrigerators aren’t as consistent or as cold as commercial meat lockers. Before aging meat at home, get a Refrigerator Thermometer and be sure your refrigerator is set below 40°F.
How to dry-age beef at home – The good news is that you can dry-age beef at home:
Only the top grades of beef can be dry aged successfully. Use USDA Prime or USDA Choice from the best meat source in your area. Buy a whole prime rib roast, rib-eye roast, or loin strip. You cannot age individual steaks.
- Unwrap the beef (do not trim), rinse it well with cold water, allow the meat to drain, and pat then pat the meat dry with paper towels.
- Wrap the roast loosely in a triple layer of cheesecloth or a plain white cotton dish towels; and set it on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet or other tray.
- Place the wrapped roast on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator (which is the coldest spot in your refrigerator).
- Refrigerate for 7 to 10 days; the longer the beef ages, the tastier it gets. After the first day, carefully unwrap and then rewrap with the same cheesecloth to keep the cloth fibers from sticking to the meat.
- When ready to roast, unwrap the meat and, with a sharp knife, shave off and discard the hard, dried outer layer of the meat. Shave away any dried areas of fat, too, but leave behind as much of the good fat as possible. NOTE: There can be much waste as the dried and sometimes moldy meat needs to be trimmed away before cooking and eating it. Roast whole or cut into steaks.
Prime Rib Cooking Chart:
The chart below is only a guide. You must rely on an accurate Meat Thermometer and start taking temperatures half an hour before the end of the estimated roast time. Reminder: Instant read thermometers are not meant to be left in the roast during the cooking process.
What constitutes rare and medium-rare cooked meat?
To satisfy government home economists, the Beef Council says rare beef means an internal temperature of 140 degrees F.
Well, that is ok if you like well-done and dry meat. If you like moist, rosy meat (like I do), rare begins at 120 degrees F. and starts to become medium rare at 125 to 130 degrees F. To cook your meat properly, you must purchase and use a good instant-read digital meat thermometer.
I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I, personally, use the Thermapen 5 Thermometer (shown in the photo on the right). Originally designed for professional users, the Super-Fast Thermapen is used by chefs all over the world. To learn more about this excellent thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined: Thermapen 5 Thermometer
How To Cook Prime Rib Roast – Prime Rib Roast Recipe:
Prime Rib Roast (standing rib roast), at room temperature (very important)
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
Trimming Excess Fat: Trim roast of excess fat, but not the thin layer of fat the butcher leaves on the roast to protect and baste it while it cooks. Excess fat means any fat more than one (1) inch thick. The fat provides the flavor and what you are paying for with prime rib, so leave it on.
Room Temperature: To cook evenly, the roast must not be cold – let it stand at room temperature, loosely covered, for about 2 to 4 hours. This time can
vary depending on how big or small your roast is. I can’t give you an exact time on this. If you don’t let the roast come to room temperature, if will take longer to cook your roast. Your roast won’t cook evenly, and you’ll end up with well-done slices on the end and raw meat in the center. Use your best judgment!
Previously Frozen: If your prime rib roast is frozen, let it thaw completely in the refrigerator. Remove the roast from the refrigerator about 2 to 4 hours before cooking to let it come to room temperature. Depending on the size of your roast, the time to come to room temperature may vary. I can’t give you an exact time on this. Use your best judgment!
Tying Up Prime Rib: It is important to tie the prime rib before roasting. If left untied, the outer layer of meat will pull away from the rib-eye muscle and overcook. To prevent this problem, tie the roast a both ends, running the cooking twine parallel to the bone. Most butchers will tie your rib roast for you.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Pat the room-temperature standing rib roast (prime rib roast) dry with paper towels or napkins. Smear the cut ends only of the roast with the butter.
Do NOT salt the outside of your prime rib roast, as salt draws out moisture from the meat while cooking. You can use other seasonings, if desired, but I find it is not necessary. I know that some people do salt their prime rib roast before cooking, but trust me and don’t salt – the result will be a juicy, delicious roast to serve your family and guests!
Place the roast, ribs down or fat side up, in a heavy stainless-steel Roasting Pan or other metal roasting pan. NOTE: Select a roasting pan that has sides at least 3-inches deep. (I do not recommend using nonstick pans, as these pans yield fewer of the cooked-on bits that make the tasty au jus juice or gravy.) The rib bones are a natural rack; you won’t need a metal one.
Sear the rib roast for 15 minutes at the higher oven temperature (450 degrees F.), then turn the oven to the lower temperature (325 degrees F.) for the rest of the cooking time. Every 1/2 hour, baste the cut ends of the roast with the fat accumulated in the roasting pan. Do Not Cover the roast.
About 1/2 hour before the estimated end of the roasting time, begin checking the internal temperature (use a good instant-read digital meat thermometer).
NOTE: If you ignore every other bit of advice I’ve given, please pay attention to this – For a perfectly cooked rib roast, invest in a good meat thermometer. Internal temperature, not time, is the best test for doneness and you don’t want to blow this meal!
Insert meat thermometer so tip is in thickest part of beef, not resting in fat or touching bone. Cook until rib roast reaches an internal temperature of 120 degrees F. Remove from oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let sit approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
NOTE: Remember, the rib roast will continue to cook as it sets. The temperature will rise to 125 degrees F to 130 degrees F. internal temperature (medium rare) at 15 to 20 minutes. If allowed to rest as long as an hour, the temperature will rise even higher. So, pay attention to how long you let the cooked prime rib roast sit.
Using a convection oven: Using a convection oven can cut as much as 25% off the cooking times listed for the regular oven. It is also easier for your roast to dry out and cook too much with the convection oven. Watch the roast carefully and please use a cooking thermometer to know when the roast is done and should be taken out of the oven.
Holding Cooked Rib Roast: To hold cooked roast until serving time, immediately turn off oven and leave door ajar after removing roast. Let roast sit 15 minutes on counter and then return roast to the oven, door closed, for up to an hour or even 2 hours for the biggest roasts. Check the temperature every 15 minutes. If will rise approximately 10° F at first, then gradually subside.
High Altitude Baking:
Above 2,500 feet, the atmosphere becomes much drier. The air has less oxygen and atmospheric pressure, so cooking takes longer.
Use the sea-level time and temperature guidelines when oven-roasting beef, as oven temperatures are not affected by altitude changes.
Allow additional cooking time for your prime rib roast at high altitude. I can not give you the exact cooking time.
A food thermometer is the only way to measure whether your roast has reached a safe internal temperature. In a high altitude environment, it is easy to overcook meat.
How To Carve Prime Rib Roast:
Use a long, thin, sharp knife. Sharpen you Carving Knife, if necessary using either a sharpening rod or stone.
- Steel Sharpening Rod – To use a Steel Sharpening Rod or Steel, pull the edge down and across the rod, holding the carving knife at the same angle. Do this anywhere from 5 to 10 times.
- Sharpening Stone (whetstones) – To use a Sharpening Stone (whetstones), hold the carving knife at a 10-15-degree angle to the stone. Push back and forth in smooth, steady strokes.
- Place the cooked prime rib on a large meat cutting board with a well at one end to hold the juice.
- Remove the twine used to tie the rib roast together.
Photo by Paul Brown
Beef Recipes using various cuts of beef.
Prime Rib Dinner Menu Ideas:
Prime Rib Dinner
Prime Rib Dinner
(Thanksgiving Dinner and/or Christmas Dinner)
Definition of Prime Rib:
A tender cut of beef taken from the rib primal. A Prime Rib Roast is also often referred to as “Standing Rib Roast.” It is very tender, flavorful, and expensive. A slice of uncooked prime rib roast is really a “rib steak” which includes the “rib eye” portion.
Does the grade of the meat make much of a difference?
You bet it does! The better the grade of beef, the less you have to do to it! The higher the USDA grade, the more you’ll pay.
Grading Cuts of Beef:
Many people have the mistaken idea that the term “Prime Rib” refers to a roas
t that is graded “Prime” when actually the name has nothing to do with the grade or quality. Most of the roasts sold in supermarkets that are named “Prime Rib” are graded “Choice”. Prime rib roasts that are graded “Prime” are usually available only to restaurants or through a special order with a butcher.
The USDA’s grading system gives a good way to assess quality. The grading designations are largely determined by the amount of visible fat that’s streaked throughout the muscle tissue, called marbling. Beef that’s richly marbled gets a higher grade; it’s more tender, juicy, and flavorful because the intramuscular fat melts and bastes the flesh during cooking. Also, since fat insulates, marbling provides some insurance against overcooking.
Prime – The highest grade in the U.S. meat grading system. Prime has the most marbling and is produced in limited quantities. Prime beef is most commonly sold in fine restaurants, specialty meat markets and is exported to upscale restaurants in foreign countries.
Choice – Choice has less marbling than Prime but more than Select. It is typically found in the service meat case at your local grocery store.
Select – Select has the least amount of marbling of the top three grades, making it leaner but possibly less tender, juicy or flavorful than Prime or Choice. Select is most commonly found in the self-service meat case at your local grocery store. Not recommended for top-quality steaks.
Beware of marketing deceptions where some grocery stores or supermarkets may try to fool an unsuspecting consumer by using the words “prime” and “choice” without being attached with the official “USDA shield.” Unless prime and choice carries the USDA label, what you are buying may not be the real thing.
How To Make Prime Rib Gravy:
Remember – Gravy is different than Au Jus Juice (see Au Jus Juice below).
After the prime rib roast (standing rib) is done roasting, remove from the oven and the roasting pan. Place the cooked prime rib on a large Meat Cutting Board with a well at one end to hold the juice.
Place roasting pan over two (2) burners on stove over medium heat (always make the gravy in the same pan you used to roast the prime rib roast). Skim and discard any excess fat from the juices in the roasting pan. Using a heavy spoon, scrape all the dark drippings and any crunchy bits from the sides and bottom of roasting pan. These are what add great flavor and a nice rich color to the gravy.
FOR EACH 2 CUPS OF GRAVY DESIRED:
- Use 3 tablespoons liquid fat (fat is in the drippings left in the bottom of your roasting pan)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups of liquid (meat juices/drippings, or broth, vegetable juice, bouillon, wine, and/or water).
In a separate container with a lid, shake together all-purpose flour and about 2 cups cool water. This is called a slurry. Adding the thickener (flour) in this way helps to prevent lumps from forming.
Once the drippings in the pan are lightly bubbling, slowly add the slurry mixture to the gravy pan, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. If it starts to thicken immediately, stop adding the remaining slurry, you may not need to use the whole amount depending on how much or little drippings were left in the roasting pan.
If lumps do develop, you should be able to use a wire whisk to remove them. NOTE: If all else fails and you can’t remove the lumps, just place mixture in your blender or food processor and process until smooth. If you gravy is to thick, add additional liquid, stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Gravy is greasy – A Fat Separator should eliminate this problem. If you discover that your gravy is oily toward the end of its preparation, skim off as much fat as possible with a wide-bowled spoon.
Gravy is doughy - Make sure the flour in the gravy has been cooked long enough: When flour is added to the pan drippings, whisk constantly while the mixture cooks until it turns a deep golden brown and smells nutty. If the gravy tastes floury when you’re almost finished, turn up the heat to maintain a rapid simmer for several minutes; then thin it again with more stock or water if necessary.
Lumpy gravy – If gravy has lumps, strain gravy just before serving, using a fine sieve; discard solids. Another method is to place the lumpy gravy in your food processor or blender and process until smooth.
Use carving fork to hold roast in place. Turn the platter to where the rib bones are on your left, if you are right-handed, and on your right if you use your left hand to carve.
Using your sharp carving knife, make one cut to slice off the chine or feather bones (the large-end bones) to sever meat from bones in one piece. Note: Save the bones for nibbling on later or for making soup.
Slice the meat across the grain into whatever thickness you prefer. Serve your perfectly-cook prime rib roast with sides of Au Jus Juice, Yorkshire Pudding, and either Sour Cream Horseradish Sauce or Garlic Blue Cheese Sauce (see recipes below).
A traditional English side dish to Prime Rib Roast is Yorkshire Pudding, a puffy pop-over like pastry. Yorkshire Puddings, fresh from the oven, should be well-risen and golden brown with a crisp exterior and soft middle.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup milk, room temperature
1/2 cup pan drippings from roast prime rib of beef (beef juices and oil)
NOTE: Yorkshire Pudding is cooked after you have taken your cooked prime rib roast out of the oven and are letting it sit for the required resting period.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour and salt.
In another bowl, beat together the eggs and milk until light and foamy. Stir in the flour/salt mixture just until incorporated and smooth. NOTE: The batter will be like a very thin pancake batter.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two (2) hours (for best results, refrigerate overnight).
NOTE: Traditionally Yorkshire Pudding is made in one large dish or your meat roasting pan and cut into wedges. For individual servings, I have found it is much easier to prepare them in muffin tins or popover pans. You be the judge of how you would like to cook and serve them.
Roasting Pan Style
Pour the cooked prime rib meat drippings into your baking pan or muffin tins of choice. For a popover version, use popover pans or muffin pans, putting at least 1 teaspoon of meat drippings in the bottom of each well.
Place the pan or pans in your oven and get the drippings smoking hot (about 5 minutes). Carefully take the hot pan/pans out of the oven. NOTE: The fat in the muffin tin should be almost smoking.
Remove the prepared cold batter from the refrigerator. Whisk the batter thoroughly to break down any lumps and add some additional air. Quickly pour the batter into the hot pan/pans on top of the hot drippings. NOTE: If using popover or muffin pans, fill 1/3 full. The fat should sizzle when you pour the batter. Work quickly, so you don’t lose all the oven heat.
Put the pan back in oven and cook until puffed and dry, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. NOTE: Do not open the oven door during baking.
Remove from oven and serve hot with your Prime Rib Roast.
Makes approximately 6 individual popovers (depending on size of pans).
Au Jus Juice:
Au Jus is a French term meaning “with juice.” The term is used to describe the serving of meat, most often prime rib roast, surrounded in or served with a container of the natural juices that were produced as drippings while the meat was being cooked. It is not thick like a typical sauce or gravy.
While the cooked prime rib roast is standing or resting for the required resting period, make the “au jus” sauce.
IMPORTANT: Making Au Jus is more of a technique and not a recipe. You will have to do this by feel or guess work. It depends on how much juice is left in your pan (plus the juice from slicing the prime rib roast), and how many people you will be serving.
Add your beef broth and/or wine according to how much Au Jus you think you will need for each person being served. I wish I could give you exact directions, but it is impossible to have an exact recipe for this.
- Beef juices from cooked Prime Rib Roast
- Beef broth/stock*
- Red wine (of your choice)
* The au jus will only be as good as your beef stock (and also the red wine you use), so it is recommended that you use homemade beef stock, if possible. If you must use canned stock, buy the best you can find, but forget about using salty, artificially-flavored bouillon cubes.
** I like to add some of the same red wine that I will be serving with the meal.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat (leaving the beef juices in the pan) from the roasting pan and discard the remaining fat (or reserve if making Yorkshire puddings).
Place the roasting pan on two (2) burners on medium heat. Add the beef stock and stir to release any browned bits in the pan. Add red wine of your choice.
Bring mixture to a boil and cook until the stock is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. NOTE: Au jus is not thick like a typical sauce or gravy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a gravy boat.
Sour Cream Horseradish Sauce:
This is my favorite sauce to use with prime rib.
1/4 to 1/2 cup prepared horseradish (according to your taste)
1 pint (2 cups) sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
In a medium-sized bowl, combine horseradish, sour cream, lemon juice, and salt; thoroughly mix. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
NOTE: Can be made 2 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate.
To serve, pass the horseradish sauce on the side.
Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups.
Garlic Blue Cheese Sauce:
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 medium garlic clove, thinly sliced
6 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
Freshly ground black pepper
In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, bring cream and garlic just to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until the cream coats the back of a spoon, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir in the crumbled blue cheese. Season to taste with the pepper.
NOTE: Can be made 2 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.
To serve, pass the Garlic Blue Cheese Sauce on the side.
Makes approximately 2 cups.
Apple Horseradish Sauce Cream:
(low fat version)
1/4 cup grated tart apple
1/4 low-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoons prepared horseradish
In a medium-sized bowl, combine apple, yogurt, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and horseradish.
NOTE: Can be made 2 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate.
Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups.