Cooking prime rib can be intimidating—it’s such a big piece of meat and you’re usually making it for a special occasion, like Christmas or a formal dinner, so you want to get it just right. But it needn’t be stressful: This easy prime rib recipe calls for just a handful of ingredients and lays out how to cook prime rib so it’s juicy, tender and full of flavor, without a lot of fuss. Cooking the prime rib low and slow safeguards the meat from cooking unevenly. See the Tips section below for more advice on making the perfect prime rib. And if you have leftovers, they make a killer sandwich!
- 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped (1½ tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1½ teaspoons ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 (5 pound) 3-rib beef standing rib roast, chine bone removed
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil; set a wire rack in the pan. Place garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Drag the flat side of a large knife back and forth over the garlic to form a paste. Transfer the paste to a small bowl. Add thyme, rosemary, pepper, oil and the remaining 2 teaspoons salt; stir until thoroughly blended.
- Rub the garlic mixture evenly over roast. Place the roast, fat cap up, on the prepared rack on the pan. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 8 hours or overnight.
- Remove the roast from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking; let stand at room temperature.
- Place oven rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 275°F.
- Roast the prime rib until a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion registers 120°F (for medium-rare), about 2 hours and 30 minutes to 2 hours and 50 minutes, or to 130°F (for medium). Remove from the oven and let rest for 1 hour before serving.
- Use kosher salt: This is the time to break out the kosher salt—its larger crystals provide crunchy texture.
- The prime rib rub: There are no hard and fast rules for the rub you use for prime rib, so use whatever herbs you like. Some citrus zest, crushed red pepper, toasted and cracked spices, and mustard would all be delicious.
- How to get a great crust on your prime rib: Drying the prime rib uncovered in the fridge overnight pulls out some moisture and creates a very dry surface that results in a crisp, deeply browned crust. This step also means you don’t have to crank up the oven to brown the prime rib, which can result in dry or unevenly cooked meat.
- Use a thermometer: Use a meat probe to take the prime rib’s temperature close to the bone. This is not the time to use your sixth sense to judge doneness.
- Let your prime rib rest—it’s worked hard: Allowing the meat to rest after removing it from the oven allows the juices to redistribute so they don’t spill out when you slice into the meat.
- To make ahead: Prepare through Step 2 and refrigerate overnight.