How to Cook Prime Rib

Five surefire tricks to the perfect prime rib.

Prime rib should be succulent, well seasoned, and tender on the inside while deliciously crisp on the outside. The price tag for this cut of meat is well deserved, but it means you should pay extra attention to prepare it in the best way possible. Here are our go-to tricks that ensure a perfect prime rib every time.

Herb-Crusted Prime Rib
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Step 1: Season Overnight

This is a hefty cut of meat. Because of its density, it requires extra time for the salt in your seasoning to penetrate deep into the roast. The day before you plan to cook, you should generously season it with salt and pepper (and we mean generously). You want to use a significant sprinkling of kosher salt because the salt both tenderizes the muscle and flavors the meat all the way to the bone. Once you’ve seasoned it, wrap the roast in plastic wrap and allow to sit in the fridge for at least 12 hours (up to 48 if desired).

Step 2: Tie with Kitchen String

After taking the roast out of the refrigerator, use kitchen string to tie several rounds around the roast to help it maintain its shape. This not only helps with the aesthetic appeal of the meat, but it also aids in the cooking process by exposing the beef on all sides to the heat of the oven at an even rate. Once you’ve tied several segments of kitchen twine around the circumference of the roast, let it rest on your counter for 2 hours before roasting.

Step 3: Bring to Room Temperature

When you remove the roast from its wrappings, it will be very cold, and this temperature is not ideal for the roast to go into the oven because it will promote uneven cooking. Since the internal temperature of a cold roast takes much longer to rise than the external temperature, allowing the meat to come to room temperature before transferring it to the oven minimizes that gap of temperature and time, encouraging the meat to cook evenly. We recommend 2 hours of sitting at room temperature before moving to the oven.

WATCH: How Much Prime Rib to Buy Per Person for Your Holiday Dinner?

Step 4: Roast at Two Temperatures

Just before roasting, brush the entire exterior of the roast with some sort of fat (like melted butter or olive oil). This fat can be seasoned with aromatics like rosemary, thyme, and garlic. Place the roast in a 425°F oven until the outside is deeply browned (15 to 25 minutes) before reducing the temperature to 275°F to cook until the internal temperature reaches 110°F-115°F (the time for this will depend on the size of your prime rib roast). By brushing the outside with a fat, the high heat of the 425°F oven conducts easily onto the surface, creating a crusty browned exterior. The remaining time at the lower temperature allows for a slow internal cooking process that makes the prime rib extra juicy and tender.

Step 5: Rest for 30 Minutes

When you remove the prime rib roast from the oven, do not cut the roast until it has rested for at least 30 minutes. This crucial resting time prevents the hot juices within the meat from pooling out to make for a dry and flavorless roast.

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