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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Prime (Standing) Rib Roast

Standing Rib Roast
(aka Prime Rib of Beef)
This is an elegant, yet easy holiday main dish. Yes, you CAN make this!
Let's start with what to buy. Ask the butcher, or the guy behind the meat counter at the grocery store, (you know, the guy with the filthy, bloody apron, sporting a toothpick between his teeth and wearing combat boots?) for a roast from the small end. More meat, less waste.
In December, grocery stores usually put their rib roasts on sale for under $5.00 per pound. This is a fantastic deal for your dollar, so buy more than one to stash in your freezer. Make sure to use one of the "food saver sucks all the air out of the bag" devices. You do not want freezer burn on your beautiful cut of beef.
Size: A 3 rib roast will feed 6 people, 4 ribs, 8 people, 5 ribs, 10 people.
I always buy the roasts bone in, rather than boneless, as it makes a more flavorful roast and Au jus.
Get your roast out of the fridge about 3 hours prior to cooking it. (That's assuming the roast is not frozen).Which is why you should do that now, before you do anything else. It should be at room temp prior to putting it in the oven.
This 5 pound roast was a mere 46 degrees (F) an hour after removing it from the fridge.

Flavor base: We'll use garlic, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to make the paste for the roast.
Start with one head of garlic.
Separate the cloves and peel them. To make peeling easy, put a clove under the flat side of an 8 inch Chef's knife and give it a whack with the heel of your hand. The peel will come right off. Or, if that's just not your bag, scoop out a couple tablespoons already minced garlic from a jar. It's not a crime, and I won't tell a soul.
Throw the peeled cloves into a food processor. If you don't have one, no worries. Mince them up finely and put them in a bowl.
Get your fresh herbs, rosemary, (about 3 sprigs), and thyme (about 3 sprigs).
Mince up the rosemary very finely. No bites of sticks allowed in this beautiful dish.
 Put it in the processor, along with the thyme leaves, (not the stems) and the  garlic.
Buzz it up until everything is very finely chopped. Scrape down the sides as necessary.
Begin adding extra virgin olive oil through the feed tube of the food processor, while the processor is running.

Add only enough oil to make a paste. You don't want the herb paste to run off the roast. You may well want to lick your fingers. The aroma is divine. I think I hear angels singing.
Set aside.
If you don't have a food processor, put the finely minced garlic and herbs in a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil.

Time to prep the veg to put under the roast.
Wash and rough chop 2 carrots, 2-3 stalks celery, (including leaves) and 1 onion, any color. No need to peel. We are not going to eat them. We're just using them for their flavor. Then we'll throw them out like a cheap bar of soap.

Put the chopped veg in the bottom of a roaster. This will give the Au jus more flavor.
Let's get the meat ready.
Get the roast out of the package and dry it off with a bunch of paper towels. Nothing will stick to wet meat.
After the meat is thoroughly dry, season it all over with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Be generous. This is a big hunk of meat.
Now, rub the salt and pepper into the meat. Don't be shy. 
Now it's time to slather on the garlic herb paste. Pour all of it on, a bit at a time, and rub it in with your hands. You must get your hands dirty in order to make a good meal.
Pour 1 cup beef broth over the veg (NOT THE ROAST), in the roaster.
Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees (F).
Put a meat thermometer into the center of the roast.
Roast, uncovered, 30 minutes at 450 degrees (F).
Turn the heat down to 250 degrees (F). Yes, that's 250, not 350.
Roast until meat thermometer registers 130 degrees (F). That's approximately another 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Cook time depends upon the weight of the roast, accuracy of the oven temp, how many times you open the oven door, which way the wind is blowing, the aura in the house, etc. I could go on and on, but I won't. Just use a meat thermometer and keep the oven door shut. And plan for ABOUT 20 minutes per pound cook time.
This is what your roast should look like when it comes out of the oven.

Put the roast on a cutting board and cover it up with foil. Let it rest for 30 minutes while you finish up the au jus and the garlic mashed potatoes or Yorkshire pudding.
Remove the veg from the pan, and place the pan over 2 burners.
My pan had virtually no drippings. So, I added 2 cups homemade beef stock to the pan. (If using canned or boxed stock use the "low salt" kind, or dilute with about 1/4 cup water). Then it was too salty. So I added some water. Then it was still too salty, so I whisked in about 1/2 cup heavy cream. Perfect! Not traditional, but tasty.
After roast has rested 30 minutes, slice between the bones, and serve on a warmed platter. Meat gets cold in a hurry at room temp. Heat your serving platter in the oven on a low setting before you put the roast slices on it.

This is what a 130 degree internal temp looks like. It's pink (medium rare) all the way through. If you like your meat medium, cook the roast until the internal temp reaches 135 to 140 (F).
I beg you, do not roast it until it is well done. You will ruin this gorgeous hunka hunka burnin' beef love.
This is wonderful served with creamy horseradish.

To heat up leftover meat, do not put it in the microwave! Warm it gently in a skillet over low heat until heated through. You must be gentle with the beef, or it will become tough, dry, and overcooked. And that's a crime against food.


  • (1)  5-10 pound rib roast from the small end of the roast.
  • Kosher salt, about 1 Tbls
  • Fresh ground pepper, about 1 Tbls
  • Paste:
  • (1) Head garlic, cloves separated and peeled.
  • (3) sprigs EACH rosemary and thyme
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil, about 1 cup
  • Veg in roaster, all washed and rough chopped:
  • (2) carrots
  • (2-)3 stalks celery
  • (1) onion
  • Au Jus:
  • 2 cups LOW SALT beef broth


  1. Remove roast from fridge 3 hours prior to cooking.
  2. Chop onion, celery and carrots. Put them in the roaster.
  3. Place a rack in the roaster for the roast.
  4. Pour 1 cup low salt beef broth over veg.
  5. Place roast on the rack.
  6. In a food processor, buzz up herbs and garlic. Add olive oil in a slow drizzle to make a paste.
  7. Put Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper all over the roast. Rub it in.
  8. Slowly pour garlic herb paste all over roast, using your hands to press it in.
  9. Place a meat thermometer in the center of the roast.
  10. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees (F).
  11. Roast for 30 minutes at 450 degrees (F).
  12. Turn oven temp down to 250 degrees (F).
  13. Do not open the oven.
  14. Roast until internal meat temp, on the thermometer, reads 130 degrees, for medium rare.
  15. Remove roast to cutting board and cover with foil.
  16. Rest for 30 minutes.
  17. Remove veg from roaster.
  18. Place roaster over 2 burners on top of the stove.
  19. Heat over medium/high heat.
  20. Add beef broth, as needed, to make enough au jus.
  21. Serve sliced roast on a heated platter.
  22. Pour any juices accumulated on the cutting board into the au jus.

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About Me

Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
I'm a home cook that can put some good tasting food on the table, most of the time. My family knows dinner is ready when the fire alarm goes off.