A prime rib served with au jus made from the meat's dripping is a perfect family meal. While it may seem intimidating at first, this recipe is actually quite simple.
The perfect prime rib is an easy undertaking if you follow a few key steps. The most important one is using an accurate digital thermometer. This is the only way to ensure it reaches the desired doneness, which hopefully is a perfectly pink medium-rare when the flavor and texture are at their best.
This prime rib recipe will work no matter what size roast you're cooking. A great rule of thumb to follow is that each rib will feed two guests.
- For the Prime Rib:
- 1 standing beef rib roast (4 to 7 ribs, 9 to 18 pounds)
- Black pepper to taste (fresh, coarse-ground)
- 2–3 teaspoons kosher salt (or other larger grain, flake-style sal)
- 2–3 tablespoons butter (softened)
- For the Au Jus:
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1-quart beef broth (cold, 4 cups)
Note: while there are multiple steps, this prime rib recipe is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.
Roast the Prime Rib
Gather the ingredients.
Remove the prime rib from the refrigerator and place it in a large roasting pan with at least 3-inch sides.
Rub the entire surface of the roast with the butter and coat evenly with salt and pepper. Let the prime rib stand at room temperature for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450 F. When the oven is hot, put the roast in and cook for 20 minutes to sear the outside of the roast. After 20 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 325 F and roast until the desired internal temperature is reached (see below). For medium-rare meat, this will take approximately 15 minutes per pound.
Transfer the roast to a large platter and loosely tent it with foil. Let it rest for 30 minutes before serving.
Make the Au Jus
While the prime rib is resting, you can make the au jus sauce.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the roasting pan and place the pan on the stovetop over medium heat.
Add the flour. Cook, while stirring, for 5 minutes to form a roux or paste.
Pour in the beef broth and whisk, scraping all the caramelized beef drippings from the bottom of the pan. Increase the heat to high and cook the sauce, whisking often, for 10 minutes or until it reduces and thickens slightly.
Adjust the seasoning, strain, and serve alongside the prime rib.
- If your prime rib is larger or smaller than what's suggested in the recipe, simply adjust a couple of the ingredients: use 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and butter per rib of beef.
- No roasting rack is needed, as the rib bones form a natural rack and will keep the prime rib off the bottom of the pan.
- Cutting into the meat too early will cause a significant loss of juice. Plan ahead so you give the prime rib a good 30 minutes to rest.
- Keep in mind that au jus is not a gravy, so don't expect a thick, heavy sauce.
Internal Temperature Guide
Depending on how done you like your prime rib, refer to this guide for internal temperatures. Remember, these are the temperatures to remove the beef and not the final temperature. The roast will continue to cook after it's removed, this is called sitting time.
Rare Meat: Remove the roast when the internal temperature reaches 110 F. The final temperature will be about 120 F.
Medium-Rare Meat: Remove the roast when the internal temperature reaches 120 F. The final temperature will be about 130 F.
Medium Meat: Remove the roast when the internal temperature reaches 130 F. The final temperature will be about 140 F.