Smoked Standing Rib Roast

Smoked standing rib roast sliced on a wooden cutting board

The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 3 hrs
Resting : 30 mins
Total: 3 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Yield: 1 rib roast
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1229 Calories
99g Fat
2g Carbs
77g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 1229
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 99g 127%
Saturated Fat 38g 191%
Cholesterol 282mg 94%
Sodium 1008mg 44%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 77g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 60mg 5%
Iron 9mg 48%
Potassium 1147mg 24%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A standing rib roast smoked to perfection and covered in a crusty and flavorful exterior is hard to beat on special occasions. The ideal main course for the holidays or other celebrations, the standing roast requires some patience, but it's easy to prepare and requires very few ingredients.

What to Know About Smoking Meat

This main starts with the meat itself. There is no need to add spices and other flavorings, as the beef has everything needed to be simply delicious. For our take on standing roast, we went with a smoked version. Be sure to have a large enough smoker with at least two inches of space on each side of the cut so the heat and smoke can flow adequately. Use a mild wood or a fruitwood such as cherry and a light to medium level of smoke to avoid creating an acidic taste in the meat, especially in the fat.

About Standing Rib Roast

A standing rib roast is also known as prime rib, beef rib roast, ribeye roast, or boneless or bone-in roast. These are all the same cut of beef. From this primal cut comes the ribeye steak, but it has to be cut from the standing roast to become a steak. The bottom line is that the roast, or the subsequent steaks that come from it, are succulents pieces of beef that shine in various cooking methods.

How to Serve Smoked Standing Rib Roast

Plan on one pound of uncooked roast per person in order to have plenty at mealtime and some generous leftovers. This is a great roast to carve right at the table for a dramatic presentation. Keep in mind that thinner slices dry out quickly but are more tender, whereas thicker slices will remain juicier but can become tougher faster. Serve with your favorite sides like potatoes and roasted vegetables.

"Smoked prime rib is an excellent choice when you need a simple yet impressive entrée. All you need to make this delicious prime rib roast is a smoker or a grill with a smoker box, and prep is a breeze. My grill stayed at 250 F, and the 4-pound roast was perfectly cooked in 3 hours." —Diana Rattray

Smoked standing rib roast sliced on a white plate
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 4 to 6 pounds standing rib roast

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1/4 cup black pepper, coarsely ground

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon sea salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for smoked standing rib roast gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Prepare the smoker for a 3-hour smoke at 225 F to 250 F. Trim any loose fat off the roast, but leave all of the attached fat.

    Fat being trimmed from the rib roast

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil with black pepper, minced garlic, and sea salt.

    Olive oil combined with black pepper, minced garlic, and sea salt in a small bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Rub the seasoned oil all over the roast, paying special attention to the top side.

    Rib roast rubbed with the seasoned oil

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Place the roast into the smoker, fat side up and bone side down. If your smoker's heat comes from one side place the bone ends away from the heat to start the cooking process.

    Standing rib roast on the smoker

    The Spruce Eats/ Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Rotate the roast halfway through the cooking time to ensure it is cooking evenly. Smoke the roast until a probe thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads at least 125 F, or 3 to 4 hours of smoking depending on the size of the roast.

    Rib roast in the smoker

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  7. Remove the roast from the smoker and place it onto a cutting board or into a large baking dish. Loosely cover with aluminum foil and let rest in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes before carving.

    Smoked standing rib roast covered with aluminum foil

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  8. When ready to serve, plate and slice.

    Smoked standing rib roast sliced on a wooden cutting board

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

How to Carve a Prime Rib Roast

To carve a prime rib roast, you will need remove the rib bones. Hold the completely rested roast so the bones are pointing towards you. With a sharp knife, cut between the rack of ribs and the roast, angling the knife towards the bones to avoid cutting away too much of the meat. Cut slowly until the ribs come away from the roast. There is meat between the ribs, so you'll want to save them for snacking! 

Now you have a boned rib roast that is much easier to carve. Place the boned rib roast on a cutting board and slice it as desired.

To Foil or Not to Foil

Some cooks like to wrap the roast tightly in aluminum foil near the end of the cooking process. This keeps in the juices and produces a rich, smoky roast. When you wrap the roast, it won't have a glazed, caramelized surface like it would when you don't wrap it. If you wrap the roast, monitor the temperature to remove the foil before it overcooks.

Ultimately the decision is up to personal taste, but a crusty exterior is always delicious and the slight change in texture between meat and crust is a welcome addition to the plate.

How to Store Leftover Prime Rib Roast

  • Refrigerate leftover prime rib in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • To freeze leftover meat from a prime rib roast, wrap slices in plastic wrap and place them in a resealable freezer bag. Label the bag with the name and date and freeze it for up to 6 months.
  • To reheat leftover prime rib meat, place slices in a small baking dish with about 3 to 4 tablespoons of beef broth. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake in a preheated 250 F oven for 12 to 16 minutes.

Can I Finish the Roast in the Oven?

For a crusted exterior, you can do a reverse sear. Remove the roast when it is 10 degrees below the target temperature. Roast it in an oven on a roasting pan at 400 F or on a hot grill for about 10 minutes. Rest as directed.