Nothing says Sunday dinners or holiday meals like a prime rib roast. Coated with a flavorful dry rub and roasted to perfection, this prime rib will be a hit no matter when you serve it.
When I was young, prime rib was a big deal kind of meal.
My mum would occasionally roast one for dinner and we always welcomed having a break from the usual Chinese meal. Western food? Woohoo! 😉
And we would just call it “roast beef”. We didn’t really know much in terms of what cut of beef it was…it could have been sirloin or a rump roast and we wouldn’t have known back then. But thinking back, it was clearly a prime rib.
Fast forward to today and having prime rib is still a big deal, especially around the holidays. I’m totally stoked to have figured out, what I believe, is the perfect recipe that is very simple and tastes amazing!
My Mum’s Roast Beef
I don’t know exactly how my mum made hers, but I do remember getting slices where there would be a clove of garlic in the middle of the meat. There would be no visible sign of entry…it would just mysteriously be there.
I figured out later, of course, that she jammed cloves of garlic into the roast, probably with a chopstick, and the meat just sealed up behind the garlic as it cooked. Obviously, it was to add flavor to the meat…not that we could actually tell…but for the longest time, my siblings and I thought it was the weirdest thing.
She also always cooked the roast until it was well-done (no pink whatsoever), and she served the roast beef with canned mushroom gravy, which we thought was awesome at the time. We also ate our prime rib with ketchup on top of the gravy, but I won’t get into that…
My version deviates from my mum’s as it is seasoned all over with a tasty dry rub, cooked to a perfect medium doneness, and served with a gravy made with vegetables that have cooked alongside the roast. Oh, and there are no mysterious cloves of garlic in the middle of the meat. 😉
Prime rib, by the way, refers to the same cut of beef roast whether it is bone-in or boneless. This section of meat is where rib-eye steaks are cut from, and it is known for its marbling, contributing to tender and flavorful meat. If you use a bone-in prime rib, or standing rib roast, the ribs will act as a natural roasting rack and they can also add more flavor to the meat.
For this recipe, I use a 3-4 lb. boneless rib roast, which feeds 6-8 people. If you want to use a bone-in roast and feed the same number of people, go by the number of ribs as opposed to weight. So for 6-8 people and estimating 2 servings per rib, look for a roast with 3-4 bones.
Season the roast all over with a dry rub mixture of sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and dried thyme and then place it in the fridge to hang out for 2-4 hours.
Before the roasting actually starts, let the meat sit out for an hour and set it on a bed of chopped onions, carrots, and whole garlic bulbs. For a boneless roast, the vegetables act as a roasting rack of sorts, keeping the roast elevated. They will also play an important part to making the gravy later on.
Place the roast in a hot 450 deg F (230C) oven for 20 minutes to sear the outside, and then lower the temperature to 325 deg F (160C) to let it slow-roast for the remaining time.
Doneness and Temperature
On average, 15 minutes per pound is a good guide if you want a perfect medium doneness, so for a 3.5 lb. roast, I will roast it for about 50-55 minutes.
Using a meat thermometer to check the temperature, however, is the best way to check the doneness, keeping in mind that the temperature continues to rise in the roast after you take it out of the oven and let it rest.
For example, to achieve a medium doneness, a meat thermometer poked into the center of the roast should read about 120 deg F (48C). Once covered and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, the temperature will rise about 15-20 degrees fahrenheit, getting it to the 135-140F (57-60C) range for a perfectly tender medium roast.
No Canned Gravy Here…
While the beef is resting, that’s the time to work on the gravy! Remember all the vegetables you roasted with the beef?
Those all get put into a pot with some red wine and beef broth where the whole mixture is brought to a boil and simmered for 10 minutes. Strain out the solids and your gravy can be served as is. If desired, you can also pour the gravy back into the pot and, over medium heat, stir in a tapioca (or cornstarch) slurry to thicken.
There are so many possible side dishes you can serve alongside this prime rib roast to make a fabulous meal. Some ideas are:
- Crispy Roasted Smashed Potatoes
- Cheesy Sweet Potato Stacks
- Simple Roasted Beets
- Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
- Gluten-Free Parmsan Sage Focaccia
And if there are any leftovers, slice it up and stuff it into a bun for a satisfying sandwich, or have an open-faced sandwich with gravy drizzled on top! My personal favorite way of using the leftover meat is to slice it up and lay it over a bed of salad greens. It’s delicious!
Like I mentioned above, prime rib roast is still considered a big deal kind of meal for us, but luckily, it’s not that big of a deal to actually cook it! It is simple to make and delicious to eat, and whether you serve this as a centerpiece for a holiday meal, or for a simple Sunday family dinner, this rib roast is sure to be a hit.
Perfect Prime Rib Roast
- 3.5 lb boneless prime rib roast
- 2 onions, skin-on, quartered
- 2 large carrots, unpeeled, cut into chunks
- 2 whole bulbs garlic, tops cut off
- Extra light olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups reduced sodium beef broth
- 1 cup red wine
Gravy Thickening Slurry (optional):
- 1 tbs tapioca starch (cornstarch also works)
- 2 tbs water
- Combine sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and dried thyme. Set aside.
- Pat rib roast dry with paper towels.
- Coat entire roast with dry rub, patting mixture into the meat.
- Refrigerate uncovered for 2-4 hours.
- Remove from fridge 1 hour before roasting.
- Preheat oven 450 deg F (230C).
- Spread quartered onions, carrot chunks, and garlic bulbs in the bottom of a baking pan/dish. Drizzle with extra light olive oil.
- Place meat on top of the vegetables.
- Roast for 20 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 325 deg F (160C) and roast for approximately 55 minutes (see note below regarding doneness and temperature).
- Transfer roast to a separate plate/pan and cover with foil. Let rest for 30 minutes.
- Transfer all the roasted vegetables and juices to a pot. Add beef broth and red wine and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Pour the gravy mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl to filter out the vegetable solids.
- If you prefer a thicker gravy, transfer the gravy liquid back to the pot over medium heat. Mix the 1 tbs tapioca starch and 2 tbs water into a slurry and stir into the gravy to thicken.
- Slice rib roast and serve with gravy.
- If using bone-in, a good rule of thumb is 2 servings per rib bone. So to feed 6-8 people, purchase a roast with 3-4 bones.
- The temperature of the roast will continue to rise once removed from the oven and during its rest period.
- A general guideline of 15 minutes per pound can achieve medium doneness, but measuring by temperature is much more accurate. (The temperatures below are a basic guide.)
- Medium = 135-140 deg F (57-60C); remove from oven when thermometer measures 120 deg F (48C)
- Medium rare = 130-135 deg F (55-57C); remove from oven when thermometer measures 115 deg F (46C)
- Medium well = 145-155 deg F (62-68C): remove from oven when thermometer reads 130 deg F (55C)
- The internal temperature of the meat can rise very quickly in the oven. If the temperature reads too low, let it roast longer, but continue to check every 5 minutes. Alternatively, use a temperature probe that stays in the meat during roasting and alerts you when it has reached the desired temperature.
- For the vegetables used to make the gravy, remove all the skins and save the rest for eating alongside the roast, if desired. The onions and garlic are really flavorful!
- A serving of gravy (about 2 tbs) adds approximately 90 calories.
- While I have not done it personally, I have also seen roasting methods where you roast the beef at the low temperature at the beginning, with the hotter searing temperature at the end to crisp up the crust on the outside.
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