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Prime Rib Christmas Dinner Recipe

Retired after 40 years in transport management, Ken has been married for 46 years. Ken and his wife have 3 children and 2 grandchildren.

When it's time to splurge on a memorable feast for the holidays (or any occasion), try this prime rib recipe.

When it's time to splurge on a memorable feast for the holidays (or any occasion), try this prime rib recipe.

Mmm, Mmm, Good!

'Tis the season to not be thrifty, fa-la-la la-laaa-la-la-la-la.

Here are my secrets to a great prime rib. If you share my view of wanting a special Christmas dinner and this meat is within your holiday budget, you will absolutely love this meal.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

2 hours

2 hours 10 min

Varies

Ingredients

  • Prime rib (for a generous serving of roast, figure on two people per rib)
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder

A Note on Buying the Meat

  • Look at the color of the prime rib; it should have a bright red color and no dry or brown edges. This is secret number one.
  • Size: For a generous serving of roast, figure on two people per rib. (Adjust the size of the roast by how many people you want to serve. Just remember to figure two people per rib.)
  • It will cost more, but please buy a four-rib "first cut" roast. It is a rib roast from the small end toward the back of the rib section, which is leaner and gives you more meat for your dollar. It is definitely less fatty.

Now onto the prep and cooking. This is as easy as it gets!

Supplies

  • Metal roasting pan (the inexpensive aluminum ones work fine)
  • Meat thermometer
  • Foil

Instructions

  1. Take the roast out of your fridge at least one hour prior to cooking and let it come to room temperature. Pat the roast dry with paper towels.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Smooth butter onto the top and both sides of the roast.
  3. Generously salt the top and sides of the roast with kosher salt or sea salt. Add some black pepper to taste and a small amount of garlic powder.
  4. Using a metal roasting pan, place the roast rib side down (fat side up) into the roasting pan. Salt generously on both sides of the roast.
  5. Sear the roast at 450ºF for 15 minutes only.
  6. Then, turn the temperature down to 325ºF and let it cook for approximately 1 3/4 to 2 hours. This will produce a medium rare roast. The target internal temperature is 125–130ºF. Please ask Santa for a good meat thermometer. This is the only way that you will know when to stop the cooking process.
  7. About 1/2 hour before the estimated end of the roasting time, begin checking the internal temperature. Cook until rib roast reaches an internal temperature of 120ºF.
  8. Remove from oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let sit approximately 15 to 20 minutes. The resting time will raise the temperature to the desired 125–130ºF.
  9. When you are ready to slice, carefully cut the roast away from the rack of bones. The butcher will have removed the chine bone already, so take your time and use a good sharp knife. Then, measure the length of the roast and divide those inches by the number of people eating (in our case, eight) and slice the roast into evenly thick slices.

Step-by-Step Photos

Make sure the roast is tied.

Make sure the roast is tied.

Spread one tablespoon of softened butter on each cut side of the roast.

Spread one tablespoon of softened butter on each cut side of the roast.

Using a metal roasting pan (the inexpensive aluminum ones work fine), place the roast rib side down (fat side up) into the roasting pan.

Using a metal roasting pan (the inexpensive aluminum ones work fine), place the roast rib side down (fat side up) into the roasting pan.

About 1/2 hour before the estimated end of the roasting time, begin checking the internal temperature. Cook until rib roast reaches an internal temperature of 120ºF.

About 1/2 hour before the estimated end of the roasting time, begin checking the internal temperature. Cook until rib roast reaches an internal temperature of 120ºF.

The finished roast (after resting for 15 to 20 minutes under tented foil).

The finished roast (after resting for 15 to 20 minutes under tented foil).

When you are ready to slice, carefully cut the roast away from the rack of bones. Then, measure the length of the roast and divide those inches by the number of people eating and slice the roast into evenly thick slices.

When you are ready to slice, carefully cut the roast away from the rack of bones. Then, measure the length of the roast and divide those inches by the number of people eating and slice the roast into evenly thick slices.

Eat and enjoy!

Eat and enjoy!

Notes

I have deliberately been very precise with these instructions, so it may seem like a difficult process. Uh-uh, nope! It’s actually easy and delicious.

This is the perfect prime rib. Christmas only comes once a year, and it is our day to enjoy our children and grandchildren. I want them to enjoy a meal that will help capture the spirit of the day. But, this meal will cost a few bucks, so I use this method to really produce the best prime rib I have ever had.

Remember:

Read More From Delishably

  • Try and get a first cut roast, usually ribs #9–12.
  • Bring it to room temperature before cooking.
  • Use a meat thermometer to test the doneness.
  • Start at the 450ºF cooking temperature for the first 15 minutes and then at 325ºF for the remaining time.
A plated prime rib for Christmas dinner with asparagus, potatoes, and Caesar salad.

A plated prime rib for Christmas dinner with asparagus, potatoes, and Caesar salad.

Why I Love Making Prime Rib for Christmas

Before you know it, Christmas will be here. I like to use my prime rib recipe on Christmas Day. However, you can eat this delicious dish any time of the year if you are still able, despite these hard economic times. I know that my household is on the downside of some economic strife, so our gift list is very limited.

We still plan on preparing a special Christmas dinner using my recipe, though. It is a new tradition we started two years ago and one that we want to try to continue. We consider it a gift to our family.

I enjoy preparing prime rib, and it keeps me out of the kitchen when our kids and grandkids come over. This recipe beats the time and fuss of the former traditional turkey and all the fixins’ that we used to do.

Our Full Christmas Dinner

So what is this special meal we have? It consists of:

  • Prime rib
  • Potatoes asiago alfredo
  • Roasted asparagus
  • Caesar salad
  • Feta cheese-stuffed olives

This is the day my wife and I look forward to all year long. Our three adult children are over. My son-in-law and daughter-in-law have expanded our family unit. Our two grandchildren are there, and we all just relax and enjoy the day.

There are gifts under the tree, but we are very unstructured. Everyone comes when they can, but no early morning deadlines! With two little ones drooling over the gifts, my prime rib saves the day. It allows me the chance to prep and then let the oven do all the work, while I join my family on this special day.

Happy holidays!

Questions & Answers

Question: Do you not recommend spices be used on the top of your roast? If so, how much?

Answer: Yes, there has been an about-face on the question of using salt and/or spices on your roast. So now, at least an hour before you will start cooking the roast, generously salt the top and sides of your roast with Kosher salt(I’ve also used sea salt), I sprinkle black pepper on top “to taste “ and a small amount of garlic powder. Let it sit uncovered for at least one hour at room temperature. The salt will draw out some of the meat's juices which dissolve the salt. Essentially you now have a salty juice which cuts through some of the meat's proteins and re-absorbs into the inside of the roast.

Question: How many pounds was the prime rib?

Answer: Even tho I was staying more to the standard of two people per bone to ensure proper serving portions, this prime rib roast was slightly over 9 pounds. Remember after cutting the roast away from the bones, you end up with perfect portion sizes when carving for eight in my case.

Question: What temperature do you cook it to if you want Medium or Medium Well? And you don’t actually lay the roast on each end side to sear, correct?

Answer: Well, first I do not sear the roast on each side any longer. I found it took away from the tenderness of the roast. As for the cooking temperatures... the recommended temperature is 130-135 for medium-rare..... 135-140 for medium and 145 for medium-well.

Question: The picture doesn’t show, do you use a rack in the roasting pan?

Answer: No, I don’t. One of the beautiful things about a bone in roast is you put the prime rib in your pan with the fat cap side up. The bones of your roast serve as its own natural rack.

Question: Do I sear the prime rib on all sides or just the one side?

Answer: I do both end cut sides when I sear.

Question: What if I want time do I take the temp up to 125-130 and then pull it out and let it rest until enteral temp reaches 160-170?

Answer: Yes, it’s recommended to take out the roast when the internal temperature is at 120 - 125 and loosely cover it with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. There are two reasons. One is to let the inside juices of the roast redistribute. Second is to let the internal temperature of the roast rise to the usually recommended serving temperature of 130 - 135, which is medium-rare. Your temperature at 160 - 170 is all the way up to well done. You can cook your roast to your desired temperature, however, the residual rise in internal temperature would not go from 125 to 160+. That range is too large. If you wanted a 160+ roast, you’d need to keep it in the oven to an approximate temperature of 150-155.

Question: When do you remove the string when making a prime rib roast?

Answer: The string is removed after the roast is done cooking.

Question: What is your oven temperature when cooking this prime rib? Do you start out high, then turn down low or all one temp?

Answer: Well as I wrote in the article, the temperature stars at 450 for searing but only for 15 minutes. Then you turn the temperature down to 325 for the remaining roasting time.

Question: Do I take the roast out when I lower the oven temp, or leave it in?

Answer: You leave the roast in the oven when you lower the temperature. The main thing then is keep track of the time as you'll want to start checking the internal temperature of the roast as you near the end of the roasting time.

Question: Do you need to cook it for longer for a bigger roast? Mine is 14.5 pounds, boneless.

Answer: Actually the cooking method and times are the same despite the size. At my house this year, we actually had to buy a larger size roast due to a new significant other (with our youngest son) and the time in the oven is still the same. Delicious. Thanks for reading the article!

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