Why It Works
- A low and slow start delivers perfectly evenly cooked medium-rare doneness all the way from edge to center.
- Blasting the prime rib with heat just before serving gives you a crackling-crisp, browned crust.
Prime rib is one of our favorite cuts of beef. It's also expensive, which means you want the best, most reliable results possible. This recipe takes advantage of the reverse sear method to yield prime rib with a deep brown, crisp, crackly salty crust surrounding a tender, juicy, medium-rare interior. By starting the roast off in a lower temperature oven, we evenly cook the meat and reduce its surface moisture, so that a finishing blast of high heat quickly gives it a perfectly burnished exterior.
1 standing rib roast (prime rib), 3 to 12 pounds (1.3 to 5.4kg; see note)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to lowest possible temperature setting, 150°F (66°C) or higher if necessary. (Some ovens cannot hold a temperature below 250°F/121°C.) Season roast generously with salt and pepper. Place roast, with fat cap up, on a V-rack set in a large roasting pan, or on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven and cook until center of roast registers 120-125°F (49-52°C) on an instant-read thermometer for rare, 130°F (54°C) for medium-rare, or 135°F (57°C) for medium to medium-well. In a 150°F oven, this will take around 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours; in a 250°F oven, this will take 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
Remove roast from oven and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Place in a warm spot in the kitchen and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, preheat oven to highest possible temperature setting, 500 to 550°F (260 to 288°C).
Ten minutes before guests are ready to be served, remove foil, place roast back in hot oven, and cook until well browned and crisp on the exterior, 6 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, carve, and serve immediately.
This recipe works for prime rib roasts of any size from two ribs to six ribs. Plan on one pound of bone-in roast per guest. (Each rib adds one and a half to two pounds to the roast.) For best results, use a dry-aged prime-grade or grass-fed roast.
To improve the crust, allow the roast to air-dry, uncovered, on a rack in the refrigerator overnight before roasting. Seasoning with salt up to a day in advance will help the seasoning penetrate the meat more deeply. If, after step 1, your timing is off, and your roast is ready long before your guests are, reheat the roast by placing it in a 200°F (93°C) oven for 45 minutes before you continue with step 2.