Prime Rib Primer

A beautifully cooked beef roast makes every meal memorable. Perfectly preparing a prime rib or other festive roast is surprisingly easy. Just follow our easy step-by-step instructions and you'll be on your way to prime rib perfection. We've included several different methods and tips from culinary pros. Click on the tabs below to learn more.

Which roast is right for me?

Choosing the ideal prime rib for your special dinner is a matter of personal preference. Honestly, there is no wrong choice! Snake River Farms offers numerous options and here are a few key factors to consider before you order. 

Marbling

Look for a roast with a high level of marbling – the fat contained within the muscles of the meat. As a roast heats in the oven the intramuscular fat will melt and provide more flavor and a tender, juicy texture. 

Intramuscular fat, or marbling, is the fat contained within the muscles of the meat. This is a key measurement of the quality of a roast. The top two levels of marbling on the USDA grading scale are Choice and Prime.

Only about 4 to 5% of all beef graded by the USDA scale achieve this level. All Snake River Farms American Wagyu prime ribs and roasts exceed the marbling amount found in USDA Prime. Black grade is our American Wagyu marbling standard. Roasts in this category are high in marbling and will provide a memorable dining experience. The most marbled roasts available from Snake River Farms are Gold Grade. These are the ultimate prime ribs and roasts due to the intense marbling. 

Boneless or Bone-In?

The biggest benefit to bone-in roasts is the impressive appearance they provide. There's something spectacular about setting a bone-in prime rib on your dining room table. Many home cooks consider a bone-in roast the height of tradition. Some folks believe a bone-in roast provides added flavor. Myth-busting experts like Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats have conducted extensive taste tests and found boneless and bone-in roasts have a similar flavor profile

There is a tangible benefit to these roasts. The bone insulates the meat from the oven’s heat which allows the meat surrounding the bone to cook slower, leaving those sections extra juicy and tender. Bone-in roasts but can be more challenging to cut, while boneless roasts are a breeze to slice and serve. To make serving bone-in roasts easier, we recommend cutting the bone from the roast and tying the rib section back to the roast with butcher's twine. When the roast is ready, place the rib bones back in the oven for 20 minutes. Cut the rack into individual ribs and place them on the serving tray as a special treat.

How Much Should I Order?

Eight ounces of cooked roast is a good serving size. If your table includes more robust appetites or if you want to plan for leftovers, add extra servings to your calculations. Boneless roasts will shrink about 20% and bone-in roasts lose about 30% of the final weight (because of the extra weight of the rib bones). 

Example:

You want a boneless prime rib for 6 people. Your Uncle Mike is a big eater and you'd like to have some beef to enjoy the next day. 

6 people (plus another serving for Uncle Mike and 3 servings for the next day) = 10 servings

8 oz. x 10 = 80 oz. or 5 lbs.

80 oz. x 20% = 104 oz. or 6.5 lbs.

Order a 6.5 lb. American Wagyu boneless prime rib.

This is an inexact science, but this is a great way to estimate your purchase. When in doubt, consult our customer care team. You can call, send an email or start a chat here.

When Should I Order?

Avoid last minute headaches and order as early as possible. We recommend ordering well in advance of the day you plan to cook your roast. For optimal quality, it's best to gently thaw a frozen roast in the refrigerator. The thawing process can take several days. 

Any major holiday is peak season for shipping. Delays can happen due to bad weather or the increased number of packages in the system. Our roasts store safely in the freezer for six months, so avoid the rush, as well as the added cost of expedited shipping, and order a week or two in advance. 

Super safe order dates for 2020:

Thanksgiving, November 26 - Order by November 9

Christmas, December 25 - Order by December 7

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Defrosting

All Snake River Farms roasts ship frozen to maintain optimal quality. Before cooking your roast, we recommend completely thawing it in the refrigerator. A completely frozen roast can take several days to thaw, so plan ahead.

If time is a factor, it’s possible to “speed thaw” by placing the sealed roast in cool water to accelerate the process.

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Salt Overnight

A tip used by many restaurants is to liberally salt the roast on all sides the night before you plan to cook it. Leave it uncovered in your fridge overnight. The roasat may appear dried out, but it will actually increase the moisture in the prime rib when finished.

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Warm to Room Temperature

Remove the prime rib from the fridge two hours before it is scheduled to go in the oven. Allow it to come to room temperature. This will help the roast cook evenly.

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SIMPLE PREP METHOD


This is the easiest and surefire way to prepare an amazing prime rib. Just follow the steps below. A video with the Simple Prep Method can be viewed here.

Pre-heat oven

Set the oven temperature to 350 degrees.


Apply seasonings

Season prime rib with salt and pepper. We recommend salt with a larger crystal size such as Jacobsen or Kosher salt. You can also use your favorite rub or paste. No matter what you use, sprinkle the seasonings generously.


Roast in oven

Place roast in a rack, fat side up, over the roasting pan and cook for 15-20 minutes per pound. Only use time as a guideline. A thermometer is your best tool to determine doneness.


Remove from oven

Pull the roast when it is at 110 degrees for rare, 120 degrees for medium rare and 130 degrees for medium. The temperatures will continue to rise about 10 degrees while resting.


Rest

Let prime rib rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.


Slice and serve

Slice against the grain of the meat and serve.


View the “Making a Prime Rib” video by clicking this link.

REVERSE SEAR METHOD


The reverse sear method roasts the prime rib at lower heat for a consistent cook, then uses a sear at the end for a rich, savory crust. It takes a little more technique, but is well worth the extra effort.


Pre-heat oven

Set the oven temperature to 275 degrees.


Apply seasonings

Season prime rib with salt and pepper. We recommend salt with a larger crystal size such as Jacobsen or Kosher salt. You can also use your favorite rub or paste. No matter what you use, sprinkle the seasonings generously.


Roast in oven

Place roast in a rack, fat side up, over the roasting pan and cook for 20-25 minutes per pound. Only use times as a guideline. A thermometer should be used to determine doneness.


Remove from oven

Pull the roast when it is at 110 degrees for rare, 120 degrees for medium rare and 130 degrees for medium. The temperatures will continue to rise about 10 degrees while resting.


Rest

Rest prime rib for at least 30 minutes. With five minutes remaining, turn your oven on broil.


Sear

Place the roast back in the oven and rotate it every 90 seconds until all sides have been exposed to the high heat. The idea is to create a golden brown crust that adds flavor and an intoxicating bite to each slice.


Slice and serve

Slice against the grain of the meat and serve.


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TWO-STEP METHOD

We recommend using the two-step skillet-to-oven method, also referred to as “steakhouse style” to prepare petite roasts that are approximately 2 lbs or less. This method uses a quick skillet sear and the roast is placed in the oven to finish cooking. This method is great for tenderloin and Manhattan roasts.


PRE-HEAT

Set the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Heat a heavy skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add a light coat of vegetable oil to the skillet.


Season

Season roast with salt and pepper. We recommend salt with a larger crystal size such as Jacobsen sea salt or Kosher salt. You can also use your favorite rub. No matter what you use, sprinkle the seasonings generously.


Sear

Place roast in hot skillet to sear. Turn roast to get an even brown crust on all sides (about 2 minutes per side).


Cook

Place skillet and roast in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 50 minutes depending on desired doneness. Turn once half way through the cooking time.


REMOVE FROM OVEN

Pull the roast when it is at 110 degrees for rare, 120 degrees for medium rare and 130 degrees for medium. The temperatures will continue to rise about 10 degrees while resting.

Only use times as a guideline. A thermometer should be used to determine doneness.

COOKING TIME GUIDELINES

WEIGHTMEDIUM RAREMEDIUM
About 1.5 lbs27 to 34 min.35 to 42 min.
About 2 lbs40 to 49 min.49 to 59 min.

Rest

Loosely tent with foil and let rest 10 to 15 minutes.


SLICE AND SERVE

Slice against the grain of the meat and serve.