If you’re going to go for the gold when it comes to meat, you can’t go wrong with prime rib. This juicy, tender cut is perfect for special occasions, satisfying comfort food cravings or those times when you want to spoil yourself.
Prime rib is a traditional cut of beef that first surfaced around the time of the Industrial Revolution. It’s a favorite across the globe and its staying power shows just how much of an appeal it has.
“I was first introduced to prime rib when I was cutting my teeth in the kitchen early on in my culinary career,” Mario Casarez, chef de cuisine for the Falls Buffet at Snoqualmie Casino, says. “I fell in love with its rich, meaty goodness. I’ve created many menus using prime rib over the last 20 years — it never gets old.”
Prime rib is a nightly staple at Falls Buffet, a sign of its enduring attraction to diners. Because of its broad appeal, you can find prime rib on a lot of menus in the area, but for those who want to try their hand at making the same rich, flavorful roast at home, Casarez has a few tips.
To select the right cut, it’s important to talk to your butcher. If they ask whether you want prime or choice grade, Casarez recommends going with prime — it costs a bit more, but you’ll be happy you splurged once you take your first bite.
The difference between the two grades is in the marbling, the “white flecks of intramuscular fat in the meat” that affects how juicy and flavorful the cut will be. Casarez says the more marbling the roast has, the better it will be. He also warns that a fattier meat shouldn’t scare anyone off because “fat equals flavor.” As the roast cooks, the fat melts away and adds to the meat’s moist and tender composition.
When buying prime rib, a general rule of thumb is to get ¾ a pound per person — three pounds will accommodate four people. That may sound like a lot, but the meat will shrink a bit during cooking. To prep your prime rib, Casarez said the options are unlimited — you can season it any way you like and “no two chefs will give you the same recipe.”
How to make a tender, juicy prime rib
Pull the roast from the refrigerator and let it set on the counter until it reaches room temperature; this helps to ensure it cooks evenly. This can take one to three hours, depending on the size of the roast.
1 prime rib roast
1 cup all-purpose rub
- 2 cups kosher salt
- 1 cup coarse ground black pepper
- 1 cup granulated garlic
- 1 cup granulated onion
In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients and whisk until combined. Set aside.
Herbed prime rib (optional):
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- ¼ cup chopped rosemary
- ¼ cup chopped thyme
- ½ cup finely minced garlic
- 1 cup olive oil
Combine in a mixing bowl separate from the dry rub and whisk until combined. Set aside.
1 roasting pan (with rack if available)
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Before adding any seasoning to your roast, use a paper towel to pat it dry. Add dry rub to every side of the roast. If you’re using the fresh herbs, cover the roast liberally after the dry rub.
Place the meat fat side up in the center of the roasting pan. If using a bone-in roast, the bone side should rest on the bottom of the pan.
Brown the roast for 30 minutes to get a crispy, caramelized exterior.
To finish roasting, reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Actual cooking time will depend on the size and shape of the roast and your oven. Because of these variables, it’s recommended to use a meat thermometer to correctly cook your roast to the desired cooking temperature. You’ll want to insert the thermometer into the center of the roast to get an accurate reading.
Prime rib is typically cooked rare, but some prefer a roast that’s cooked a bit longer. It’s important to keep in mind that once the roast is removed from the oven, it will continue to cook on the inside, up to 10 degrees more — this is called carry-over cooking. Here’s a general rule of thumb for cooking temperatures:
- Rare: 110 degrees
- Medium rare: 120 degrees
- Medium: 130 degrees
- Medium well: 140 degrees
- Well done: 150 degrees
Remove the roast from the oven, let it sit and rest for at least 15-30 minutes. This allows for carry-over cooking to complete and for the meat’s juices to redistribute within the roast.
Don’t cut the roast as soon as it’s removed from the oven as its natural juices will run out, causing it to lose moisture.
Slice the roast with a sharp knife, preferably a slicing or carving knife. Cut each slice about ½ inch thick.
Suggested side dishes include garlic mashed potatoes, scalloped or au gratin potatoes. Add a serving of root vegetables, glazed baby carrots or asparagus to further compliment the meal. Serve with a hearty red wine like a cabernet sauvignon or syrah.
If you aren’t up for making it at home, Falls Buffet at Snoqualmie Casino is currently operating as a full-service restaurant offering their signature prime rib every night. Chef Mario and his team would be honored to serve you.