There are many different theories on how to best cook a prime rib roast: some call for “low and slow” where the meat is cooked over a longer period of time at a lower temperature; and, conversely, some methods call for starting at a very high heat, and then turning the heat down to finish cooking at moderate heat over a shorter period of time.
Variations in the cooking process continue: some methods calling for the roast to be covered and cooked at lower heat in the beginning, then uncovered to finish cooking with the heat turned up; while other methods do not call for any cover at all.
My dearly departed sister, April, taught me to simply liberally coat the outside of the roast, on all sides, with Morton’s seasoned salt and bake at 350 until your desired doneness. Use a meat thermometer! This is the method I use most often, with one variation – where I rub the outside of the roast with Worcestershire or Maggi sauce and then the seasoned salt. I also bake the roast on a bed of onions, to add some extra flavor.
I like to select a rib roast with the bone. I believe the bone adds extra flavor, and I also enjoy the rib meat! Some butchers will cut the meat off the bone and then re-tie the roast to the bone for easy carving later, as is the case with the roast I have pictured here. Otherwise, just buy the meat on the bone and it is not difficult to slice it right off the bone after it is cooked and before carving. I have also cooked many boneless rib roasts – it will just take a little less time to cook.
PLAN extra time, to allow the meat to rest after removing from the oven before carving. It is CRUCIAL to let the meat rest for 20 to 30 minutes after removing from the oven to allow the juices to be retained in the beef. Don’t worry – the meat will retain plenty of heat and be nice for serving. OTHERWISE, if you carve into your roast right after removing from the oven, all the juices will flow out of your slices of meat, and you will be left with gray lifeless slices. Resting the meat before carving is one of the most important steps!
- 5 to 7 pound standing rib roast (on the bone)
- 1 large (or 2 medium) onions, sliced into thick rings
- Maggi Wurze sauce (or Worcestershire)
- Seasoned Salt (suggest Morton’s)
- 2 cups liquid (beef stock, wine or water)
Remove meat from refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour before cooking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Select a shallow roasting pan, just larger than the size of the roast (something like a 9×13 lasagna pan should be fine, depending on the size of the roast).
Cut onion(s) into thick rings, or cut the onion in half through the root and then make thick half-ring slices. Transfer onion to the bottom of the roasting pan and add about 2 cups of beef stock, wine or water so that the onions do not burn. The onions will darken in color by the end of cooking, and you may like them that way – or simply discard them after cooking.
Pat meat dry with paper towels.
RUB THE ROAST ON TOP, BOTTOM AND BOTH SIDES WITH:
- Maggi sauce (or Worcestershire)
- Seasoned Salt (suggest Morton’s)
INSERT a meat thermometer. It is crucial to use a meat thermometer pushed into the thickest part of the beef. Be mindful that the temperature probe does not touch the bone or a vein of fat.
ROAST meat to 10 degrees below desired doneness. Temperature will continue to rise after removing from the oven:
- 140° F – rare (remove meat from oven at 125 to 130°)
- 145° F – medium rare (remove meat from oven at 135°)
- 155F – medium (remove meat at 145°)
- 175°F – well done (remove meat at 160 to 165°)
GUIDELINE TO COOKING TIMES:
How long to cook beef depends on your preference for how “pink” (or not) you like to eat beef.
Cooking times vary depending on your oven – normal or convection – and the accuracy of the heat setting or cooking method used. Here is a rough estimate for cooking times:
- Rare – 10 to 12 minutes per pound
- Medium – 13 to 15 minutes per pound
- Well done – 16 to 18 minutes per pound
Using the above method will produce a nice beef roast, no matter what. As mentioned above, there are other various cooking methods.
You can try the following variations and see which one suits you best:
- Variation #1: Place seasoned meat in a covered roaster. Bake low at 300 degrees for 1-2 hours (depending on size of roast) and then turn heat up to 350, uncover roaster, and continue cooking to desired temperature.
- Variation #2: Low & slow all the way — bake, covered, at 250 degrees for about 6 hours (depending on size of roast) to desired temperature Remove cover from roast in the last 1-2 hours.
- Variation #3: Start the beef in a very hot oven 425°F (uncovered) for the first 30 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375°F for the remaining cooking time.
- Variation #4: This method requires advance planning: Put roast in 375 degree oven; cook 1 hour. Turn off heat and leave the roast in the oven, allowing the oven to naturally cool down. DO NOT open oven door at any time until 1.5 hours before you are ready to serve. Regardless of the length of time the meat has been in oven, 1.5 hours before serving your roast, turn the oven on again at 375 degrees. Cook meat for 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the roast – the lesser time for a smaller roast. Only open the door at the end of the cooking time to remove roast. Meat will be very brown and crisp on outside. Allow the meat to rest at least 20 to 30 minutes before carving.