Prime rib is one of the most delicious and tender cuts of beef. Cooking this high-price marbled piece of meat is easy if you know all the secrets of making it perfect, including how long to cook it at various temperatures.
If you have decided to start dinner preparations a few hours in advance, you may set your oven to 250°F. This temperature will cook the prime rib neither too slow nor too fast.
But, how long does it take to cook prime rib at 250°F? It is recommended to cook prime rib for 25 minutes per pound at 250°F for medium-rare doneness. If you want the prime rib rare, cook it only 1-2 minutes less per pound.
This article is your guide if you have never cooked prime rib and want to get it right from the first try.
Continue reading to learn tips for cooking prime rib, what are the key factors that decide the cooking time of prime rib, what are some mistakes to avoid, and more!
What Is Prime Rib?
Prime rib, also known as standing rib roast, is a cut of beef that comes from its primal rib. You may also come across rib roast as a name given to prime rib.
The word prime in prime rib refers to the grade of the meat though it has also become a general term to refer to this cut of meat.
Prime rib is not only a delicious cut of beef but it is also beautifully marbled. If you want the rib roast to be more tender, you should ask the butcher to give you the first cut.
This is the cut from the hind of the rib roast near the loin. Getting the first cut may be more expensive but you are getting tenderer meat that is still perfectly marbled.
How Do You Cook Prime Rib?
Roasting prime rib in the oven is the most popular way to cook prime rib. If done properly, oven-roasted prime rib turns out juicy with the perfect crust and level of doneness.
When cooking prime rib, it’s important to get a nice crust on it. There are two ways you can do it.
You can start with a higher temperature to create a nice brown crust on the prime rib and then lower the temperature to get the inside cooked.
But you can get a delicious crust on prime rib doing the opposite too. Start cooking the meat at lower temperatures and increase it toward the end of the cooking time to get it nicely browned.
There are other cooking methods for prime rib aside from roasting it in the oven. You can grill, air fry, pan sear, and slow cook prime rib.
How Long To Cook Prime Rib
If it is your first time cooking prime rib or you are not satisfied with the results you have been getting, you certainly wonder how long it takes to cook prime rib to get the perfect level of doneness.
The cooking time of prime rib depends on a few things:
Boneless Vs Bone-In
The cooking time of the prime rib partly depends on whether it is boneless or still has the bone in. Bone-in prime rib takes longer to cook.
Aside from the cooking time, the presence of the bone in the meat also decides its flavor. Many cooks prefer bone-in prime rib over its boneless variety.
They consider it to yield a more delicious and juicy roast. This is explained by marrow seeping into the meat during the cooking process.
So, while cooking bone-in prime rib takes a little longer, it’s worth opting for a bone-in cut as the result will be more flavorful meat.
In general, it is the thickness of the meat that decides the cooking time of the meat.
However, when talking about the cooking time of a particular cut of meat, the recommendations come as minutes per pound, i.e. weight-to-cooking-time ratio.
This is why it is very important to always know how much exactly your primal rib weighs.
You can roast primal rib at different temperatures depending on how much time you have as well as your preferences of the level of doneness. As you might guess, the lower the temperature the slower the meat will cook.
While considering all of the things we have mentioned above is important, it is also very important to consider the characteristics of your oven. Some ovens are more powerful than others.
Additionally, you should consider the position of the baking tray too. The cooking time may vary depending on how close to the heating elements you place the sheet pan.
What Is The Best Temperature For Cooking Prime Rib?
Prime rib can be cooked at different temperatures depending on the level of doneness you are aiming for. Though you can always cook the meat longer to achieve the needed level of doneness.
You can cook prime rib at temperatures ranging from 225-400°F. The temperature may vary from recipe to recipe.
Cooking prime rib at 425°F is not recommended as the center is likely to remain raw while the outside gets overly browned.
Additionally, some recipes may suggest preheating the oven to 500°F first and cooking the prime rib at 500°F for a few minutes to get a nice crust.
How Long To Cook Prime Rib At 250°F
You can choose to cook your prime rib at 250°F. Doing this will provide great results only if you know how long to cook prime rib at 250°F.
When cooking prime rib at 250°F in the oven, it is recommended to cook it for 25 minutes per pound for medium-rare. You will need to cook it 1-2 minutes less per pound for rare.
No matter what temperature you are roasting your prime rib in the oven, you should always check the internal temperature of the meat to determine the level of doneness.
The internal temperature of the medium-rare prime rib should be 115-120°F. For medium-cooked prime rib, the perfect internal temperature is 125-130°F.
For medium and medium well, the internal temperature of the meat should be 140-150°F respectively.
If for some unknown reason you like your prime rib to be well done, aim for an internal temperature of 160°F.
Tips For Cooking Prime Rib
Prime rib is not a cheap cut of meat. It would be a shame not to cook this marbled and tender meat to perfection. Here are a few tips to help you make your prime rib perfect.
Select The Best Prime Rib
No matter at what temperature you are cooking prime rib, it won’t turn out good if you haven’t bought a good cut.
Additionally, prime rib is more expensive compared to other beef cuts. If you are splurging on a piece of meat, it better be good.
When buying prime rib, there are a few things to pay attention to. First off, you should know about the grades of meat.
The grade of this cut decides its juiciness and tenderness. Most commonly, you may come across prime or choice grade standing rib roasts.
Prime rib should be prime grade as the name implies. However, as it has become a general term to refer to this cut of meat as “prime rib”, we recommend you always check the label to make sure you are buying actual prime rib.
But to be fair, it should be noted that prime-grade prime rib is expensive and hard to get. So, opting for a choice grade is a good option too.
Choice grade prime rib has moderate marbling and wide availability. There is also the select grade. It’s relatively affordable but the meat is less tender.
And secondly, whatever grade you are choosing, make sure to inspect the color of the meat as it is an indicator of freshness.
The meat should have a bright color. The fat marbling should be milky white. Never buy prime rib that looks dull.
Go For Larger Roasts If You Are Inexperienced
If it is your first time cooking prime rib, you may not want to spend a lot of money on the cut and opt for a smaller piece. We actually recommend you do the opposite.
Pick a larger piece as it is more forgiving. With prime rib that is on the smaller side, you don’t have room for error. It is very easy to overcook a small cut. One minute it still needs cooking, another minute it is already overcooked.
With a larger cut, the chances of getting the meat cooked to the right degree are higher. So, don’t be afraid to splurge money on a hefty prime rib even if you are roasting it for the first time.
Let The Meat Rest
If you are an avid cook, you probably know that you should give the roasted meat rest when you take it out of the oven. And if you didn’t know, then you have been missing out on the juiciest roasted meat.
When your thermometer indicates the perfect temperature of the meat, remove it from the oven.
Cover the prime rib roast with aluminum foil and let it rest for around 15 minutes. A rule of thumb that chefs recommend you follow is allowing the meat to rest for a minute for every 100 grams.
This rest time is important for tenderizing the meat. The juices flow back into the prime rib and make it a lot more flavorful.
Season Your Prime Rib Generously
The worst thing you can do to a high-quality juicy prime rib is not to season it properly. Prime rib is a thick cut of meat.
So, it requires a good amount of salt and other seasonings of your choice. And you should make sure to cover every inch of the cut with the seasoning blend.
You can season prime rib with salt and black pepper if that is what you prefer.
However, there are other spices and herbs that pair with prime rib perfectly too, including thyme, rosemary, garlic powder or fresh garlic, paprika, and oregano.
It is also important to season the meat a few hours in advance before roasting it.
The 3 Biggest Prime Rib Mistakes
There are several mistakes home cooks make that affect the juiciness and flavor of the cooked prime rib. Here are the 3 biggest prime rib mistakes you should avoid!
1. Roasting A Cold Prime Rib
One of the most common mistakes people make when cooking prime rib is starting to cook it while the meat is still cold.
The problem with cooking prime rib right out of the fridge is that it needs more time to warm up. As a result, the outer parts of the prime rib overcook while the very inside of the cut remains cold.
Additionally, if you start with a cold prime rib, the cooking instructions you are following simply won’t work. This is because they all imply starting with room-temperature meat.
So, the lesson to learn is to always let your prime rib come to room temperature before you roast it.
2. Not Using A Thermometer
Though there are methods to determine the level of doneness of the meat without a thermometer, we recommend you get one for cases when you are working with such tender cuts as prime rib (we’d recommend this one).
Additionally, no matter how experienced you are, a thermometer is the only guaranteed method for cooking meat to your desired degree.
Depending on the level of doneness you are aiming for, make use of the thermometer to remove the meat from the oven when it reaches the needed internal temperature.
Keep in mind that as you remove the meat from heat and give it time to rest, the internal temperature will rise by 5-10°F.
3. Overcooking Prime Rib
While you can cook your prime rib to the degree you like, overcooking this tender cut of meat is a big mistake.
In fact, prime rib is the second most tender cut of beef which means that medium to well-done levels of doneness are not suitable for it.
If you like eating medium to well-done meat, we recommend opting for other cuts rather than spending so much money on prime rib.
Now that we’ve gone over how long it takes to cook a prime rib at 250°F, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
How many minutes per pound do you cook prime rib at 350°F?
If you are cooking prime rib at 350°F, cook it for 15 minutes per pound if you want the meat to be rare.
For medium-rare, cook prime rib for 16 minutes per pound. For medium, medium well, and well-done prime rib, cook it for 18, 19, and 20 minutes per pound respectively.
Should you cook prime rib covered or uncovered?
No matter what temperature you are using to cook prime rib, you should never cook it covered. Cooking prime rib covered will prevent it from getting a nice crust.
You should cover prime rib with foil only when you have removed it from the oven and are giving the roast time to rest to collect all its juices.
If you’re preparing a prime rib for the holidays, here’s a great video from Alton Brown on how to perfectly cook a standing rib roast!
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