How to Cook Prime Rib Both Rare & Well Done

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Prime rib is one of the finest cuts of meat.
Prime rib is one of the finest cuts of meat. (Image: prime rib image by Chad McDermott from Fotolia.com)

Prime rib is considered by many to be the finest cut of beef available. If prepared properly, the meat will be soft and tender and should fall off the rib bones with ease. However, if prime rib is prepared improperly, the meal will be ruined. A rare prime rib and a well-done prime rib are prepared similarly, with the only difference being the amount of time the roast spends in the oven.

Things You'll Need

  • Prime rib
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • Meat thermometer

Preparation

Thaw the prime rib until it is at room temperature. This may require a long thaw time, but it is necessary in order to cook the meat properly. A cold roast will not cook evenly throughout, which may result in some sections of the roast being overcooked, while other parts are undercooked.

Trim the fat, but not all of it. Slice off all excess fat; only remove the large pieces of fat that are over an inch in thickness. Do not remove the thin layer that covers the meat; this will help baste the meat while it is cooking.

Pat the prime rib with a dry paper towel to rid it of any extra moisture.

Season the meat with salt, ground pepper and thyme, and pat it down.

Tie up the prime rib using string. Use enough string to wrap the prime rip three times: once around both ends and once around the middle. The purpose of the string is to maintain the prime rib’s shape; if the roast is not tied up, the meat will fall apart while cooking and will cook unevenly.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cooking

Place the tied-up prime rib into a roasting pan. Ensure that the ribs are facing down, and that your roasting pan is at least 3 inches deep. It is not necessary to use a grill.

Cook the prime rib at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for the first 10 minutes. Since the oven was preheated at 500 degrees Fahrenheit, remember to lower the temperature.

Turn the prime rib over and lower the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Baste the prime rib every 30 minutes. Do not cover it. Use a meat thermometer each time you baste to ensure that the meat stays at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Although the oven's temperature is hotter, the prime rib should remain cooler in the middle. To prepare it rare, ensure that the center of the meat is pink; in a well-done roast, ensure that the meat is brown or gray throughout.

Cook the prime rib for 10 to 12 minutes per lb. in order to prepare your roast rare. For well-done prime rib, cook the meat for 18 to 20 minutes per lb.

Allow the prime rib to cool for up to 30 minutes within the oven prior to carving it.

Carve and enjoy.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not season your prime rib with too much salt. Salt will bring moisture to the surface, making the meat dry in the middle.

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