How to Roast a Prime Rib of Beef With a Black Pepper Crust

Simple ingredients enhance the flavor of roasted prime rib without overpowering it.
Simple ingredients enhance the flavor of roasted prime rib without overpowering it. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Prime rib is an impressive yet easy main dish. Prime rib is a term that describes the cut of meat, including the ribs, taken from the back of the cow. It is widely considered to be one of the most flavorful cuts of meat and it is particularly tender when you buy the loin end, which contains less muscular tissue. Prepare a simple black pepper-encrusted prime rib to allow the flavor of the meat to take center stage.

Things You'll Need

  • Salt
  • Pepper grinder or spice mill
  • Roasting pan
  • Meat thermometer
  • Aluminum foil

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Buy a prime rib roast, preferably from the loin end for the optimal tenderness. If you aren't sure which end is the loin and which end is the shoulder, ask your butcher. In general, you'll get roughly two servings out of each rib.

Sprinkle the prime rib with salt two to four hours before you plan to cook it. The salt helps draw water out of the meat, a process that normally takes a few hours.

Preheat the oven between 325 degrees and 450 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the recipe you are following. Some cooks believe in roasting prime rib slowly at lower temperatures, while others believe in placing the roast in a hot oven and searing the outside before turning the heat down.

Pat the meat dry. Place peppercorns in a spice mill or pepper grinder and grind them coarsely. Transfer the meat into a roasting pan, with the fatty side facing up, and rub the freshly ground pepper over the prime rib, seasoning it well.

Put the roasting pan in a preheated oven. Roast the pepper-encrusted prime rib until a meat thermometer reads about five to 10 degrees less than your desired temperature. Remove the prime rib from the oven and place a piece of foil loosely over the top.

Allow the prime rib to rest for about 15 minutes. The internal temperature will continue to rise as the roast rests and the juices are able to redistribute, making the prime rib firmer and easier to slice.

Tips & Warnings

  • Although you can use just black peppercorns, consider mixing black, pink and white peppercorns to add increased complexity in the pepper flavor.
  • Insert a meat thermometer in the prime rib to determine when to remove it from the oven. Since oven temperatures and cooking times vary depending on the recipe you follow, this is the most reliable method to make sure the meat is cooked to your desired level of doneness. In general, remove the roast when a meat thermometer reads 135 degrees Fahrenheit if you want your prime rib to be medium rare. Remove it when the thermometer reads 150 degrees Fahrenheit if you want the roast to be medium, or 160 if you prefer well-done meat.


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