Cooking a Great Prime Rib on the BBQ

Few things in life are better than a prime rib roast. This ultimate cut of beef is a holiday favorite and something wonderful, but also one of the most expensive foods you can buy. To treat this right and to get the most out of your investment requires the right cooking method. This means taking it to the grill to utilize the grill’s great roasting capabilities and get extra flavor from a little smoke.

What you Need:

Most full-sized grills can accommodate a three-bone rib roast (5 to 6 pounds), but a larger roast will take up a lot of space—and since this is an indirect cooking method, the grill area needs to be at least twice the size of the roast. Make sure to measure the space before you buy a roast.

In addition to the prime rib roast, you will need:

  • Fuel for your grill
  • Aluminum foil
  • Reliable meat thermometer
  • Large cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Good prime rib rub
  • Disposable aluminum pan

This process is going to take about 15 to 20 minutes per pound depending on the level of doneness you are aiming for and your particular grill. Use the cooking time chart for prime rib to calculate the time you need. Knowing your grill and your fire is very important to this process, and be prepared to make adjustments to the cooking temperatures. Frequent testing of the internal temperature is also a good idea.

Trimming a Rib Roast:

You can ask your butcher to trim your roast for you however you want. Butchers will frequently remove the bones from the roast and then tie them back on (if you are using a bone-in roast, which is recommended). The advantage of this method is that seasonings can be put between the roast and the bones. Otherwise, the bones can be left in place and carved off later.

If you want to trim the roast yourself, the goal is to expose more of the meat so that seasonings and some smoke can reach it. Well-flavored fat is not as important as well-flavored meat. Generally, there is a heavy fat cap over the top of this roast and it can be peeled away easily. This will let you get to the meat with your flavors.

Seasoning a Rib Roast:


The most vital ingredient here is salt—without a good dose of salt, the meat will not have much in the way of flavor. When thinking about how much seasonings to add to your roast, consider the mass of it and not the surface area.

The best starting place for seasoning a rib roast is olive oil. While there is a good amount of fat in this cut of meat, a coating of oil will help the surface brown and it will act to hold seasonings in place. An ideal method is to use a paste of oil, herbs, salt, and spice, like the herb-Dijon prime rib paste. The addition of the mustard adds a great depth of flavor.

Whatever seasoning you choose, center it on the meat and not the fat, apply it thickly, and be gentle with the roast to keep it in place.

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Article by The Spruce Eats.