How Much Prime Rib Per Person (No Hungry More Guests at Your Cookout)

Prime rib is usually only reserved for fancy occasions at our house say… a holiday dinner.

Know we all know that prime rib is expensive, so you don’t want to buy too much or even worse not have enough to feed everyone.

So are you wondering how much prime rib to serve per person? When serving prime rib you need 0.5 pounds per person, if it’s not the main course. If it’s the main meal, then you’ll want to allocate about a pound of prime rib per person.

That calculation is a rough guide, they are some more things to think about. Like will you be serving bone in or boneless prime rib?

It can get tricky! That is why I have created this simple guide so that everyone is well-fed and gets an equal amount of prime rib!

How Much Prime Rib Per Person?

The general rule of thumb when it comes to prime rib is to allow for 0.5 pounds per person if it’s not the main course.
If it is the main meal, then you’ll want to allocate about a pound of meat per person.

If your purchase a bone-in prime rib it is easier to estimate how much prime rib you need. Just allow one bone per two people. So if you are feeding 8 people purchase a 4-bone prime rib.

How Many Adults Are You Serving?Bone-In Prime RibBoneless Prime Rib
3-4 4 lb or 2-bone prime rib3 lb
4-5 5 lb or 3-bone prime rib4 lb
5-6 6 lb or 4-bone prime rib5 lb
6-7 7 lb or 4-bone prime rib6 lb

What if You’re Using Boneless Prime Rib?

If you’re serving prime rib without the bone, then each person should allocate half a pound of meat.

But if it’s being served as a main, then each person should get approximately a pound of meat as a single serving.

For example, a 10-pound roast would feed around 8-10 people.

What if You’re Using Bone-In Prime Rib?

If you’re serving prime rib with the bone, you’ll want to allocate about two people per bone.

Therefore, as an example, if you’re serving a typical rack — that has 3 bones — you’ll be able to feed up to 5-6 people

Example: How Much Bone-In Prime Rib Roast Would You Need to Feed Six People?

If are feeding 6 six people bone-in prime rib roast, you will need to buy a 3-bone prime rib.

How To Select And Buy Prime Rib

Prime rib is special because the meat is extremely high-quality or of prime grade.

When you’re buying this type of cut from a butcher or your local supermarket, you might not actually be buying prime beef or choice-grade prime rib. This is because rib-eye steaks or bone-in-standing rib roast can also sometimes be sold as ‘prime rib’.

They are actually all from the same cut, the only difference is their meat grade. So your best bet is to ask your butcher.

So, what should you be looking out for?
There are two things that you can easily look out for. You’ll want to avoid the boneless choice, and that the cut has the prime rib bone intact. The bone will provide extra flavor, and it’ll also help the meat retain its moisture.

However, preparing a boneless roast isn’t bad either. While it may be missing that additional flavor, it will be easier to cut and carve into when it comes to serving it up.

Whether you’re preparing bone-in or boneless prime rib, you’ll definitely want to look out for a cut that has some decent fat marbling on it.

As always, fat equals flavor.

What Part of Cow Does Prime Rib Come From?

Much like its name suggests, the prime rib comes from the cow’s rib section.

The ribs are one of the primal cuts of beef. A typical prime rib bone-in roast would consist of six to seven ribs per rack.

If you’re serving prime rib roast at a small gathering, you can always ask your butcher to trim it. This way, you can prepare a three-bone rib roast or a four-bone roast instead.

Why Is It Called “Prime” Rib?

The term prime is used to distinguish this cut. There’s actually a USDA grading system that exists. It grades the actual quality of meat.

Technically, a cut has to reach the USDA’s official standards in order to be called “prime rib“.

However, local butchers and supermarkets often use the word “prime” now to make their meat seem more appealing.

Although most of the time the meat offered does not match official USDA standards.

What Makes This Cut So Good?

A prime rib steak is known to be a juicy, tender, and delicious cut of meat. Since the ribs contain muscles that aren’t as heavily exercised, unlike a shoulder cut, they are high in fat and aren’t as tough to eat.

How to Prep Your Prime Roast

Cooking prime rib roast for the first time can be tricky. Here are two tips that may come in handy during your cook.

1. First Tie The Roast

This first tip involves butcher string. It’s relatively inexpensive and you can easily obtain it at your local supermarket. Tying your roast is important because it keeps everything together during the cook.

It’s also a great way to give the final product a professional look.
If you’re preparing a boneless roast, then you’ll want to tie the body of the meat. We recommend leaving a gap of two inches between each string.

2. You Can Give it a French Cut

If you’re really into the presentation, then it might be worth it to use a French cut. This involves getting rid of any fat and meat off the bone. Leaving the ‘handle’ of the rib quite clean and easy to hold. Your local butcher can easily do this for you too.

Our Favorite Ways to Cook Our Prime Rib

There are, of course, many different ways to cook your prime rib. However, we’ll go through the basics with you.

First Season The Beef

First off, the seasoning. This cut of meat is quite dense with fat and meat, so you’ll need to season it well. Some of the basic and most important seasonings include:

  • black pepper
  • kosher salt
  • garlic powder or garlic cloves

How to Smoke Prime Rib (our favorite way to do it)

Smoking prime rib is also a great way to cook it. It’s a good method to use to really render the fat and break down the connective tissue.

However, if you’re smoking prime ribs, you’ll have to take extra caution not to dry out the meat in the process. A good tip is to marinate your meat the night before, this can help the meat retain its moisture

  1. Prepare your smoker. You want your smoker at 220 -245 degrees during the entire cook
  2. Place the seasoned prime rib roast onto the smoker. You can do this straight from the fridge.
  3. Smoke the until the internal temperature of the meat is at your preferred level. You can go 135 degrees for medium rare or 125 degrees for rare.
  4. Pull the smoked rib roast from the smoker and allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes covered. You can use a cooler to rest the prime rib if your guests aren’t ready to eat yet.
  5. Did you know you can use the prime rib bones to make broth, it is healthy and declious.

    Note: If you smoked to much prime rib, you can freeze the prime rib for later. Just place it in a heavy-duty ziplock bag and use it within 8 months.

My Tricks of Trade: Grilling a Prime Rib

And, of course, the most common way of cooking prime rib is to grill it on the barbecue.

We recommend cooking for around 20 minutes per pound.

Most people like their prime rib roast to be medium-rare to medium in terms of doneness. It’s best to use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the meat throughout the cooking session. This will help you determine when it’s done.

You’ll want to make sure that the temperature of the meat is between 115℉ to 140℉ before you even think about taking it off the heat.

After it’s cooked, you’ll need to let the meat rest for up to 15 minutes before you serve it. While it’s resting, you don’t want the temperature to drop too much. One way to trap the heat is to make a tent with foil for it.

Serve it Up

Once it’s done resting then it’s completely ready to serve! Check out some of my favorite sides to have with it here

We hope that my article has taught you a little bit more about prime rib and how much you need to cook.

Happy grilling!

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking and getting out in nature with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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