Does Prime Rib Continue to Cook While Resting? (You Might Be Surprised)

Letting a prime rib roast rest is crucial.

It allows the meat juices to be reabsorbed and the muscle fibers to relax, this makes for a tender piece of prime rib.

But have you heard of carryover cooking?

This is when the meat continues to cook when you remove it from the grill. 

So will your prime rib continue to cook when resting? and if so will that mean you end up with overcooked meat?

Don’t worry, below Ill, explain how to cook your prime rib to get it exactly how you want it. 


Carryover Cooking When Resting a Prime Rib Roast

A prime rib (or any piece of meat) will continue to cook when resting.

The correct terminology for this is called carryover cooking.

Considered a part of the cooking process and a traditional method used in BBQ cuisine.

Carryover Cooking – What You Need to Know

Continue further to gain a deeper understanding of resting meat overall.

But for now, let’s focus our attention on what exactly carryover cooking is.

This is when your meat cooks after removing it from a heat source.

The meat proteins and rib bones will retain heat for some time.

Which will continue to raise the internal temperature.

And carry on… Cooking!

Simple and even a bit obvious.

However, many factors can affect or alter this process.

Like the pieces of meat, the cooking process, and the resting technique.

What Is the Range of Temp My Prime Rib Cooks Over?

So you’ve got your target temperature for your desired doneness.

But forgot about the carryover cooking.

How much can I expect the internal temperature to raise?

The average temp your prime rib will raise by is 10°F.

The average range of carryover cooking is between 5°F – 25°F.

But That Doesn’t Seem Like a High Amount

Cooking is all about control.

Knowing accurate temperatures and navigating with them is the difference.

The difference between a good and a great chef.

Whether it is estimating cooking times or knowing if your beef has a pink center.

Even a couple of degrees can have a dramatic effect on your recipe.

So pay attention!


Factors to Consider for the Carryover Cooking

I have included an example of working out the carryover for cooked beef.

But what can impact the calculations?

The Weight of the Prime Rib

The weight of your rib roast plays a role when the meat rests.

More mass and density = more heat retention.

Boneless Rib Roast or Bone-in Roast?

Bone-in Roast

The beef ribs will affect the resting time.

It will keep residual heat for longer.

Which can cause an increased carryover cooking rate.

Note: This will also apply to the cooking time in your rib recipe.

Boneless Roast

Cuts of meat without bones will lose temperature at a higher rate when resting.

So you may need to add a couple of minutes to the below calculations.


The Cooking Method & Temperature

Smoking or roasting in a hot oven are the preferred cooking methods.

Smoking with indirect heat will render down the natural juices and layer of fat.

But the lower heat means it may not carry cooking as much when resting.

Compared to a medium-high heat oven temperature.

The higher and direct oven heat increases the approximate time of carryover cooking.

Because it was a higher temperature to begin with.

Intergrate the Carryover Cooking Into the Internal Temperature

The level of doneness in beef is personal preference.

Each with pros and cons!

So I shall leave it up to you and your guests at the holiday dinner table.

Below are the temperature levels of doneness.

Note: A perfect medium does work best for a rib roast.

This is because the outer layer of fat and connective tissue need to be rendered.

I find that fattier cuts of beef (like a standing rib roast) need that little bit extra.


Prime Rib Beef Internal Temperatures for Doneness

Here is the target temperature chart for any beef meat cut.

As well as the temps to remove for the carryover cooking.

Rare – 125°F (remove at 115°F before resting)

Medium – 135°F (remove at 125°F before resting)

Welldone – 155°F (remove at 145°F before resting)

How to Accurately Monitor the Meats Internal Temperature

Always use a meat thermometer in the thickest parts of the beef.

Avoid direct contact on the bone with the probe otherwise, you get a faulty reading.

Having an instant-read thermometer is vital for any recipe.

Don’t neglect it!

Tip: Calibrate your probes in ice water so you can be sure.

The Carryover Cooking Rate for a Roast Prime Rib at 225°F.

Before this example, let me be clear.

These are estimates and can vary on the above factors.

The best and only way to monitor the carryover is with a meat thermometer.

So don’t let your expensive roast meat dry.

Estimating the Timings for a 8-Pound Bone-in Roast

My USDA choice prime rib roast has been cooked with indirect heat at 225°F.

It also contains the rib bones which keeps the meat warm.

On average, a prime rib roast will carryover cooking by around 13°F.

Within the timeframe of 20-30 minutes or by 1°F every 2 minutes per pound.


What Happens After the Carryover Cooking?

You might be wondering what happens after the calculated resting time.

Which again is very obvious.

The prime rib will begin to drop in temperature.

If you have prepared for this resting period, then this isn’t detrimental to the recipe.

But only if you had planned on warming in a controlled environment.

For a carefully monitored period of time.

We have a whole article about resting a prime rib here <insert link>.

Important Food Safety Note While Resting

Being food safe concious is another hallmark of a great chef.

– Do not let the meat go below 100°F, as this will harbor bacteria growth.

– Do not let it go above 160°F,  as the hot meat will continue to cook and dry out.

Monitor the Temperature While Resting

– Monitor these temps with a meat thermometer inserted deep in the muscle tissue.

Something Else to Consider When Resting & Carryover Cooking

A common cooking technique is to create a flavorful crust.

From searing on high heat with kosher salt, olive oil and brown sugar.

This will lock in the beef juices edge to edge of the rib.

And help render down the fatty layer on top.

Resting for a long time can turn this the exterior crust soggy.

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

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 recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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