Prime Rib Fat Side up or Down: Which Way Should You Cook It?

Are you wondering if you should place your prime rib fat side up or down? The best way to smoke a prime rib roast is the fat side up!

We all know that prime rib is an expensive cut, and you don’t want to mess it up, especially when the whole family is waiting to see how your prime rib turns out! Well, don’t worry. Below, you’ll learn how to cook a perfectly cooked prime rib.


Do We Smoke a Prime Rib Fat Side-Down or Up?

Smoke the prime rib fat side up. This ensures even cooking and prevents flare-ups. This technique also allows the juices to baste the meat and reabsorb back into it, which makes it more flavorful and juicy.

With a rib roast, you should sear the meat fat beforehand. The direct heat seals and starts the rendering process, which also helps to achieve a flavorful crust.


Tips for Perfectly Cooked Prime Rib

Remember to Trim The Meat

The fat cap on a prime rib can be up to 2 inches thick. You should trim the fat cap to 1/2 inch before you cook.

Sealing the Fat Cap Before Cooking

Sealing the fat does the following;

– Bold flavor from the umami brown crust.

– Start the rendering process for a consistent cook time and even cooking.

– Another stage for adding extra flavors like fresh thyme and garlic powder.


Sealing The Meat

Lightly cover a cast iron pan with olive oil.

Put on direct grill heat until smoking.

Liberally apply kosher salt to the fat cap.

Put the salted fat side down in the oil.

Fry until golden.

Seal the other side for half the time of the fattier side.

Add butter and your choice of aromatics like rosemary, black pepper or your other favorite herbs.

Cover with aluminum foil for 15 minutes until ready to cook.

Cooking Low & Slow for Best Results

Slow cooking at 225°F is best after sealing the fat. A large cut of meat cooked at high temperatures will cook to fast, burn and not cook internally.

I suggest using a smoker with a comfortable room in the cooking chamber. But a hot oven will do just fine as well! Face the fat up and away from the roasting rack.


How to Accurately Monitor the Internal Temperature

Use a calibrated meat thermometer to measure the internal temperatures. This is the safest and most accurate way to know if meat is ready!

What Internal Cooking Temperature Does the Meat Need to Be?

Below is the temperature chart based on the preferred levels of doneness. Remember that the cooked temperature of your meat can vary based on things like a thicker crust, grade of beef, or pound of bone.

Internal Temperature Gradients for Doneness

Rare – 125°F

Medium – 135°F

Well done – 155°F

Working Out the Cooking Time

To estimate the cooking time, you need the exact weight and cooking temperature. To get medium prime rib, cook it for 40 minutes per pound at 225°F.

This level of doneness works best for a prime rib due to its fat content.

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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