Want to know how to smoke a prime rib roast?
When prime rib is smoked and seared for that perfect crust, it’s EPIC.
The DECLIOUS smell ALWAYS have my guests lining up with their plates!
However, it is an expensive cut!
So you want to ensure you smoke it perfectly!
So follow my steps below to cook your prime rib roast like a grill master!
Which Wood Pellets Should You Use?
The flavor of wood chips used can have a big influence on the final product.
With so many flavors and blends on the market, you can go crazy and experiment with the different types.
But want to know what we love to use?
Red meats can handle the stronger flavors of hickory or mesquite hardwood pellets.
Or when we want something a little more subtle we use fruity woods like maple, apple, or cherry pellets.
Or try a combination of both!
How Much Prime Rib Per Person?
Wondering how much prime rib per person you need for your meal?
is approximately 0.5 pound 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.
What We Love to Serve With Prime Rib
It’s rich meat, so you want to pair it with something similar.
Like a simple mashed potato or fresh greens.
Steps for a Perfectly Smoked Prime Rib
Preparing the roast for smoking couldn’t be easier.
I like to apply salt and pepper the night before and leave in the fridge uncovered.
With a little bit of prep time and following a few steps you’ll have a flavorful, juicy piece of meat every time.
What You Will Need:
- Whole Rib Roast, preferably with some nice fat marbling through it,
- Black Pepper
- Garlic Cloves
- Olive Oil or barbecue sauce
- Seasoning mix or barbecue rub
What Temperature to Cook Prime Rib Roast?
To smoke your prime rib roast preheat the grill to 225°F-250°F.
While it’s warming up, clean the grill grates so you have a fresh surface to cook on.
Ensure there are enough wood pellets to cook the rib roast for several hours.
There’s nothing worse than realizing you’ve run out during the smoking process.
Preparing the Rib Roast for Smoking
Remove meat from fridge 1 hour prior to cooking
Most rib roasts will come with the outside excess fat already trimmed off.
It’s always good to keep a little of the fat to retain the great juicy flavors, but too much will leave your meat swimming in oils.
Around a quarter of an inch thick is the ideal amount of fat to leave
Seasoning the Roast
Apply oil, mustard or BBQ sauce to the outside of the roast to give the seasoning something to stick to.
Liberally apply the mix of half seasoning and half kosher salt, pepper, and garlic powder on all sides, including the ends.
Note: I like to apply salt and pepper the night before and leave the roast uncovered in the fridge, but you don’t have to do this.
Some herbs like rosemary or fresh garlic are also a great addition.
Just keep it simple to prevent overriding the delicious natural flavors of the cut.
What Temperature Should I Cook At?
The key to a perfect roast is maintaining the temperature in the cooking chamber at a steady 225-250 F during the slow smoking cooking process.
This allows the great smoke flavor to infuse while maintaining the temperature enough to cook the meat.
I like to place the place meat on the bottom rack in the middle of the smoker for even cooking
Cook under a closed grill to keep the smoke circulating and maintain constant heat.
How to Know When Prime Rib is Cooked
Prime rib cooked is when it reaches a minimum of 120°F which is rare. However, I like to cook it at 130°F which is medium rare.
As a general rule of thumb, the cooking time is around 35 minutes per pound of meat, at a temperature of 225ºF or 25 minutes per pound of meat, at a temperature of 250°F
Monitoring the internal cooking temperature with a meat thermometer probe is the most effective way to check when the roast is cooked.
Rather than a specific time frame.
Always put a temperature probe in the thickest part of the meat, avoiding the bone, for an accurate reading.
You can also use the weight and check the prime rib smoking calculator.
The Ideal Internal Temperature for Prime Rib
To achieve the desired result the temperature range is:
- 120-125F for rare
- 130-135F for medium-rare
The meat will naturally rise another 5 degrees once rested, as the juices settle, so consider that.
Is Ribeye a Good Alternative to Prime Rib?
Yes, ribeye is a good alternative for prime rib.
Especially if you not cooking for a group of people.
See more prime rib substitutes here
One final step to enhance the smoky flavors is to reverse sear.
Reverse searing is the process of smoking the meat, then cooking it at high heat in the final stages.
Remove from the heat and cover over with aluminum foil to let the meat rest for 20 minutes.
While it’s resting, heat the grill up to 450-500 F, or whatever the highest temperature is on your grill.
Coat with a bit of oil and place on the grill for 10-15 minutes.
A lovely brown crust should form on the outside, while the center stays at the optimum 125 F.
How Long to Rest Prime Rib?
Then allow the meat to rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Note you can use a cooler to keep the prime rib warm if your guests aren’t ready to. Note: your prime rib will continue to cook while it’s resting, this is known as carryover cooking.
Smoked Prime Rib
- Pitboss Grill
- 8 lbs Whole Rib Roast preferably with some nice fat marbling through it
- Seasoning mix or barbecue rub
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil or barbecue sauce
- Black Pepper to taste
- Salt to taste
- Preheat your grill to 225 degrees F.
- While the grill is warming up, prepare your roast. Trim any excess fat from the top of the roast down to 1/4 inch thick.
- Apply a coating of oil or barbeque sauce on the entire outside surface of the roast to give the seasoning a surface to stick to. Liberally apply the mix of half seasoning and half kosher salt, pepper, and garlic powder on all sides, including the ends.
- Place the roast on the grill and close the lid. Smoke until the internal temperature of the roast reaches 120 degrees F. As a general rule of thumb, the cooking time is around 35 minutes per pound of meat, at a temperature of 225 F.
- To achieve the desired result the temperature range is : 120-125 degrees F for rare and 130-135 F degrees for medium-rare bone-in roast.
- Remove from the heat and cover over with aluminum foil to let the meat rest for 20 minutes.
- While it’s resting, heat the grill up to 450-500 F, or whatever the highest temperature is on your grill. Coat with a bit of oil and place on the grill for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove your roast to the cutting board and let the meat rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Using The Prime Rib Bones
Left with some bones after polishing off your prime rib? Did you know you can make broth from the bones?
See my recipe for prime rib bone broth here.
With a little prep and a bit of knowledge, you can have a feast fit for a king, or at least the in-laws.
Try experimenting with different wood chip flavors and seasonings to create a roast that will soon become your go-to recipe.
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 the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)
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.
Hungry For More?