How Long Can Prime Rib Rest in a Cooler (For A Juicy Steak)

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Wondering how long you can rest a prime rib in a cooler?

A ribeye roast is a delicious show-stopper.

But what happens if your steak is nearly cooked but your guests or sides aren’t ready to eat?

You might need to use a cooler, to hold the prime rib.

Below Ill show you exactly how long you can leave your smoked prime rib in there and if it continues cooking. 


The Maximum Time You Should Be Resting a Prime Rib in a Cooler

Resting a prime rib in a cooler is an effective method.

However, it should not rest in there for longer than 60 minutes.


What Happens if I Go Over 60 Minutes?

Pitmaster Aaron Franklin devised the cooler method.

But it was to keep larger cuts like brisket meat warm on competitions.

A prime rib roast is smaller in size and has a lower cooking temperature.

So resting it for longer than 60 minutes can negatively impact your entire roast.


The Meat Can Dry Out

Resting is for incorporating moisture back into the muscle fibers.

The temperature of your prime rib will drop in a couple of hours in a cooler.

After the initial temperature rises from carry-over cooking.

But more of that later!

The sweet spot for resting a prime rib is 60 minutes to avoid temp fluctuations.

Which will dry out the meat in your prime beef.

It Can Ruin the Delicious Crust

A common cooking technique is to create an outer crust by harder sear at the start.

Kosher salt and high heat will give texture and a layer of flavor like no other.

A crispy crust is a hallmark of these meat cuts.

The double wrap for this resting method will lock in heat and moisture.

Which can make the exterior crust turn soggy.


You Risk Food Poisoning

I mentioned the temperature fluctuations when resting in a cooler.

Keeping food warm has can impact the rate of bacteria growth.

Read further on how to monitor the desired temperatures.

So you can stop this from happening.

Things to Consider When Resting a Prime Rib in a Cooler

Below are some more factors to consider when resting hot food in a cooler.

As I mentioned, a beef rib roast doesn’t need a lengthy resting time.

Which is primarily what the cooler method is used for.


The Internal Temperature & Carryover Cooking

Below are the perfect temperature gradients for your required doneness.

Rare – 125°F

Medium – 135°F

Welldone – 155°F

During the resting process, the internal temp will rise by about 10°F.

This is known as carryover cooking.

Remove from your hot oven or grill before your required perfect temperature.


Calculating the Rest Time of a Prime Rib Roast

An average prime rib roast weighs 7 lbs.

Rest in a cooler for 5 minutes per pound for up to 60 minutes.


Monitor Temperature Ranges

Use a meat probe to monitor the temperature while resting.

We touched on the risk of food poisoning and meat quality.

Below are the exact temps to monitor for avoiding this mistake.

Do not let it 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.

Is Your Piece of Meat Bone-in or Bone-Out?

Have you got a bone-in roast or a boneless roast?

Bone-in Roast

The weight of the bone can affect the resting timing.

It will keep residual heat for longer which can cause increased carryover cooking.

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


Boneless Roast

A boneless roast will lose temperature at a higher rate when resting.

So you may need to add a couple of minutes to the cooking timings.

Resting a Prime Rib in a Cooler – A Step-By-Step Guide

Below is my guide on resting a prime rib in a cooler.

Temperature control is key for any holiday roast inspiration.

Make sure you are using an instant-read meat thermometer.

Don’t ruin your expensive roast!


The Faux Cambro Cooler Method

Equipment Required

– A clean and good quality insulated cooler. (Big enough for your rib roast)

– A clean towel(s).

– Aluminum foil or paper from a butcher shop.

– Hot water.

– Temperature probes.


Step 1 – Prepare the Cooler

– Wash the cooler thoroughly.

– Fill with hot tap water & close the lid.

– Wait 30 minutes.

– Dump out the water.

– Place in a roasting rack.

Step 2 – Prepare the Prime Rib Roast

– Insert the temperature probes into the thickest part of the prime-grade rib roast.

– Wrap in a double layer of aluminum foil or unwaxed butcher paper.

– Isolate the bottom, top, and sides of the cooler with towels.

– Cover the wrapped beef with more towels.


Step 3 – Resting the Prime Rib Roast

– Place the beef in the cooler.

– Cover again with a top layer of towels.

– Monitor the internal and exterior temperature.

Tip: The ideal temperature range is 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit.


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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