Herb-Encrusted Prime Rib: A Complete Guide to 5-Star Dry-Aged Prime Rib Roast
Meat Selection: First & foremost, the term Prime Rib is actually a bit misleading, as all cuts of Prime Rib are not USDA Prime Grade (approx. 2% of all beef is graded Prime). This primal cut, removed from the cattle’s rib section (see infographic below – yellow highlighted component) is also commonly referred to as Standing Rib Roast. Although, Prime Grade is more flavorful & tender, I’ve never met a cut of Prime Rib that I didn’t LOVE.
Be selective in purchasing your rack, as you may allocate $50-350 (or more) for a rack of ribs. Color of the raw beef should be bright red with milky white fat. Look for even distribution of marbling throughout the beef with thick, but trimmed end-cap of fat. Bone-in is preferred due to its capacity to impart additional flavor & insulate meat in roasting process (On special request, your butcher will carve the meat from the bone, then tie back the meat onto the bone – In many instances this is the best of both worlds). Last, but not least, size matters with Prime Rib – Large portions are more forgiving in the roasting process, allowing more room for error in cooking times & temperatures.
NOTE: Save yourself a truck-load of time – Know & make best friend’s with your local butcher – That individual is as indispensable as your most trusted auto-mechanic, family physician, or MENSA-qualified financial advisor. Trust this person to point you in the right direction, particularly when considering the purchase of Prime Grade Prime Rib!
How Much Meat is Enough Meat: Rib roasts are purchased, “by the rib,” with traditional roasts having between 3-7 ribs. Each rib of the roast supports 2 massive slabs of succulent, well-marbled beef – More than enough meat for 2 people.
- Remember: 1 Rib = 2 Servings. Example: 6 total dining guests = Purchase a rib roast with at least 3 rib bones.
- If available, request the “shorter ribs” on the rack – Smaller, incrementally leaner portions of the rack, particularly as compared to the fattier chuck end of ribs.
Start With The End In Mind: Consider time table from soup to nuts. Purchase meat 10-14 days in prior to your feast – If frozen upon purchase, allow 2-3 additional days for thawing. Dry age beef 10-14 days. Rest 2-4 hours at room temperature before cooking. Allow 1 hour for preparation. Cooking 2-4 hours. Rest 20-30 minutes before serving.
- Min Total Timetable: 10 days. 8 hours. 30 minutes.
- Max Total Timetable: 17 days. 8 hours. 30 minutes.
How to Simply Dry Age Beef at Home – From Butcher to 5-Star Steakhouse-Quality Prime Rib:
- Needed items: 1 (Choice or Prime-Grade) Bone-In, untrimmed rib roast with 3-7 ribs. Cheese cloth (or paper towel). Wire rack placed over a drip pan (or baking sheet). Refrigerator space (temperature @ 36-40℉).
- Method to Age: Pat the roast completely dry, then wrap entirely in cheese cloth (or paper towel). Place wrapped steak over drip pan lined with wire rack. Set pan on bottom shelf of refrigerator for 7-21 days. Flip steak daily & change cheese cloth wrapping every 4-5 days (change paper towel daily).
- Trimming the Beef: When dry aging complete, with a sharp carving knife, trim the beef’s fat cap & face of the steak, removing the hardened exterior layer.
- Result: Drastic improvements demonstrated in tenderness & depth of flavor intensity through process of dehydration, concentration of proteins & break down in connective tissue.
Rest Before Roasting: 2-4 hours before roasting, remove prime rib from the refrigerator. Trim & shave the beef (if dry aged), season liberally, then wrap tightly in plastic. Rest on counter allowing meat to uniformly rise to room temperature.
- Benefits: Facilitates more even roasting. Reduces cooking times. Limits risks of drying out roast exterior while the meat is enveloped with the oven’s convective heat.
- The wrap is a food safety measure employed to reduce risks associated with harmful bacteria.
Tying Down Your Roast: To ensure both uniformity of cooking & the outer layer of meat maintaining connectivity to the rib eye muscle, tie down your roast to the bone with kitchen twine.
- Precut 4-8 12” strings of kitchen twine.
- Place meat on a cutting board with the prime rib positioned perpendicular to your body.
- Slide kitchen twine under the meat rack, parallel to rib bones – Both in between each rib & on either end of the roast.
- 3 Rib Rack: 4 Pieces of Twine | 5 Rib Rack: 6 Pieces of Twine | 7 Rib Rack: 8 Pieces of Twine
- Pull the loose twine ends together and tie a tight double knot, snug enough to hold firm, but loose enough to ensure the meat is not pierced during the roasting process.
Seasoning: The key here is imparting flavor & encrusting the beef’s exterior during roasting process – Although salt is a critical component of the rub, be conservative in application & mindful of timing. Massage dry rub into beef moments prior to cooking, as salt draws out moisture from internal portions of the beef, presenting additional risk in your effort to serve a flavorful, moist cut of meat.
Cook to Temperature, NOT Time: Beef is prepared to medium-rare at an internal temperature of 135°F; medium at 140°-145°F. But, meat’s internal temperature continues to raise another 7-10F over the 15 minutes following removal from the oven. For best results:
- Employ use of a digital read internal temperature thermometer to gauge cooking process.
- Remove the prime rib from the oven @ 120-125°F for medium-rare & 130-135°F for medium.
Prime Rib Roast – Cooking & Internal Temperature Guide:
Serving Temperature: 120-125F
Remove from Oven @ 110-115F
Center – Bright red
Exterior – Pinkish toward edges
Serving Temperature: 130-135F
Remove from Oven @ 120-125F
Center – Pink
Exterior – Lightly browned
Serving Temperature: 140-145F
Remove from Oven @ 130-135F
Center – Light pink
Exterior – Deep browning
Relax, Drink Wine & Do NOT Touch That Beef – Under ANY Circumstances: After 3-stage roasting, remove from oven & tent the meat with tin foil for 15-20 minutes before carving, allowing the meat to relax & internal, denatured protein fibers to reabsorb their natural juices.
Tools of the Trade – The Checklist:
- Large rimmed sheet pan & rack, big enough for a whole roast, but small enough to fit in refrigerator
- 1 package cheese cloth
- Cutting boards & mixing bowls
- Measuring cups
- Basting brush
- Sharpened chef’s knife
- Roasting pan, with elevated rack
- Sauté pan
- Wooden Spoon
- Digital-read internal thermometer
- Carving fork & knife
- Plastic wrap
- Aluminum Foil
- Kitchen Twine
- Sauté pan, for preparing sauce, optional
- Paper towel & disinfectant spray, for cleaning
Herbs de Provence Beef Rub
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup Herbs de Provence
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground peppercorn or to taste
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- In small mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Apply to beef immediately or seal in air-tight container & refrigerate up to 2 weeks for later use.
Dry-Aged and Herb-Encrusted Prime Rib Roast
- 1 prime rib roast 4-7 ribs, rinsed & patted dry with paper towel
- Herbs de Provence Rub see recipe above
- Kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn to taste
- Parsley to garnish
- Roasting Pan Aromatics:
- 2-3 stalks celery chopped
- 2-3 large carrots chopped
- 1 large red onion sliced
- 4-6 garlic cloves smashed
- 1 large apple chopped
- Sprigs of rosemary & thyme
- Roasting Liquids:
- 3 cups beef stock low or no-sodium
- 1 cup red wine
- Dry-Aging: Pat the roast completely dry, then wrap entirely in 2-3 layers of cheese cloth (or paper towel). Place wrapped steak over drip pan lined with wire rack. Set pan on bottom shelf of refrigerator for 7-21 days. Rotate & flip meat daily, changing cloth wrapping every 3-4 days (change paper towel daily). When dry aging complete, trim the beef’s fat cap & face of the steak, removing hardened exterior layer.
- Prepping the Prime Rib: Place rack on a cutting board & slide kitchen twine under the meat rack, parallel to rib bones – Both in between each rib & on either end of the roast. Pull loose twine ends together firmly & tie knot. Rub a liberal degree of herb mixture into entire surface of the roast.
- Wrap the meat tightly in plastic & set on counter for 2-4 hours, allowing the rack to uniformly rise to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 500F & in pan bottom place aromatics & pour roasting liquids.
- Roasting Stage 1 - Sear: Place prime rib (fat cap up) in roasting pan lined with rack. Encrust exterior at 500F for 30-45 minutes (3 Rack at 30 min, 5 rack at 35 min, & 7 rack at 45min).
- Roasting Stage 2 – Rest: Remove pan from oven & rest uncovered 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Roasting Stage 3 - Slow Roast: Place prime rib back in oven @ 250F, slowly roasting & intermittently basting meat with pan liquids until beef is within 12F of desired internal temperature – Removing from oven when thermometer reads @ 118-128°F (medium-rare) & 128-133°F (Medium).
- Remove from oven & tent meat with tin foil for 20-30 minutes before carving, allowing the meat to relax & internal, denatured protein fibers to reabsorb their natural juices.
- Meanwhile, strain pan drippings, reserving 1 cup of roasting liquids. Prepare Cabernet Au Jus Sauce, per recipe below.
- Serving: With a carving fork & knife, remove the bone component from the meat. Lay the meat with fat cap up & thinly slice the beef across the grain. Plate the beef & drizzle prepared Cabernet Au Jus over beef, garnish & serve.
-Max Total Timetable: 17 days. 8 hours. 30 minutes.
Cabernet Au Jus Sauce– Ingredients (per 10 pounds of beef)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1-2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 cup shallots finely chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
- ½ cup roasting liquids pan drippings strained & discarded
- 1 ½ cups beef broth no or low-sodium
- 1 750 ml bottle Cabernet Sauvignon
- 1 splash red wine vinegar
- 1 knob unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt & fresh ground peppercorn to taste
- In large heavy bottom pan over medium-high heat, bring oil to a gentle simmer. Toss in rosemary, shallots & garlic. Sauté 5-7 minutes until just fragrant. Add brown sugar & continue stirring until caramelized. Turn down heat to a simmer & add strained roasting liquids, broth, wine & vinegar. Cover & simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring regularly, until the sauce just thickens into a syrup-like consistency. Remove the pan from the heat, add butter. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Drizzle over beef immediately, or refrigerated in sealed container for up to 48 hours.