How to Smoke a Prime Rib

  • by Couple in the Kitchen
Smoked, sliced bone-in prime rib on cutting board
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Guest post by Karen Reinsberg and Gavin Booth from Couple in the Kitchen

Prime rib is such a fantastic roast. Most people reserve prime rib roast for special occasions, but we think this cut should be savoured year round. We’ve lived together in Texas for over five years, and one thing that the lone star state has taught us is to barbecue and smoke everything, prime rib included. Follow along because we’re going to teach you how to perfectly smoke a prime rib roast.

Smoking meat is a fantastic way to add flavor to your prime rib. Cooking the meat slowly allows time for the flavor from the fat cap to integrate into the meat.

We often spend lazy Sundays together around the barbecue. We love to spend the day smoking meat for a lovely Sunday meal and fantastic leftovers of the week – our kind of meal prep!

We had traditional prime rib with horseradish for Sunday dinner, made prime rib sandwiches on Monday, whipped up a prime rib hash for breakfast, and even munched on prime rib tacos on Tuesday!

Here is a no-fail recipe on how to smoke a prime rib.

Smoked Prime Rib Instructions

Ingredients:

Tools:

  • Meat thermometer 
  • Smoker 
  • A good sharp knife 

Step 1: Rub the Prime Rib

To make smoked prime rib, start by seasoning your prime rib with your rub of choice. We like to do this the day prior to smoking the meat, and leave it in the fridge uncovered. Applying a generous amount of salt and coarse spices helps to permeate the prime rib and draw out the juices. We used the Private Reserve Rub seasoning. We love the course salt and essences of coriander, dill, & caraway, garlic, chili pepper, and onion.

Step 2: Prep your smoker

On your day of smoking start by getting your smoker to a temperature of 225 degrees fahrenheit.  Any smoker will work for this, but from a consistency standpoint we prefer electronic wood pellet smokers to maintain more precise smoking temperatures. For a rare to medium rare prime rib roast you should plan between 35-37 minutes per pound at this temperature, but to be safe having a meat thermometer in your roast while smoking will help you achieve optimal smokey results.

Step 3: Sear your prime rib

While your smoker is getting up to temp take your prime rib out of the refrigerator and sear on all sides using grapeseed oil.  Grapeseed oil is great for searing meat because the oil has an extremely high smoke point meaning you can get your pan scorching hot for a quick sear. The goal of the sear on all sides is to lock in the juices and flavor during the long, low and slow smoking period.  Depending on the temperature of your pan, you can expect to sear your meat for 30 seconds to a minute on each side.

Step 4: Smoke it low & slow

bone-in prime rib on smoker

Once your prime rib has been seared on each side, let the roast rest for 5 minutes prior to placing it in the smoker.  Once your smoker is up to temp, place the prime rib roast directly on the grill grate fat cap up. With a 4 lb prime rib roast you should plan for the meat to take around 2 hours to cook, but place your meat thermometer in the meat at the beginning to watch the temperature grow throughout the smoking process. 

Step 5: Let it rest

We love our smoked prime rib medium rare, so we pull it off the smoker when it reaches an internal temperature of 125 degrees fahrenheit. Once pulled from the smoke we allow it to rest for at least 15-20 minutes before slicing.  When you let your meat rest the temperature continues to rise internally, and the tasty juices settle.

Tips

When you put your prime rib in your smoker be sure to place the fatcap up.  This is important because fat is flavor, and as it cooks that flavor will melt into the meat.  

woman holding prime rib roast on pan

Karen Reinsberg and Gavin Booth are avid homecooks, travelers, love birds and the creators of coupleinthekitchen.com. They inspire thousands to spark romance through food. From their expertise from smoking meats to sous vide, their recipes will help you create a special meal at home. A number of Karen and Gavin’s recipes using their favorite products from Omaha Steaks can be found on coupleinthekitchen.com.

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