Butcher’s Guide: What is a Prime Rib?

  • by Omaha Steaks
bone-in Frenched prime rib cooked mediium-rare
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Prime rib roast is a classic holiday centerpiece with big, beefy flavor and irresistibly tender, juicy texture. When a roast like this sits at the head of the table, eyes widen and jaws drop! This well-marbled beef roast is a Sunday dinner and holiday favorite for good reason. Let’s dig into what is a prime rib roast and what gives it the incredibly tender texture and bold flavor.

What is Prime Rib?

A prime rib roast is a roast-sized version of the popular steak, the ribeye. It is characterized by intense marbling – the white lines of fat that melt into the roast as it cooks. This marbling adds a buttery richness to the beef that creates that melt in your mouth texture

A prime rib roast can be bone-in or boneless, ranging in size from 4-8 pounds. Our prime rib roasts are aged 21+ days for maximum tenderness and hand-carved by master butchers. Delivered right to your door, our prime rib roasts are ready to season and roast – no extra trimming necessary.

Cutting a Prime Rib Roast

The prime rib roast is carved from the primal section called the beef rib. It falls between the chuck (shoulder) and the loin, and spans ribs six through 12. These are the ribs located immediately before the loin.

The rib section of the animal naturally collects more intramuscular fat, creating fantastic marbling and giving the beef the bold, rich flavor and immense juiciness. If you enjoy the flavors of a ribeye steak, you will love the roast-sized version.

Butcher’s Guide: What is a Prime Rib?

Bone-in vs Boneless Prime Rib

The prime rib, carved by master butchers, can be bone-in, Frenched bone-in, or boneless. All are a great experience, but there are some subtle differences between the cuts.

Our boneless prime rib is cut from the heart of the prime rib with the bones removed. It is perfectly trimmed of exterior fat by hand and ready to roast.

A bone-in prime rib roast is slightly more complex than boneless. The bone insulates the meat while its cooking, allowing the roast to retain moisture and juiciness. When you cook a bone-in roast, the meat farther from the bone will cook faster than the portion closer to the bone. Therefore, it requires more culinary skill for the perfect doneness.

For a fancy presentation, try a Bone-in Frenched Prime Rib roast. The rib bones are Frenched in the traditional sense – cut and cleaned for perfect presentation. This roast is a beautiful centerpiece at your dinner table.

How to Cook a Prime Rib

It’s traditional to roast a prime rib in the oven to medium-rare doneness. Use our roast cooking chart or Omaha Steaks mobile app with cooking timer to achieve your desired doneness. Check for doneness using a meat thermometer and use these temperature guidelines.

  • Rare 120-130° F
  • Medium rare 130-140° F
  • Medium 140-150° F
  • Well done 160-170° F

Chef’s Tip: Always rest your cooked roast on a cutting board tented with foil for 15-20 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute before slicing.

Try one of our prime rib recipes:

Serving the Prime Rib

When purchasing a prime rib, plan to serve ½ pound per person at your meal. To serve, allow the roast to rest and use a well-sharpened knife to slice large pieces against the grain. If desired, serve each slice with au jus or sauce. Pair your show-stopping centerpiece with a perfect side dish and a decadent dessert for an incredible meal your guests will love.

More Butcher’s Guides:

Butcher’s Guide: What is a Prime Rib?

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