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If you’re looking to make a super easy, show-stopping centerpiece for your dinner table, look no further than this stunning smoked prime rib roast. Prime rib is a luxurious cut of beef that’s well-marbled and perfect for smoking. This recipe requires no previous barbecue smoker skills and will tell you everything you need to know about how to smoke prime rib on a pellet smoker to juicy perfection.
Reading: Sam’s club rib roast
For my birthday this year Honey gifted me a grill and smoker combo from Pit Boss grills, and I’ll admit I thought it would be difficult.
But to my surprise, I got a good hang on it pretty easily and for Easter this year we chowed down on our very first home-smoked prime rib roast. And we’ve had prime rib and rib roasts cooked all sorts of ways: sous vide, reverse seared, roasted…but that smoke flavor? This is a top contender for my favorite way (maybe even the best way) to eat it.
And because this is a special cut of beef made during special times of the year, I wanted to make sure this post was a guide for ameteur home cooks to create the perfect prime rib. So this written post is in collaboration with my wife, classically trained chef and popular food blogger, Eden.
With how simple and straightforward this prime rib recipe is, it’s perfect for even a first timer. You’ll have a gorgeous beef roast ready for your special occasions and holiday meal with minimal effort and all the glory.
- Tools needed to Smoke Prime Rib
- Tips for Buying A Rib Roast
- Prime Rib versus Rib Roast
- How to Smoke a Rib Roast on a Pellet Smoker
- Tips for the BEST Smoked Prime Rib
- How to Carve a Smoked Prime Rib Roast
- Best Side Dishes for Smoked Rib Roast
- Rib Roast FAQ
- Other Easy Smoking and Grilling Recipes
- 📖 Recipe
Tools needed to Smoke Prime Rib
The most important tool is a great smoker. The one I have is the Pit Boss Pellet Grill and Smoker Combo Pro Series 1100 from Lowe’s, but you can also find it on Amazon.
You’ll also need a meat thermometer, a probe one specifically. It sits in the center of the roast while it cooks and will give you an accurate reading on the internal temperature of the roast so it comes out the perfect.
A spray bottle. My wife hooked me on basting the roast with the solution we used in this recipe. Is it optional? Sure, but it keeps the roast moist and gives even more flavor during the slow cooking process.
Tips for Buying A Rib Roast
Buying a rib roast for the first time seems pretty daunting, but I asked a few local butchers who work with the nearby farms what to look for and how to buy a great prime rib.
A rib roast is a cut from the primal rib section of the cow and a whole seven-bone rib roast weighs about 20 pounds, it’s essentially a huge roast of unbutchered ribeye steaks. Unless you go online or to your local butcher and order a whole rib roast, it’s unlikely you’ll find one especially at regular grocery stores.
Around the holiday season you’ll find whole rib roasts cryovac-sealed at bulk stores Costco or Sam’s Club, and your local grocery store will have the smaller roasts available around big ‘eating’ holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Choose how much rib roast you actually want. Budget for 1 pound per adult, ½ a pound per kid.
The roasts are found three different ways at the store and this is where you’ll choose how you want it: as a boneless prime rib roast with the ribs removed, a standing rib roast with the ribs removed but tied back on with butcher’s twine, or a bone-in rib roast with the rib bones still completely intact with the beef.
Before buying, ask your butcher to cut off any excess fat from the top fat cap. Tell them to leave about ¼ inch of fat, because we want the flavor it gives without having too much fat.
Prime Rib versus Rib Roast
So what’s the difference between ‘prime’ rib roast and a regular ole rib roast? Prime refers to the grade of meat. Prime grade beef comes from young, well-fed cattle with a ton of marbling, and the majority of prime beef is sold to high-end restaurants and hotels.
Make sure that the ‘prime rib’ you find at your store is actually prime-grade (and not just a marketing gimmick) by checking for the ‘USDA Prime’ symbol on the packaging or talking to your butcher.
You don’t need to pay an arm or leg for a great rib roast. Most rib roasts you’ll find at the store are ‘choice’ grade, which are still high-quality just with less fat marbling. They’re more affordable but still juicy, fatty, and tender. Look for a choice grade rib roast with a nice fat cap and is the cut closest to the chuck for the best bang for your buck.
A rib roast. We had a 4.5 pound rib roast, bone-in, for this recipe. This gave us plenty to enjoy that night and leftovers for some awesome leftover prime rib roast beef sandwiches.
Seasoning. You can use whatever seasoning rub you like, though make sure it’s not full of brown sugar like a bbq rub. You don’t actually want a lot of strong flavors taking away from that prime rib flavor. We used garlic powder and onion powder, plenty of kosher salt, and tons of coarse ground black pepper.
Optional Baste. I noticed a lot of people used compound butter, but we decided on a simple, yet flavorful basting solution of worcestershire sauce and apple cider vinegar. It gave the roast a bright taste that enhanced its smoky flavor.
Wood Pellets. The smoke is definitely considered an ingredient here, don’t take it lightly. Using the right wood pellets for this cut of meat is important, I find mesquite to be overpowering here, so apple, pecan, cherry, and even hickory pellets work well here.
How to Smoke a Rib Roast on a Pellet Smoker
Fill your pellet hopper with your chosen hardwood pellets. Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees F and prepare your rib roast for the smoking process.
You don’t have to prep the meat with a long dry brine process, you can trim the fat (in needed) season, and get it on the smoker when it’s ready.
Season the entire roast liberally, you want the entire outside of the roast covered in that dry rub. This can be done the night before, placed on a wire rack and left exposed in the fridge overnight. This dries out the surface for even better color and flavor.
Place the roast on the grill grates and stick the probe thermometer right into the center of the roast.
Smoke the roast for one hour in the closed grill, then come back and quickly spray that basting solution all over the rib roast before closing it back up. Spray as often as every thirty minutes. It’s optional, but it adds flavor.
Once your probe thermometer gives you about 5-7 degrees above your desired temperature (because while the meat rests, it’ll rise in temperature) take it out. For our 6 pound bone-in rib roast, it took about 2.5 hours to reach 122 degrees F.
Now let that big guy rest before slicing ½ inch steaks with a sharp knife to serve it for dinner.
Tips for the BEST Smoked Prime Rib
Let your roast shake the chill of your fridge off and come to room temperature for an hour before cooking.
Let the seasoning really soak into the meat and fat for great flavor. Let the meat rest with the seasoning for at least an hour, but if you can let that prime rib sit on a wire rack in the fridge overnight to dry out the surface and let that seasoning really give some impact.
Let your prime rib rest after cooking for at least 15-20 minutes on a cutting board under a tent of aluminum foil. You really want to keep the meat juicy and cutting it as soon as you’re done will make all that juice run right out and all over your board.
How to Carve a Smoked Prime Rib Roast
If you’ve got a boneless rib roast, don’t worry too much about carving. Slicing steaks for your guests is all you have to do. Same with a standing rib roast that has already had the bones carved away but tied on, just snip the twine and remove the bones for gnawing on later.
But if you have a bone-in roast, here’s how to carve it:
Hold it so the bones are sticking upward, then take a sharp carving knife and run it down between the bones and the roast. Stay as close to the bones as possible and continue down the bones until you reach the other side.
Best Side Dishes for Smoked Rib Roast
Prime rib is a dish that is saved for big holidays or celebrations, so naturally those hearty rich side dishes are the sides I’ll suggest. Here’s some of our favorites:
My wife’s famous southern baked mac and cheese. You’ll never find a better recipe, and over 1,500 food reviewers agree!
If you’re feeling fancy, serve slices of prime rib steak with butter poached lobster fordamn good (and easy) surf and turf.
Other sides we chow down on during the holidays? Southern candied yams, slow cooked green beans, and lemon garlic asparagus.
Rib Roast FAQ
Other Easy Smoking and Grilling Recipes
- Smoked Pork Tenderloin
- Grilled Asparagus
- Smoked Tri Tip
- Easy 15 Minute Grilled Salmon
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