Yes, prime rib is expensive and likely the reason so many are fearful to take this cut of beef to the grill. I’m going to take away that fear and show you just how your grill will respect this cut and produce the tender, buttery, crusty outside roast you want.
Although there are different opinions on whether to make a roast with the ribs intact or removed, I am someone who prefers to cook with the ribs in. I’ll give you tips on doing a boneless version as well if that is your preference.
For now, purchase an 8 lb. or 3 rib roast, get your favorite wood chunks, and get ready to fire up your gas grill using a two-zone cooking method for a prime rib roast you won’t soon forget.
For the most part, my butcher has done most of the trimming. I will just remove any remaining fat and ensure all the silver skin is gone. You should see meat all the way around the roast. In the end, I’ve removed about a pound of additional fat.
At this point, I want to add salt to the meat to reduce the amount of water before cooking and tenderize the inner fibers. For every pound of meat, I sprinkle a ½ teaspoon of kosher salt. This is called dry brining and will require that the meat be refrigerated for 24 hours after the salt is applied. I simply salt and wrap the meat in plastic wrap to prevent liquid from leaking, and place in the refrigerator. Or, you can salt and place in a non-reactive container and leave uncovered.
Char Crust Rub
While the meat is tenderizing with the dry brine, we want to prepare a char crust to be rubbed all over the outside of the roast just before it goes on the grill. Combine 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, 2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder, and 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish. I combine all my ingredients with a mortar and pestle. If it is a bit too thick, just mix in a little water so more of a paste is formed. Apply the char rub just before cooking and you’re ready to good.
Feel free to incorporate different herbs and spices in the char crust rub. Some considerations include: thyme, cinnamon, chili powder, clove, ginger, even cocoa powder.
Smoking on the Gas Grill
I really enjoy cooking a prime cut of beef roast on the gas grill as the two-zone set up makes this low stress. I prepare my LP/Gas grill by first placing a disposable foil pan under the grill grate on the side I plan to cook on. This will be my water/drip pan. I add about ½” of hot water to the pan and place my metal smoker box containing three SmokinLicious® wood chunks on the side I plan to cook on, right under the grill grate. Now I lite only the burners under the smoker box. I set these burners to medium heat to start. Just before I’m ready to grill, I check the temperature readout and adjust my heat setting until I hit my target temperature of 225°F.
Time to add the char crusted rubbed roast to the unlit side of the grill, directly above the drip/water pan. I insert a thermometer and close the lid. Basically, for the next couple of hours I just need to monitor that the temperature holds to 225°F and that the water pan has enough water in it. Only as I get closer to 110°F internal temperature of the meat, do I start to babysit the grill. This is when I like to brush a bit of butter on the outside of the meat. It produces great color to the crust.
At 115°F internal temperature, I remove the water/drip pan, meat string ties, and the meat thermometer. I’m now going to finish the cooking to 130°F internal temperature by direct searing the roast on all sides. As soon as it reaches or approaches that internal temperature, I immediately get the meat off the grill and serve.
We all have a guest who insists they want their meat cook further. If that is the case, you can add a slice directly to the grill for just a minute or two, turning constantly, to give them what they want. Yes, you will have someone who wants the meat at 145°F or possibly above.
And don’t forget to save the bones to make our smoked beef broth.
If using a charcoal grill, still use a two-zone cooking set up meaning charcoal on only one side of the grill. Be sure you only cook with hot coals, no flames.
For those looking for a boneless version of this roast, feel free to request a boneless roast from your butcher, or you can remove the bones yourself and cook separately on the grill for tasty riblets. Essentially, the preparation is still the same as is the overall cooking temperature and finished meat temperature.
What’s your favorite preparation for prime rib? Bringing innovation to wood fired cooking with recipes, techniques and the science behind the fire, smoke, and flavor. That’s SmokinLicious®.