Date Night Prime Rib Roast: because prime rib isn't just for Christmas Dinner! This recipe works for roast small enough for two or large enough to feed a crowd.
Besides showing you how to cook a perfect prime rib roast, I also detail how to make that fabulous au jus from the drippings. Enjoy!
We recently discovered that prime rib roast is perfect for Date Night.
Phil and I have been doing Date Night every week since we met. We used to go out for dinner, but now we eat in and make an extra-special dinner that night.
I don't know about you, but this Date Night set-up is enough to make me swoon.
Prime Rib Roast: perfect for Holiday dinners and romantic meals
The inspiration for Date Night Prime Rib was the discovery of a small prime rib roast that was on sale at the grocery.
Prime rib is a cut of meat that we never order out anymore. We can make a perfect, succulent, tasty roast at home for a fraction of the price we'd pay in a restaurant.
Plus, we have plenty of leftovers to spare.
I've made a Christmas prime rib roast for a number of years.
It's also a popular New Year's Eve dinner.
Prime Rib Roast (also known as a standing rib roast) is easily scalable for a larger crowd.
One issue with prime rib, though, is that you'll be dealing with guests who have a range of doneness preferences.
The general rule is that the ends will be more well-done than the center of the roast.
With Date Night Prime Rib, you're only dealing with you and your significant other. Disclaimer: if you like your prime rib rare, but your partner likes it well-done (the horror!), it's going to be very hard to make both of you happy.
If you are faced with this situation, you can always cut off a slice and simmer it in some au jus to the desired doneness.
How long do I cook prime rib roast?
The smaller roast we're using means a shorter cooking time, but there is still an hour rest at room temperature before roasting and half hour rest after roasting (not to mention the roast time itself).
Roast sizes and oven temperatures are so variable that I'd be crazy to try and give you an exact cooking time.
It's done when it's done, which is when the meat thermometer says so.
Should I buy a boneless or bone-in prime rib roast?
Both types will work beautifully, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
What to know about bone-in vs. boneless prime rib roasts
The bone insulates the meat as it cooks, which keeps the meat from drying out and overcooking.
On the other hand, it's much harder to carve than a boneless rib roast.
A great solution is to ask the butcher to cut off the bone and then tie it back onto the roast.
This way, you get the insulation from the bone and the ease of carving you'd have with a boneless roast. Simply untie and remove the bones before carving.
Bone-in roasts will also take longer to cook than boneless, so whatever you choose, plan accordingly.
How many pounds of rib roast do I need per person?
For a bone-in rib roast, plan about 1 pound per person.
You'll need about ¾ pound per person with a boneless rib roast.
How to cook Prime Rib Roast
I use a boneless, ~3 lb. rib roast if I'm making a prime rib roast for Date Night.
Bone-in rib roasts are also fabulous—either will work for this recipe.
At least an hour (and up to 2 hours) before I plan to start cooking, I pull the roast out of the refrigerator and pat it dry thoroughly with paper towels.
The roast needs to come up to room temperature before we put it in the hot oven.
Ever wonder why it's important to dry your meat before grilling or roasting? It's critical for getting a deep sear and flavorful crust on the meat.
What rub is best for prime rib roast?
The rub I use forms a lovely crust on the outside of the meat.
The mix consists of finely minced fresh rosemary and garlic, olive oil, and a generous amount of salt and pepper.
You could simply opt to rub the meat down liberally with salt and pepper: it will still be delicious.
Should I cut the fat off the rib roast?
Prime rib is a super fatty cut of meat. Not only does it have a fat cap, but it's also marbled through with fat.
That's not a bad thing. Fat = flavor.
It flavors the meat during the roast, and you can cut around it as you eat.
I do like to trim the fat cap down to about ¼–½".
Then I score it in a criss-cross pattern (I cut down slightly into the meat as well) and rub the herb, salt, and pepper mixture into the cuts.
Should the fat side of the roast be up or down?
The fat cap should be facing upward while the prime rib roasts.
This ensures that the meat self-bastes as the fat melts.
Temperature for prime rib
A half-hour before roasting, start preheating your oven to 450º F.
Stick the probe of a digital leave-in meat thermometer into the center of the roast, and place the roast on the rack of my small, oval roasting pan.
To keep the roast moist and to capture juices for making au jus, put a 50:50 mix of water and low sodium beef broth in the bottom of the pan (½ inch).
Place the roast in the oven for 15-minutes to allow it to sear.
Lower the temperature to 325º F and continue roasting until your prime rib reaches your desired temperature (remember to account for resting time; see below).
During the roast, be sure that the liquid in the bottom of the pan doesn't dry out (add more water if needed).
When is my prime rib roast done?
Phil and I like our standing rib roast between rare and medium rare, about 130ºF.
For this level of doneness, we remove the roast to a cutting board and tent with foil when the meat thermometer reads 120º.
The roast will have cooking momentum, by which I mean that the temperature will continue to rise as the roast rests (about 10º, so final prime rib temp of 130º).
If you prefer a medium to medium-well roast, take the meat out of the oven at 135º–140º and tent with foil (the temperature should rise to 145º–150º.
Keep in mind that the ends of the roast will be more done than the interior, especially with a larger roast).
Making prime rib for a crowd?
Costco always has a good-sized prime rib that can feed a larger group.
If you're doing a big roast for a special occasion like Christmas dinner, you'll obviously need to plan for a longer roast time.
Again, the thermometer is your guide!
After the roast reaches its target temperature, it's critical to let it rest for at least 30 minutes, or you risk losing the juices that make the meat succulent and flavorful.
After the roast rests, cut it into thick slices and serve. I love to eat mine with mashed potatoes, but Phil loves loaded baked potatoes.
Making Prime Rib Au Jus
My au jus is simply reduced pan drippings.
Because the rub we use on the roast is full of fresh rosemary and garlic, these flavors will infuse the drippings, making for a delicious—yet incredibly simple—au jus.
Degrease the drippings and pour into a saucepan. Reduce as necessary until you get an intense beefy flavor.
Note that au jus is not like gravy, which is thickened with flour—au jus is perfect for dipping your meat as you eat.
Serve the au jus in individual ramekins.
What side dishes go with prime rib roast?
Our ABSOLUTE favorite side for prime rib is Easy Skin-On Mashed Potatoes with Horseradish, which is pictured on the blue plate in the photo at the beginning of the post.
Other great side-dishes are:
Easy Microwave Brussels Sprouts (shown below)
Skillet Pepper Mushroom Onion Stir-Fry
Green Beans with Bacon and Onions
Creamy Meal-Prep Mashed Potatoes
Easy Microwave Broccoli – Served 3 Ways
Prime Rib Leftovers
I think that almost the best thing about Date Night Prime Rib is that there are enough leftovers for the most amazing prime rib sandwiches you've ever tasted—we always make those the next day.
That's another story: check out Open-Faced Prime Rib Sandwiches.
For even more inspiration for using up your leftovers, pop over and read Using up Leftovers!
- 3 lb bone-in prime rib roast (see Recipe Note #1)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- ½ tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped (optional)
- ½ tbsp coarse salt (I use Kosher)
- 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups low sodium beef broth
- 3 cups water
FOR THE PRIME RIB ROAST
- 1 hour before you plan to being roasting the prime rib, remove the roast from the refrigerator and pat down with paper toweling. If you'd like, remove all but ¼" of the fat cap. Carefully score the fat, making cuts in a criss-cross pattern over the top of the meat.
- Preheat oven to 450º. As the oven heats, mix the garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, and olive oil to form a paste. Rub the roast with the paste, being sure to rub paste into the score lines in the fat cap. Place the roast on a rack set into a small roasting pan.
- Add the beef broth and water to the bottom of the roasting pan.
- If you have a digital meat thermometer, place the probe into the center of the roast. Place the roasting pan in the oven and connect the cord of the probe to your digital thermometer. Carefully shut the oven door on the cord.
- Roast for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 325º. Continue roasting until the temperature on the digital thermometer reads 10ºF below your final desired temperature.
- Remove to a cutting board and tent with foil for at least 30 minutes.
TO MAKE AU JUS
- Degrease the pan drippings and add to a saucepan over medium heat.
- Reduce for 5 minutes, or until the au jus takes on an intensely beefy flavor (add additional water or beef broth as necessary).
- Slice the roast and serve with the au jus on the side (reserve extra meat for prime rib sandwiches!). Enjoy!
- Bonless roasts are also fine. Figure one pound per person for a bone-in roast and about ¾ pounds each for boneless.
- If you're doing a large roast for a holiday dinner, you'll need to plan for a longer roast time: anywhere from 45 minutes after the high-temperature sear to 2 ½ hours (figure about 15 additional minutes per pound of roast).
- Be sure to check the level of the liquid a few times during the roast to be sure that the pan drippings don't dry up and burn. If needed add additional water.
- To be extra careful, I also check the temperature of the roast by inserting an instant-read thermometer in a few different places (e.g., inserting the thermometer at the ends and in the center of the roast).
- Keep in mind that au jus is not gravy, so this will not be a thick sauce. Be sure to reserve some for prime rib sandwiches!
NOTE: You can easily adjust this recipe for a larger roast by allowing for extra cooking time and doubling the au jus recipe. Figure about 15 minutes of extra cooking time per pound of roast.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: ~¼ of the roast
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g
Herb-Roasted Rack of Pork: a perfect, out-of-the-box holiday dinner. We often eat this meal instead of ham for Easter!
Easy Roast Beef Tenderloin with Peppercorn Sauce: Easy Roast Beef Tenderloin with Peppercorn Sauce is the perfect meal for the holidays. Or serve it for a romantic Date Night!
Perfect Meal-Prep Creamy Mashed Potatoes: a perfect side dish to roast meat. The potatoes can be peeled and soaked up to a day in advance, making preparations for the big dinner so much easier.
Asparagus Orzotto: a creamy, flavorful side dish that pairs perfectly with roasted meat. Perfect for spring dinners!
Open-Faced Prime Rib Sandwiches: the perfect way to use up your leftovers from Date Night Prime Rib!