Date Night Prime Rib: because prime rib isn’t just for Christmas Dinner! Easily adaptable for larger roasts to feed a crowd.
(Updated post. May contain affiliate links.)
Phil and I have been doing a date night every week since we met almost six years ago. We used to go out for dinner, but now we eat in and make an extra-special dinner that night. We recently discovered a cute little prime rib roast on sale at the grocery, which led to the idea of Date Night Prime Rib.
Prime Rib: not just for Holiday dinners
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 loads of leftovers to spare.
I’ve made prime rib for Christmas Dinner for a number of years. I’m usually feeding a small crowd. Fortunately, this crowd all agrees upon medium-rare to medium for prime rib—no “burn it”, well-done types here!
Usually, though, you’ll be fielding a range of doneness preferences, which takes some finesse. The general rule is that you shoot for well-done on the ends and hope that the center of the roast stays on the medium-rare to medium side.
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 (ah, the horror!), it’s going to be very hard to make both of you happy. A small roast has less space between its center and the heat of the oven than a large roast does, so well-done ends will probably give you a medium middle at best.
If I were faced with this situation, I’d probably cut the rib roast in half—after roasting to medium-rare and resting for a half hour—and then pan-fry the well-done portion to bring it to 130º–135º. An additional rest will bring the temperature up to 140º–145º.
Fun fact: on the other hand, slicing up a prime rib roast gives you fantabulous, fat rib-eye steaks that you can cook any way you want…just sayin’.
Date Night Prime Rib: cooking time
The smaller roast we’re using means a shorter cooking time, but with the hour rest at room temperature before roasting and half hour after roasting (not to mention the roast time itself), you’ll want to make this meal for a weekend date night. 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.
Preparing Date Night Prime Rib
I use a boneless, ~3 lb. rib roast for Date Night Prime Rib. 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.
The rub I use forms a lovely crust on the outside of the meat. The mix consists of finely minced, fresh rosemary, minced 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.
Fat and fat cap
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. 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, though, to about 1/4–1/2″. Then I score it in a criss-cross pattern and rub the herb, salt, and pepper mixture into the cuts.
Roasting your date night prime rib
A half-hour before roasting, I start preheating my oven to 450º. I stick the probe of a digital meat thermometer into the center of the roast, and place the roast on the rack of my small, oval roasting pan. Into the oven it goes: we want a 15-minute sear, followed by a 25–30 minute roast at lower temperature (again: meat thermometer!) for rare to medium-rare. I 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 (about 10º) as the roast rests.
If you prefer a medium to medium-well roast, take the meat out of the oven at 130º–135º and tent with foil (the temperature should rise to 140º–145º; 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?
If you’re doing a big roast for a holiday dinner, you’ll obviously need to plan for a longer roast time: anywhere from 45 minutes after the high-temperature sear to 2 1/2 hours (figure about 15 additional minutes per pound of roast). 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 the hubster loves his loaded baked potato. As you can see, we prefer our Date Night Prime rib on the rare side of the doneness spectrum:
I used to make au jus for Date Night Prime Rib, but this flavor is so amazing and the meat is so juicy and tender that I’ve taken to just eating it as-is. Even so, I’ve provided a very simple au jus recipe for you.
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. I also save the bones from bone-in roasts for making rich beef broth—that story is coming soon. Stay tuned!
For even more inspiration for using up your leftovers, pop over and read my article, Using up Leftovers!
I’m linking my Date Night Prime Rib recipe up with:
- #CookBlogShare, a great food blogger recipe-share at Everyday Healthy Recipes.
- #CookOnceEatTwice, for recipes that are just as good left-over as they are when you made them, hosted by Searching for Spice.
- #RecipeOfTheWeek hosted by A Mummy Too.
- #BrillBlogPosts, a link party with a variety of lifestyle reads hosted by Honest Mum.
A small prime rib roast will deliver huge servings for two people, with enough leftovers for the most fabulous, decadent prime rib sandwiches EVER the next day. Pairs wonderfully with mashed potatoes.
- 3 lb boneless prime rib roast (from the small end of the rib)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1/2 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped (optional)
- 1 tsp coarse salt (I use Kosher)
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
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 1/4" 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. 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 120º–125º for medium-rare (take it out at the lower temperature if you like it on the "rare side" of medium-rare; see Recipe Note #1). Tent the roast with foil and rest for at least 30 minutes.
Remove all but ~1.5 tablespoon of fat from the roasting pan and place the pan over medium heat. Mix in the flour and cook, stirring continuously, for 3 minutes.
Add the beef broth and whisk continuously, being careful to scrape up any of the fond (delicious, caramelized bits of beef on the bottom of the pan). Adjust the heat to medium-high and continue cooking, whisking frequently, until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly (see Recipe Note #2).
Carve 2 servings of the roast and serve with the au jus on the side (reserve extra meat for prime rib sandwiches! Coming soon!). Enjoy!
- 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). For a medium to medium-well roast, remove when the temperature reaches 130º–135º.
- 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.
Related tools on Sur La Table (affiliate)
|cutting board||digital thermometer||roasting pan||carving knife|
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