How to Make Tender Prime Rib for the Holidays

Because there’s nothing better than showing your nearest and dearest you are a boss when it comes to Christmas dinner.

Roasted Boneless Prime Beef Rib Roast
Roasted Boneless Prime Beef Rib Roast | Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock
Roasted Boneless Prime Beef Rib Roast | Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

The rib roast feels like a throwback to that initial version of Christmas. Ordering a pound of fatty prime meat per person has very little to do with the birth of the man who’s at the center of one of the world’s biggest religions. It’s about showing your nearest and dearest that you are a friggin’ boss. You cannot only buy but also COOK a big piece of meat. (Again, literally nothing to do with Jesus.) So what do you do first?

Well, go to your butcher (or butcher counter) and ask for a chined rib roast. This means the butcher buzzes off the spinal chord on the bandsaw so you can cook it whole but slice with ease. If you’re nice to your butcher (and maybe bring her a little whiskey) she’ll offer to hinge the roast for you. This means, she’ll par bone out the meat — she’ll pull the rib bones most of the way off, then tie them back. This way, when you’ve accomplished your tasks of buying a hunk of meat and then deftly cooking it, the table side carving is as easy as snipping some twine, removing the rib bones, and then slicing the roast.

Okay, you have the roast. You did it! The day before you’re set to cook the roast, you’ll want to season it thoroughly. This is a huge piece of meat (duh! awesome!!!) so you need to use way more salt than you think you need to. It’s not like seasoning a thinner steak. You need to coat the roast thoroughly with kosher salt and let it sit, uncovered, overnight.

The next morning, take the roast out at least one hour (ideally two) before you cook it. You’ll need a sheet tray or a roasting rack — the implement doesn’t super matter with this one. The key is to roast it bone side down (where it gets the term “standing” rib roast). The bones act as your roasting rack to ensure that air is swirling all around this massive hunk of meat. Crank your oven to 500-550°F. Pop the tempered roast in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until it’s thoroughly and deeply browned. At this point, kick it down to 350°F and let it cruise until it temps 117°F for rare, 125°F for medium, and 140°F for well done. If you have one person who wants well done, please oh please, don’t cook the whole roast that far! Cook it to rare or medium and make sure to give them the end slices.

When the roast is done, pull it out, tent it with foil and allow it to rest 30 to 40 minutes. While it does, hell, make some Yorkshire pudding to go with! The yin to the yang of a huge piece of beef. 

Once it’s rested and ready, simply snip the strings and cut roughly finger width slices of meat against the grain. Drizzle with any sort of pan sauce (or aged balsamic!) to your liking and dig in.

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Jocelyn Guest and Erika Nakamura are a queer lady butcher duo who focus on sustainable and ethical sourcing. They live in the New York countryside with their baby daughter Nina, their cat Winnie, and their six pet chickens.