Smoked Prime Rib

Smoked Prime Rib

I spend the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas cooking hundreds of hams, turkeys and even pork butts.

So when it comes time for the big Christmas meal, I look forward to one thing… Smoking a Whole Prime Rib.

This is something Chelle’s grandfather turned me on to a few years back. And it’s some of the best eatin’ your going to find. Forget what you know about prime rib, because you ain’t had one until you’ve had one smoked.

So here is the method I use… it’s pretty much just 4 steps:

Step #1: Choosing The Right Cut Of Prime Rib

I start with a 5lb. Choice Grade Prime Rib.

You can spent different amounts on the cut – you can get a super expesive prime rib from your butcher… or you can go mid-end and pick one up at Sams’ Club or a speciality grocery store.

I always choose a prime rib that is well marbled with fat, because we all know that fat is what makes it juicy and flavorful.

If you’re trying to save money, you can pick a Select Grade Prime Rib… but just remember that Select won’t have as much marbling (and if you take it past medium done when you cook it, it won’t be fit to eat).

I also want to go with the bone-in Prime Rib. Not only does the bone help to keep the moisture in the meat, but anytime you cook meat on the bone, it will add more flavor.

Step# 2: Seasoning Your Prime Rib Before Smoking

A word to the wise… don’t skimp on the seasonings.

I’m not about to inject a Prime Rib because I want the internal flavor from the fat and the bone to create that beefy taste that good prime rib should have, but I do season the outside heavily.

First, I rub the outside with a little Olive Oil and then use a combination of:

A heavy coating of this seasoning will make a beautiful, crusty, delicious bark on the outside.

Step #3: Smoke Your Prime Rib

Once you get your Prime Rib rubbed down, the next part is easy.

Get your smoker to 275 degrees and add a little wood. I use Cherry wood for a mild smoke flavor. A hardwood like Hickory or Oak can be used in moderation but too much smoke will over power the meat. If you’re going to go with something heavy only use a few chunks.

I also added a quartered sweet onion to my fire as well… just cause I like the flavor it gives meat – and I really like the way smoking onions smell.

The Prime Rib cooks at about 20 minutes per pound.

And I made sure I monitor the internal temp really closely… I did not want to overcook my Prime Rib. I suggest using an internal probe thermometer, like a DOT meat thermometer 

Step #4: Pull Your Prime Rib Off The Smoker and Rest

Once the internal temp hit 130 degrees, I pull the prime rib off the smoker and let it rest. Large cuts of meat will always gain 5-10 degrees after being taken off the smoker.

Your Prime Rib will hit a perfect medium rare (135 internal) in about 15 minutes.

If you are aiming for medium you will pull your Prime Rib off the smoker at 135 internal (and let it gain 5 degree while it rests).

If you are aiming for medium well – which I don’t ever recommend – you will pull it off the smoker between 140 and 145.
Once you rest your prime rib for 15 – 30 minutes, it is time to eat.

Easy process that gives you one of the best prime ribs you will ever eat…

Malcom Reed
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Comments 22

  1. Have you ever used a rotisserie to cook the prime rib? I just wanted to know if one way was better than the other. Obviously, some gas and chips would be involved which do not ever seem to taste as well as charcoal, but I just wanted to get your input on the matter.

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      The rotisserie works really good for cooking prime rib because you get a real even cook. But your going to get the best flavors from a charcoal and wood combination with your fuel source.

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      You can cook it slower, it’s just going to take a long time. Might not brown as well either. And there isn’t going to be any difference in the finished product. We’re both going for 140 -145 internal temp… just a questions of how long it’s going to take you to get it there.

  2. Hey Malcom, love your recipes, i was curious i plan on smoking my prime rib tomorrow and im feeling lost as to when you wrap it in foil? would it be 2 hours for a 6 lb roast and then wrap and put back on until it reaches 140? please help! Thank you.. Brian

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      I don’t wrap it in foil while I’m smoking it. I will wrap it in foil at the end to let it rest. And this works great since most of the time I’m taking it somewhere instead of just eating it at home. You can also put it in a large pan and cover it with foil, then put it in a dry cooler to rest.

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      Oh yeah – I reserve all the liquid and allow it to settle for a few minutes. You can skim the fat off the top. Then you can just use that – or add some seasonings, some more broth or some flavor booster to it.

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  3. I’ve smoked two prime ribs now using your technique and they have both been awesome! The last one was made for Christmas. Thanks!

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  4. I have had the pleasure of making several of your recipes and they have all been fantastic. I’m wondering if you have cooked a prime rib on your pellet grill?

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  5. Thanks Malcom for the awesome recipe – used it tonight and got many compliments – did 2 9lb bone-in prime ribs in my Bradley smoker at 255 in about 4 1/2hrs. Your BBQ Rub is the best I’ve ever used – absolutely magical on pork and excellent here as well. Thanks so much for making me look good:)

  6. Hey Malcom,

    I’m a little new to smoking – bout a year or so – and I was wondering about something. I have one of the 18-inch Weber Smokey Mountain smokers, and I’ve never smoked enough meat at the same time to use both the upper and lower racks. If I put a 6 pound pork butt on the top rack, and a 6 pound pork butt on the lower rack will the one on the lower rack reach temperature sooner, because it’s closer to the heat source? Also, would it be the same for other meats such as boneless prime rib roasts and turkeys? Thanks in advance, and… KEEP ON SMOKIN IT! LOL!

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