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 Rachelle’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:

  • The BBQ Rub
  • Coarse Ground Black Pepper
  • Kosher Salt
  • Montreal Steak Seasoning

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. (this is when a Stoker or a Guru comes in real handy).

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

Once the internal temp hit 135 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 (140 internal) in about 15 minutes.

If you are aiming for medium you will pull your Prime Rib off the smoker at 140 internal (and let it gain 5 degree while it rests).

If you are aiming for medium well – which I don’t ever reccomend – you will pull it off the smoker between 145 and 150.
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
Killer Hogs BBQ Cooking Team
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About the Author

I am Malcom Reed and my brother, Waylon, and I are the Killer Hogs competition bbq team. Here at HowtoBBQright.com, I want to give you my secrets, methods and techniques you need to produce competition-quality BBQ. I want to give enough detail for BBQ novices, but still offer information that is useful for the professional BBQ cooks. I only focus on REAL bbq. And I take it seriously.

14 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Ryan January 26, 2013 at 11:32 pm -

    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.

  2. Administrator January 28, 2013 at 8:38 pm -

    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.

  3. Jason September 16, 2013 at 12:03 pm -

    Is there a reason not to smoke at around 195 and cool it slower? Thank you I am still learning so much.

  4. Administrator November 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm -

    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.

  5. Brian August 7, 2014 at 10:27 am -

    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

  6. Matt November 16, 2014 at 4:15 pm -

    How long do you smoke your prime rib before you wrap it in foil?

  7. Administrator November 21, 2014 at 7:08 am -

    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.

  8. Michael December 24, 2014 at 8:36 pm -

    Can you make Au Jus from the drippings? If so how?

  9. jason January 1, 2015 at 9:57 am -

    How long per lb if being smoked at 195-200?

  10. Ed January 2, 2015 at 12:15 am -

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

  11. Administrator January 7, 2015 at 4:03 pm -

    It’s hard to beat a good prime rib.

  12. Administrator January 7, 2015 at 4:04 pm -

    I like to smoke it at 235 – 250. I’m not sure how long it would take at that temp… but I would make sure to take it to 125 – 130 internal.

  13. Administrator January 7, 2015 at 4:08 pm -

    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.

  14. Dwayne April 6, 2016 at 5:26 pm -

    Just received my first order
    From BBQ shop very good service
    Malcom will be ordering again soon
    Thanks .

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