Prime rib for Christmas dinner is a must! But do you roast it? Cook it? At what temperature? For how long? What’s the best way to season your prime rib? Read on!
As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases.
Prime Rib Christmas Tradition
Every year, for…I don’t know how many years, we’ve had a Christmas prime rib dinner.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without the beautiful roast, creamed horseradish, and creamed spinach.
A few years back, we also added Rack of Pork and all the Scandinavian accompaniments to the Christmas menu. Yes, it’s a lot of food…and yes, it’s pretty elaborate, but it’s incredibly delicious, too!
We celebrate Christmas in traditional British fashion, full-stop with crackers, paper crowns, and corny jokes!
Although the Yorkshire pudding doesn’t make it to the menu every year, Trifle is always present.
Two kinds of horsey sauce; creamed horseradish and the straight stuff, as well as mashed potatoes, and of course, English prime rib are also always on the table.
How Many People Will a Roast Feed?
Most full prime rib roasts have 7 ribs, which is enough for about 10 people with leftovers.
Depending on how many ribs your roast has, it could weigh anywhere between 6 and 14 pounds.
You’ll need to base it on the weight of the roast and how big your guest’s appetites are for your prime rib dinner recipe.
Figure for roughly 1 pound per person. The prime rib restaurant I worked at had a few cuts.
The “petite” was just thin slices of beef, the standard cut with the bone, and “the end cut”, which is just that.
Since they are only two end cuts per roast, those were usually reserved in advance by those in the know.
Those with large appetites will want a slice of prime rib with the bone.
Best Way to Cook Prime Rib
First, make sure you get the best quality meat you can afford. If you have a good quality piece of meat, it requires nothing more than kosher salt and pepper for seasoning and a hot oven.
The method and directions remain the same regardless of the size of your roast. The roasting time will be based on how much your roast weighs.
Be sure you write down the weight and approximate cooking time, making sure to check after half an hour or so with a thermometer.
You’ll need a heavy roasting pan like this one, with a moveable rack.
This prime rib recipe comes from the Time-Life Series, The Cooking of the British Isles, 1969.
Is Prime Rib Cooked and Roasted at Different Temperatures?
Yes, it is!
When roasting, for best results, take your roast out of the refrigerator at least an hour before you plan on roasting it so it is not ice cold.
The method this recipe uses starts the prime rib at a temperature of 500 F.
After 20 minutes, reduce the oven to 350 degrees F. and continue cooking until done.
For cooking prime rib, I prefer to err on the rarer side, as it’s always easier to cook a roast more, but impossible to go back once you’ve over-cooked it!
This is when a meat thermometer is imperative. I use a thermometer to check the roast in several different spots to make sure that one side isn’t cooking faster than another.
Rotate the roast if your oven is uneven halfway through cooking.
Pull the meat at 115 degrees F for rare, 120 to 125 degrees F for medium-rare, and 125-130 F for medium. I wouldn’t suggest cooking it more than medium!
Remember that the internal temperature will continue to rise after removing the roast from the oven.
Insert the thermometer in the center of the roast. The center will be rarest and the ends will be medium to medium-well ensuring that everyone gets their meat to their liking.
You should start checking the internal temperature after about 90 minutes.
How Long Should the Meat Rest?
After the prime rib roast has reached the proper temperature, remove it from the oven and tent it with foil where it will continue cooking even after being removed from the oven.
Usually, the hardest part of any holiday meal is timing everything so that it arrives on the table hot all at once.
Take the opportunity when the meat is resting to finish heating up the sides for your prime rib dinner.
Side Dishes for Prime Rib
No idea what to serve with prime rib? Knowing the best side dishes can be difficult! Here are some side dishes for prime rib.
Horseradish is a must. You can either serve straight horseradish or use this recipe for creamed horseradish which cuts the heat and is divine with any beef!
We serve the rib with two kinds of horseradish, the straight stuff, and creamed horseradish.
Make sure when you buy the bottled horseradish it’s just pure horseradish or your creamed horseradish sauce will be too mild.
Classic Prime Rib
- 8 pound standing rib roast or prime rib roast
- Kosher salt
- Cracked black pepper
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
- For best results, take out rib and let stand at room temperature for at least an hour. Rub roast generously with kosher salt and pepper.
- Place in a large roasting pan, fat side up. Roast beef undisturbed, in the middle of the oven, for 20 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 350 degrees F. and continue to roast, without basting, for about 1 hour to an hour and a half, or until beef is cooked to your taste. A meat thermometer with register 115 degrees F. when the beef is rare. 120-125 for medium rare and 125-130 for medium. An 8 pound roast will take approximately and additional hour and a half, increase the time by 15 minutes per pound if your roast is larger.
- Remove roast from the oven, (it will continue to cook and the temperature will rise up to 10 degrees, once it's out of the oven) and tent it with foil.
- Allowing the roast to rest before carving, undisturbed for 20-30 minutes, will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.