How to Cook a Prime Rib That Melts in Your Mouth

by Meg Winkler
Slow cooking and periodic basting make for a mouthwatering prime rib.

Slow cooking and periodic basting make for a mouthwatering prime rib.

Tender, succulent and savory, prime rib is one of the very best cuts of meat on the market and is often the most expensive item on steakhouse menus. Recreating this fine dining entree is quite simple, requiring only a few ingredients. For best results, start with a USDA Prime grade prime rib. The name of the cut doesn’t imply its grade from the USDA, just that it’s the most desirable cut. The highest quality prime rib will yield the melt-in-your-mouth results seen in fine steakhouses. After hours of slow cooking and basting, your fine prime rib will be absolutely mouthwatering.

Select a prime rib cut that has plenty of marbling. USDA Prime prime rib is best if you can get it. If not, look for prime rib with thin layers of fat distributed throughout the cut. The fat will appear white or light pink.

Allow the prime rib to come to room temperature while preheating your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Beef should always be placed in the oven when at room temperature to keep from shocking it -- and causing it to toughen up -- when exposing it to heat.

Use a knife to cut 1/2-inch slits on all sides of the meat. Rub butter on all surfaces of the prime rib. Coat the meat on all sides with a spice rub of your choice. Avoid using salt on the prime rib as it can pull moisture out of the meat.

Start by cooking the prime rib at 450 degrees for the first 15 minutes. This quickly cooks the outside of the prime rib, sealing the meat and protecting the juicy center.

Turn the oven down to 325 degrees for the remainder of the cooking time, basting the prime rib with its own juices every 30 minutes. The slow cooking will create a juicy, tender prime rib. Basting the meat will keep the outside moist.

Do not overcook the prime rib. Once an internal temperature of 120 degrees is reached, remove it from the oven.

Cover the prime rib with foil for 30 minutes. The meat will continue to cook, reaching a temperature of between 125 and 130 degrees for rare.

Items you will need

  • 1 three-rib portion of prime rib
  • Heavy metal roasting pan with rack
  • Paper towels
  • Butter
  • Spice rub
  • Knife
  • Turkey baster
  • Meat thermometer
  • Foil


  • Each rib serves two people, so a three rib section will feed about six people.
  • Serve alongside au jus, which means “with juice,” by reserving the pan drippings and serving them with the prime rib for dipping.


  • Improper handling of raw meat can lead to foodborne illnesses. Thoroughly wash your hands and sterilize work surfaces after handling raw meat.
  • The safe minimum internal temperature for beef is 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Consuming beef that has not reached 140 degrees may put you at risk for foodborne illnesses.

About the Author

Meg Winkler began professionally writing in 2008. She has covered a variety of topics including fine wine, interiors, the arts, lifestyle and history. Winkler has been a luxury publications editor and music critic. She is an independent author and holds a Master of Arts from American Military University.

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