Modern-day chefs and home cooks enjoy a number of technological advantages their predecessors couldn't have imagined, from non-stick cookware to microprocessor-controlled ovens. Modern ovens are capable of many sophisticated functions, even cooking a prime rib or other roast to a predetermined degree of doneness. Although the menu-setting details vary between brands and models, the process consists simply of inserting your oven's meat probe and then choosing a roasting temperature and a final internal temperature.
Place the rib roast in your roasting pan, resting on its ribs with the meaty section facing upward. Season the roast liberally over its entire surface with freshly ground black pepper and coarse salt or other flavoring ingredients, as desired.
Insert the oven's temperature probe horizontally into the roast from one end, ensuring that it's in the thickest part of the muscle and well away from any bone or veins of fat. Slide the roasting pan into your oven, and connect the other end of the probe to its socket.
Select a final temperature for your roast, using the oven's "Probe" menu or keypad. Bear in mind that prime rib is a large roast, and its temperature will increase by approximately 10 degrees after you take it out of the oven. For example, if you want it to finish at 130 degrees Fahrenheit, you should set the probe to 120 F.
Set your oven's roasting temperature to 500 F, and let your prime rib brown at this searing-hot temperature for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300 F.
Roast your prime rib until the oven signals that it has reached its preset temperature. This will vary depending on the size of the roast and your preferred doneness, but a four-rib roast of 8 to 10 pounds can take 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Remove the probe from your roast and then your roast from the oven. Transfer it to a serving tray and cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Let the roast rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.
- If your oven isn't equipped with a temperature probe, you can follow the same basic method by using a standalone probe thermometer. Wired models have a heatproof cable leading from the probe to the thermometer base, which rests on your counter and will alert you when the roast is done. Wireless models transmit to a receiver you can carry around, giving you the freedom to attend to other tasks while the beef roasts.
- Each oven has its own specific sequence of keypad instructions for setting the probe temperature and baking temperature. Consult the owner's manual for details pertinent to your oven.
- Most ovens don't display a probe temperature until the internal temperature of your roast is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fred Decker is a trained chef and prolific freelance writer. In previous careers, he sold insurance and mutual funds, and was a longtime retailer. He was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. His articles have appeared on numerous home and garden sites including GoneOutdoors, TheNest and eHow.