Recipes and food related things

Smoked Prime Rib

smoked prime rib

I enjoy a nice prime rib roast, but I love a smoked prime rib roast.

Smoking a rib roast is simpler and quicker than smoking a brisket, and is actually harder to screw up, as long as you follow a few simple steps, and make sure not to overcook it.

If you do not have a smoker, you can use the oven for this recipe. It will produce a good roast.

For serving, I highly recommend pairing a smoked prime rib roast with my Creamy Horseradish Sauce. I like my rib roast with just salt and pepper, but my dry-rub for beef also works great on a prime rib roast.

The length of time it will take depends on the smoker, the weather, and the roast. I tend to allow one hour to pre-heat the smoker, 3 to 4 hours to smoke the roast, and an hour to rest and sear the roast. I prefer to have the roast finish cooking a little earlier, rather than late. If the roast finishes too early, I put the roast in a pre-heated cooler, and allow it to rest for an hour or two, until I am ready to sear it.

About cuts of beef for a smoked rib roast:

Prime rib vs prime beef:

The term Prime Rib is often used to refer to a “rib roast”, or a “standing rib roast”, but it doesn’t have to be prime grade beef. Unless you are shopping at a high end butcher, or a speciality grocer, actual prime grade rib roasts are hard to find. They tend to be sold to restaurants. And are very expensive. When shopping, buy the best grade beef you can find that is within your budget. If it isn’t “prime grade” don’t worry.

Other cuts of beef:

If you cannot find a rib roast, or want to try some other cuts of beef, any beef roast intended for (dry-heat) roasting will work. These are often labeled as “oven roast”. Cuts of beef intended for briasing, or labeled “pot roast” are not good choices. Avoid them.

Some cuts of beef to try are:
Cuts of Beef
High EndTop Sirloin, Prime Rib, Strip loin, and Tenderloin*
OtherSirloin Tip, Eye of Round, Outside or Inside Round, and Rump Roast.

*Be careful with Tenderloin roasts, as it is very lean, and will dry out quickly. The other cuts are more forgiving, and usually cheaper.

I tend to prefer the high end cuts (when they are on sale), with prime rib being my favourite.


The directions in this recipe are assuming a Medium-Rare finished smoked prime rib. I smoke the roast until it is 125°F to 130°F.

If you want a Medium roast, smoke it until 135°F to 140°F.

I usually assume that the roast will have about 5°F of carry-over cooking, and pull it a little before the finished temperature.

Print Recipe
Smoked Prime Rib Yum
A guide to making smoked prime rib that is easy to follow and creates a superb meal for the entire family.
Creamy horseradish sauce with roast beef
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3-4 hours
Passive Time 2 hours
8 people
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3-4 hours
Passive Time 2 hours
8 people
Creamy horseradish sauce with roast beef
Preparing the roast
  1. Place the roast on a baking sheet, and season liberally with salt.
    prime rib ready to be salted
  2. Let the salt do its thing for at least an hour. Up to a day. If you will be leaving it for longer than an hour, put the roast in the fridge. I salt my roasts a day in advance.
Smoking the roast
  1. If the roast is in the fridge, take it out.
  2. If your smoker has a water pan, fill it with water, and pre-heat the smoker to 225°F to 250°F.If you are using an oven, pre-heat it to 225°F.
  3. If you are using a dry rub for the beef, apply it now (avoid dry rubs with a lot of salt, otherwise the beef may be too salty), otherwise grind some black pepper over the beef.
  4. Add some smoke wood to the smoker. For beef, I like hickory.
  5. If you are using a leave in thermometer probe, put it in the roast, and place the roast on the smoker (or in the oven in a roasting pan).
    prime rib on smoker
  6. Cook the roast until it reaches the desired temperature adding more smoke wood as needed.For medium-rare, aim for 125°F to 130°F. For medium, 135°F to 140°F.For a 5 pound roast, this should take 3 to 4 hours.
  7. Once the desired temperature is reached, remove the roast from the smoker or oven, and cover it in foil, and allow it to rest.
Resting the roast
  1. Allow the roast to rest, covered in foil for at least fifteen minutes, preferably half an hour to an hour.
  2. If I need to hold the roast longer than an hour, I will place a large pot of hot water in a cooler, and allow the cooler to warm up. Once it is warm, I will place the roast in a covered roasting pan in the cooler. It will keep warm, for two to three hours, if not longer.
Searing the roast
  1. The roast may look and smell great at this point, but the final step is important. Pre-heat your oven to 450°F.
  2. Place the rested roast, uncovered, in the oven, and roast it for ten to fifteen minutes allowing the exterior to brown and crisp up. Depending on how dark you like it, and how hot your oven actually is, the time will vary.
  3. If it begins smoking too much, reduce the temperature to 425°F, or remove the roast from the oven.
Slicing and serving
  1. Once the exterior is the colour you are looking for, remove the roast from the oven and allow it to sit for a few minutes (to avoid burning yourself).
  2. I like to cut the bones off the roast, and then slice the beef into 1/4" to 1/2" slices, down towards where the bone was.
  3. Carve the roast on to a serving platter, or on to individual plates, depending on your preferences. For company, I tend to serve on a platter, and serve family style.
    Creamy horseradish sauce with roast beef
Recipe Notes

If you are new to smoking, and would like some tips on lighting a smoker, and maintaining a steady temperature, please let me know.

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