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What Is Prime Rib?

What Is Prime Rib?


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Everything you need to know about your favorite festive dish

Prime rib is one of the most delicious ways to enjoy beef.

Prime rib is one of the best cuts of meat one can buy. Prime rib or beef rib roast are the colloquial names for the steak known as the standing rib roast. Its name derives from the most common way of cooking the meat — standing rib roast is generally roasted in a standing position with the ribs stacked vertically and the layer of fat at the top, which flavors the meat all the way through. It is cut from the primal rib and is one of the eight primal cuts of beef. Standing rib roasts yield rib steaks which have the bone and excess fat removed.

Prime rib is traditionally prepared by rubbing the outside of the roast with a mixture of seasonings, then roasting it under dry heat for 2-3 hours, depending on the size. It can also be grilled, smoked, or cooked on a rotisserie, but these options are less common. The results are a tender and delicious cut of meat. There is no specific way to serve prime rib — the English serve it with Yorkshire pudding, the French serve it au jus, and in the United States it is most often served with horseradish.

The name "prime rib" is actually a bit of a misnomer because it may lead people to believe it is a USDA Prime cut of meat. Don’t be fooled. Most prime rib cuts you would buy at the supermarket or meat markets are graded "select" or "choice." The prime cuts are mostly reserved for the high-end restaurants and upscale meat stores. The higher grade given by the USDA is determined largely by the amount of marbling on the cut of meat — the more fat that is woven throughout the cut of meat, the more tender, juicy, and savory it will be after cooking. So, if you can, for maximum flavor, try to get your hands on a roast that has been graded USDA Prime, easily found online.

The next time you have a special occasion dinner coming up, and roast chicken just seems a little dull, try serving prime rib. Don't let the lengthy cooking process deter you from making this delicious cut of meat. It is tender, savory, and worth the effort!


Since prime ribs and ribeye steaks come from the same primal cut of beef, the difference in their flavors comes from the way they are cooked. Prime ribs are seared and then roasted slowly under low heat, making them more tender, while ribeyes are grilled quickly over high heat, making them more charred.

The ribeye cut also contains the incredibly delicious “rib cap,” or Spinalis Dorsi, which Mr. Steak uses for his famous Mr. Steak’s Steak Dog, which is a Chicago style hot dog that substitutes a hot dog for the rib cap and raw onions for sauteed onions.


Where Can I Buy The Best Prime Rib?

Isn&rsquot she a well-marbled beaut! Fat in all the right places. Over the years we&rsquove tried ample brands and they&rsquore usually hit or miss. We were lucky enough to stumble upon Porter and York a few months back and were blow away by the quality of the beef. The buttery soft beef melted in our mouth. The way excellent prime rib should. You don&rsquot get that from many butchers. Hands down, BY FAR, the best quality we&rsquove been able to find. And we&rsquove tried a lot. Porter and York puts the &ldquoprime&rdquo in &ldquoprime rib.&rdquo You will not be disappointed.


Recipe Summary

  • 1 three-rib prime roast, first cut, trimmed and tied
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 3 short ribs, tied
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine

Place oven rack on lower level. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Rub roast all over with salt and pepper. Transfer to heavy 13-by-16-inch metal roasting pan. Arrange fat-side up. Place short ribs in pan.

Cook 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees, and continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thick end of roast (not touching a bone) reaches 115 degrees, about 1 hour and 25 minutes. If it hasn't, return it to oven check temperature at 10-minute intervals.

Transfer roast to platter set aside in warm spot for juices to collect. (As roast rests, temperature will increase about 10 degrees.) Do not tent, or crust will get soggy. The short ribs can be eaten as a snack, or reserved to make flavorful soups.

Pour fat and all dark drippings out of pan into a fat separator set aside.

Place roasting pan over medium-high heat. Pour red wine into pan scrape bottom with wooden spoon, scooping up crispy bits to deglaze pan. Add the drippings that have settled to the bottom of the fat separator, making sure not to add the fat. Cook until reduced by half, 5 to 8 minutes. Place a fine sieve in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour juices into strainer. Using a wooden spoon, press down on solids to extract juices. Discard solids. Serve the juices warm with the prime rib.


House of Prime Rib reopens - but is it safe to eat there? Here's what we know

The House of Prime Rib reopened for business on Friday after the owner voluntarily shut down the San Francisco institution for 24 hours for a third, hours-long health inspection.

The temporary closure followed a deluge of reports of foodborne illness related to the restaurant, which first surfaced in early April on crowdsourcing website iwaspoisoned.com but intensified this week. The San Francisco Department of Public Health did an inspection on April 7 and again on May 11, first finding only minor violations and then none. On Thursday, May 13, officials once again found no major violations, according to owner Joe Betz, and cleared the House of Prime Rib to reopen its dining room.

Yet diners continue to complain they felt sick after recent meals at the restaurant, which House of Prime Rib&rsquos Betz alleges are social media &ldquocopycats&rdquo or fake reports. In light of the reports, the health department is continuing to investigate the situation by interviewing people who report they fell ill.

Here&rsquos what The Chronicle knows so far about the investigation and related issues.

Health department officials inspected the restaurant for a third time on Thursday. What did they find?

Betz said public health inspectors were at the restaurant for nearly four hours on May 13 and watched the staff go through its usual prep and other activities. The health department&rsquos inspection report notes that elements like the temperature of the walk-in cooler for the meat and the temperature of the washing machine are adequate. It also laid out several recommendations for the restaurant, such as ending its practice of storing prime rib on towels in the famed prime rib carts, making sure all &ldquopotentially hazardous&rdquo foods,&rdquo such as meat, are heated at proper temperatures, changing gloves when switching tasks and tracking temperatures of food.The carts are also &ldquounder review,&rdquo the report states.

What&rsquos up with the prime rib? Did that cause people to fall ill?

It&rsquos unclear. Although the House of Prime Rib said this week that there was an &ldquoisolated issue with some of our prime rib which was immediately discovered and addressed,&rdquo Betz has declined to provide more information. After the health inspection on Thursday, he said: &ldquoThey couldn&rsquot find anything (wrong) with my meat.&rdquo The Department of Public Health said at the time: &ldquoWe couldn&rsquot find any direct causal link between the alleged foodborne illnesses and the observations that we made today.&rdquo

How many reports of foodborne illness related to House of Prime Rib has the Department of Public Health received?

As of May 14, the health department had received 28 complaints and interviewed 67 people.

What has the health department&rsquos investigation into these complaints entailed?

Interviews with people who reported getting sick include determining common foods eaten, symptoms, time from eating the suspected meal to time when they began to feel sick and other potential exposures, according to the health department.

Pamela Tsing, a longtime House of Prime Rib diner who experienced diarrhea after a Mother&rsquos Day dinner there on May 9, said she reported her and her family members&rsquo symptoms to the Department of Public Health after The Chronicle&rsquos report this week.

A public health nurse interviewed her, her husband, sister and mother and asked in &ldquovery great detail everything that happened, including what time we ate, exactly what we ate, exactly what time our symptoms started, what symptoms occurred.&rdquo Because her sister&rsquos symptoms &mdash diarrhea, chills and abdominal cramps &mdash lasted for several days, Tsing said the health department considered asking her sister to submit a stool sample to the Los Angeles health department as part of the investigation but ultimately didn&rsquot due to difficulty coordinating with a far-away agency.

Tsing, a physician, was impressed with the health department&rsquos investigation.

&ldquoTheir response was actually above and beyond what I expected,&rdquo Tsing said. &ldquoThey were really thorough. They were super kind and competent and concerned.&rdquo

What is the health department trying to glean from these questions?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, foodborne illness investigations focus on epidemiological, traceback (such as finding a common point of contamination in the distribution chain by reviewing records from restaurants where sick people ate) and food and environmental data to narrow down the likely source of a potential outbreak.

Knowing diners&rsquo symptoms and what foods they ate can help indicate or rule out certain contaminants, said Lee-Ann Jaykus, a food microbiologist at North Carolina State University who serves on an advisory board for iwaspoisoned.com. Vomiting, for example, is associated with norovirus, the leading cause of foodborne illness, she said. E. coli infections are associated with some forms of fresh produce and ground beef but are unlikely to be in dairy products or prepared foods, she said.

This helps health officials form hypotheses about the potential source and collect further information, such as collecting stool samples from people who fell ill and visiting where suspected foods were produced, processed or prepared.

What causes foodborne illness, and why is it so hard to track the source of a potential outbreak?

&ldquoFoodborne illnesses can be caused by bacteria, viruses and other agents,&rdquo the health department said. &ldquoDepending on the cause of the illness, it can sometimes take days for people to get sick after eating a contaminated food item. This means that the last item or place you ate at may or may not be the cause of foodborne illness.&rdquo

Outbreaks can also end before health officials gather enough information to identify the source, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An outbreak is considered &ldquoover&rdquo when the number of new illnesses drops back to normal levels, according to the CDC.

Jaydee Hanson, policy director at the Center for Food Safety, said it can be challenging to figure out the source: It could be an asymptomatic employee with norovirus, for example, or food or something else. The lack of rapid testing is also problematic, he said.

&ldquoIdeally, you would have tests that could be run in the kitchen that would tell you what kind of pathogen and which variety of that pathogen you are dealing with. CDC has developed some newer tests that are quite good, but they are not in public health offices yet, much less restaurants,&rdquo Hanson said.

Foodborne illness affects an estimated 48 million people each year but is vastly underreported, experts said, because people often wait out flu-like symptoms, don&rsquot seek medical attention and don&rsquot report it to the local health department. Budget-constrained local and state public health agencies also might not have the resources to investigate all reports they receive, Jaykus said.

&ldquoOutbreaks sometimes fall under the radar because the symptoms are pretty mild and people have no idea where they got it,&rdquo Jaykus said. &ldquoSometimes they just fall through the cracks because state and local (agencies) don&rsquot have the bandwidth to do it.&rdquo

How do routine health department inspections work?

Unnanounced, routine inspections typically involve checking for improper storage and cooking temperatures of foods, cross-contamination of equipment and surfaces, poor employee hygiene and other potential violations.

The city uses a color-coded placard system to inform the public about major health violations. Green means a restaurant had zero to one major violation that was corrected during the inspection yellow means there were two or more major violations that were corrected but will require another inspection red means a restaurant has been closed due to violations that pose &ldquoimminent health hazards&rdquo or can&rsquot be corrected immediately.

Restaurants are required to publicly post these placards. The city also has an online database that shows the results but not full reports from inspections.

Has a food poisoning outbreak of this size happened in San Francisco in the past despite routine health inspections?

Yes. In 2012, about two dozen people experienced food poisoning symptoms after a private party at Italian restaurant Delfina. The owners said at the time that they isolated the source as tainted produce, likely salad greens, but it was not investigated by public health officials, according to a New York Times article.

Popular Burmese restaurant Burma Superstar voluntarily shut down in 2013 after an E. coli outbreak that infected 22 people. The health department found that a garlic noodle dish was &ldquostrongly associated with illness, but the specific ingredient causing disease was not identified.&rdquo


Prime Rib

IMPORTANT: USE A MEAT THERMOMETER! COOKING TIMES MAY VARY WIDELY. Also, you can buy half this quantity of meat and just proceed with the preparation instructions. You'll wind up with one prime rib instead of two!

I&rsquom not sure there&rsquos anything more special and delicious at Christmastime than a beautiful, perfectly cooked piece of roast beef. This is my version of prime rib, which is as good the next day, sliced cold right out of the fridge, as it is served warm on a plate with potatoes, mushrooms, and Brussels sprouts. That was the menu I fixed for the Christmas special on Food Network (it&rsquoll be on again today at 6:00 eastern time if you&rsquod like to see the grub in living color) and it&rsquos the menu I&rsquoll be fixing again toward the end of this week.

It&rsquos also the menu I want to eat in Heaven.

Prime rib sounds impressive, and it is. But in this case, impressive doesn&rsquot need to mean complicated or difficult. The best friend you can have when roasting a nice cut of beef is a reliable meat thermometer: it&rsquos the best insurance against overcooking it&hellipwhich is a tragedy of epic proportions.

(Note: photos below are from a couple of different prime ribs I&rsquove made over the past couple of months. Don&rsquot be confused if you see different pans/different pieces of meat!)

I start with a whole (I use boneless) ribeye, sometimes called a rib loin, about 13-14 pounds. If you were to cut this into slices, you&rsquod have a bunch of boneless ribeye steaks. (And the price reflects this. Wow.)

Note that I am going to cut this piece of meat in half and roast it in two pieces. If you don&rsquot have a large crowd to feed, you could easily buy half this amount!

Either way, though, prime rib is pricey&hellipwhich is why it&rsquos usually reserved for holidays or other special occasions.

I don&rsquot have many step-by-step photos for this, so here&rsquos the final photo of my salt &ldquocrust.&rdquo I just combined kosher salt, crushed tri-color peppercorns (I put them in a Ziploc bag and whacked them with a rolling pin), plenty of minced garlic, and a bunch of rosemary leaves and thyme leaves. This isn&rsquot a hard, crack-it-open salt crust it&rsquos a light coating of flavor that&rsquos both pretty and scrumptious. I absolutely love it.

I made prime rib again for a dinner party a couple of weeks ago, and I chopped the rosemary and thyme rather than leaving the leaves whole. I didn&rsquot like it as much it was missing that &ldquoevergreen in the snow&rdquo look of the original.

Begin by heating a heavy iron skillet over very high heat. Also known as high heat. Ha. Drizzle in plenty of olive oil&hellip

And brown each piece of meat on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.

After the meat is browned, transfer it to a roasting pan with the fat side up. Pour half the salt mixture all over the top, letting it cascade over the sides a bit. Repeat with the other half of the meat.

Throw the meat into a preheated 500 degree oven and roast it for 20 to 25 minutes. This will start the cooking process and ensure that the prime rib will have beautiful, sizzly color.

After that time, reduce the heat to 300 degrees and insert the meat thermometer so that the probe goes right into the middle of the meat. Continue roasting the meat for an additional 25 to 30 minutes for rare&helliplonger for medium rare. Just watch the thermometer and remove it when it&rsquos 5 to 10 degrees before the temperature you want, because it will continue cooking after you remove it from the oven.

UPDATE: Be prepared to roast the meat longer than 30 minutes to get it done to your liking. (We like ours very, very rare!) Just watch the meat thermometer.

Remove the meat from the pan and let it rest, covered in foil, on the cutting board for at least 20 minutes. (Never cut into roast beef immediately after removing it from the oven! It&rsquos against the law.)

This is a really nice medium-rare and is on the verge of being too cooked for me. But it&rsquos perfect for a crowd!

Mmmmm. Beaut-ee-ful. And again, if I were serving just my family (as you&rsquoll notice if you watched the Christmas special) I would have gone much more rare than this.

Now this? This is too done. Still yummy, of course, but there&rsquos just not enough red going on. I&rsquod consider this medium. There&rsquos a little bit of pink, but not enough to count. (Note that this does make yummy thin-sliced roast beef for sandwiches later.)

(Though again&hellipmy beef doneness tolerance is a little skewed considering I live among ranchers.)

Just remember to watch the meat thermometer! Again, it&rsquos your best friend.


How to Cook Prime Rib to a Perfectly Juicy Medium Rare

Prime rib, also known as standing rib roast, makes a show-stopping centerpiece at any special occasion. Whether roasted or grilled, this rich, full-flavored cut of beef needs little more than salt, pepper, and a few seasonings to be delicious. But what’s the best temperature to cook prime rib?

For optimal flavor and texture, cook prime rib to medium rare or an internal temperature of 130-135ଏ. Ideally, you want to remove the meat from the oven or grill when the temperature reaches 120-125ଏ (rare) and let it rest for about 20 to 30 minutes before slicing. This allows the meat to rise a few degrees in temperature to reach your preferred degree of doneness.

At this temperature, the meat is mostly pink with a deeper, nearly red center. Yes, the USDA advises cooking beef to a minimum of 145ଏ (i.e. well done) to prevent foodborne illness, but let’s face it𠅊 tough, gray steak or roast is straight-up unappealing. Source your meat from a butcher that you trust, however, and you can enjoy a rare or medium rare steak without worry.

I can’t stress this enough. When cooking large cuts of meat such as prime rib, a digital meat thermometer is your best friend. To get an accurate reading, insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. For smaller cuts like New York strip steak, you can get away with the touch test, but I don’t recommend using this method for prime rib at all.


Perfect Prime Rib

Prime rib, also referred to as standing rib roast, is a beautiful piece of meat. Whenever we need a truly show-stopping holiday roast, we turn to it. A well-cooked prime rib is juicy, full of flavor, and not at all difficult to make. Plus, it's impressive: You'll make your guests think you labored for hours, but it'll be your little secret that it was no sweat and really your oven did all the work.

How long do I have to cook prime rib?

Plan on about 15 to 20 minutes per pound. Keep in mind that the roast will continue cooking once it comes out of the oven. Follow these temperatures for when you'll want to remove the meat from the oven based on your desired doneness.


How do I cook a prime rib roast to medium rare?

Cooking a prime rib to medium rare is our preferred doneness&mdashit has a red, warm center. You'll want to remove the roast from the oven when its internal temperature reaches 110º, which for a 5lb roast should take about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Then, let it rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

How long do I cook a small prime rib roast?

A small, typically 5-pound roast will only take about 1 hour 30 minutes to cook.

How do I cook a prime rib roast in the oven?

You're going to want to cook your prime rib at two temperatures: first at the high heat of 450º, which will help get a nice sear on the outside of your meat and lock in its juices, and then at 350º to roast all the way through. Once you sear the meat at a high temp for 30 minutes, you reduce the heat and continue cooking until the meat thermometer reads 120º for medium.

Do I not need to season it with more than salt and pepper?!

Prime rib is such a fancy cut of meat that you don't need to do pretty much anything to it to make it taste delicious. But when we say season with salt and pepper, we mean it: You should be blanketing the meat with a thin layer of salt :)

How do I let a prime rib rest?

This is a very important step. You will be tempted to cut into the roast right away&mdashomg, the smell!&mdashbut letting the meat rest before slicing will make sure you don't lose all of its juices, and will ensure the roast increases in internal temperature. Simply transfer the meat to a cutting board and loosely tent it with foil. Let rest 15 to 20 minutes before slicing.


Are Their Flavors Different?

Because the prime rib and eye portions are similar pieces of meat coming from the same part of the cow, you’re not going to find significant differences in their flavor. They’re both filled with rich, beefy flavors thanks to their fat and muscle content. However, the prime rib typically contains more bone and fat, which might give it a slight edge over the eye in terms of flavor. Bone-in ribeye, though, also benefits from the natural flavoring that comes from being cooked with the bone, so its flavor doesn’t stray far from the prime rib.

You’ll notice the most significant flavoring differences in how you choose to cook a beef ribeye or prime rib. While most people enjoy the eye with a little bit of salt and pepper and a reverse sear with some olive oil, the prime rib gets a bit more experimental. From broil to sous vide with natural juices, the prime rib has several cooking options that can change up the flavor quite a bit.


The best approach to cooking a prime rib

A prime rib roast is an expensive cut of meat that you’re probably serving to a large group of guests for a special occasion. Based on what I’ve seen, I believe your best bet is to go with the tried and tested traditional approach. The 500 degree method works wonderfully for many people, but it fails quite a lot of people as well.

So if you’re looking to make your Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas table centrepiece a prime rib roast this year, the traditional approach will lead you to success, and it looks something like this:

  • Start your prime rib in a hot oven of 450-500°F (230-260°C) for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Then lower the temperature to 325°F (165°C) and cook it until the internal temperature is 120°F (49°C).
  • Rest it for 15 to 20 minutes for a perfect medium-rare finish (130°F/54°C).

And if you’re looking for some great sides to have with it, I’ve got a few reviews that might help: