Do You Leave The String On Prime Rib When Cooking?

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leave the string on prime rib when cooking

There are a lot of preferred cooking methods for prime rib; everyone and their Grandma has a family recipe. But, we’re here to debunk one thing and one thing only: whether or not you should leave the string on prime rib when cooking. 

Should You Leave The String On?

Yes, and this applies to both boneless and bone-in prime rib. Not only does leaving them on make for an easier cut, but the strings on your prime rib give you better-tasting meat. And for those looking to score presentation points, the string is your friend, and it will keep a symmetrical shape throughout the entire cooking process.  

Easy Cuts 

In the butcher’s shop, the strings run between the spaces of each rib bone and are formed simply by tying a knot to secure them in place. 

The strings—or ‘butcher’s twine’—help your prime rib cut keep its form as it cooks. Without a butcher’s twine or some form of string holding the cut together, your prime rib could very well lose its shape and make for a more challenging cut when serving. 

As prime rib cooks, expansion is a natural part of the preparation process, where the cut reacts to a heat source. The strings help keep the prime rib in place, as the butcher intended, while giving you an even roast with a polished presentation.

Most butchers only do a partial slice before wrapping the prime rib in string, which makes for an easier at-home cut once your prime rib has finished cooking. 

A Better Taste 

With the strings on, prime rib also offers a memorable, savory taste. The strings give you better tasting prime rib by keeping the fat and the juices intact. 

leaving the string on prime rib when cooking

The Fat — The strings help maintain the integrity of the prime rib’s fat and keep it all formed together. Fat adds flavor, and a rich, densely marbled prime rib cut with fatty pockets produces the top taste in Flavortown. 

The Juices — The strings allow the juices of the prime rib to cook inside the beef rather than dripping out into your roasting pan. This means that the strings help make sure that your prime rib won’t dry out; as always, cook on low heat for long periods to avoid a dry, tough prime rib.

Cooking With The Strings On 

Prime rib is the most illustrious cut of beef the humble cow has to offer. This mouthwatering beef is sourced from the 6th through the 13th rib. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) gives the prime allocation for exceptional flavor, fat, and juiciness and makes up only 2% of all steers. 

To get the most out of your prime rib, you’ll want to leave the strings on, and below, you’ll find some helpful do’s and don’ts before you begin your roast. 

  1. Trimming — Trim the fat or excess gristle around any areas of your prime rib if it is over 1 inch in thickness. Depending on how fatty you enjoy your cut, anything below 1 inch makes for the perfect, tender consistency and enhances your prime rib’s flavor. Aim for ¼ of an inch.

Chef Tip: Trimming is always best when done by a professional. You can request further trimming from any butcher shop before they tie the beef together. You’ll have a much easier time than worrying about carving the roast yourself and preserving the flavor the bones and fat provide. 

  1. Tying — If you’re tying your string at home without the butcher’s expertise, tie between the rib bones and include the chine bones at the bottom of the rib roast. Be sure to use a reputable butcher’s twine or other cooking twines made from 100% natural cotton.
  1. Seasoning — Before cooking, season with a generous amount of kosher salt and let it sit at room temperature for 3 hours. This allows your prime rib to cook more evenly while the salt is absorbed and strengthens your cut’s flavor. 

DON’T let your seasoning and/or kosher salt sit on your prime rib for more than 3 hours. The longer the salt sits, the more the salt will suck out the moisture of your cut, making your prime rib a dry, bland mess. 

DON’T cook cold meat. Cooking any meat when cold and/or frozen is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a chef. Without exposing your prime rib to room temperature, the outer layers will overcook, primarily because of the XL prime rib size. 


Place your prime rib in a roasting pan with the rib bones facing down and the fat side up. Begin by browning the prime rib roast at 500 degrees Fahrenheit or as high as your oven will go. Give it 15 minutes. 

leaving the string on prime rib when cooking

From there, reduce the heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and cook based on your preference; for rare, cook for 11-12 minutes per pound, or for medium rare, cook 13-15 minutes per pound. 

Once your beef has reached an internal temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit, you can remove it from the oven. For rare to medium rare prime rib, you can eat it at 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit with little to no risk, according to the USDA.

After removing it from the oven, let your prime rib rest, covered in foil, for 15-30 minutes before carving. Resting your roast makes sure you get the juiciest cut possible; finger-licking good. 

Once your prime rib has rested, you can remove the strings and begin carving. Be careful when cutting, as the internal temperature of the beef will continue to rise, keeping it nice and steamy up until dinner time. 


Why Does Prime Rib Have A String? 

Prime rib has a string to maintain the most desirable shape, making it a better cut with an even cook and with pristine presentation. This also makes it easier to achieve rare or medium rare because the meat is held together tightly, making it harder for heat to penetrate.  

Is Prime Rib Better With The String On Or String Off?

Yes, prime rib is better with the string on because the string preserves the fat and the juices of the cut, all the flavors, and textures that make prime rib special. If you enjoy carving the roast for your family, then a string is necessary so you can get even slices that are cooked all the way through.  

Is Cooking Twine The Only Acceptable String? 

The best and safest way to tie your prime rib is by using a certified butcher’s or cooking twine that’s made from 100% natural cotton. This is the favored material for cooking twine as it is strong enough to stand high temperatures and keep the ribs intact while not melting or imparting any flavors onto your meat. 

Final Thoughts

Prime rib is a premium cut of beef with a delicious tenderness and succulent taste. This is one of the most expensive cuts of beef money can buy and is sure to leave any and all tongues wagging. 

For this expensive beef cut, there is no margin for error, and a sub-par or poor cook could ruin this impressive dish. For the best-tasting prime rib, chefs and amateur grillers everywhere agree that you should cook with the strings tied securely.

Darren Wayland Avatar


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