Prime rib is a delicacy and should be cooked with care at low temperatures. But what if you’re short on time or your smoker tends to cook too hot? Learning how to cook prime rib at 300 degrees is entirely possible.
How Long to Cook Prime Rib at 300?
Is cooking at 300 degrees low and slow, or hot and fast? At 15 to 20 minutes per pound, it will take 1 to 2 hours to cook a prime rib at 300 degrees.
It’s actually right between low and slow and hot and fast and can go either way, depending on who you ask. Smoking prime rib at 300 degrees is an excellent middle ground regardless of how the method is classified.
A typical store-bought prime rib roast weighs about 5 pounds. That’s enough roast to feed a family of 5.
Is Prime Rib Prime Beef?
The name prime rib refers to the section of the cow it’s taken from, not the quality grading by the USDA. Meat grading considers several factors, such as fat marbling and the age of the steer. That being said, you can get a prime rib that is graded choice, select or prime.
There are 8 primal cuts of beef, one of them being prime rib. That simply means it’s the first part of the rib to be cut in the butchering process. Prime rib roast comes from the back upper section of ribs closest to the loin.
Beef from the loin section is more tender than beef from other muscle groups. Prime rib falls into the same category as the loin. The prime rib roast is a delightfully tender cut when it’s cooked properly.
Choosing the Right Prime Rib
Prime rib can be purchased either as a bone-in or a boneless rib roast. It’s commonly called a standing rib roast when the rib bones have already been removed. A bone-in prime rib roast is the better option when cooking at a higher temperature of 300 degrees.
Why Would You Want To Buy A Bone-In Rib Roast If You’re Going To Cut Off The Ribs Anyway?
- The ribs should be tied tightly back to the roast for twofold reasons. First, tightly tying the roast will compress the meat, which helps it cook more evenly. Secondly, the extra thickness will act as a buffer to shield the meat from overcooking.
- Another reason you may want to cut the bones beforehand is to reduce the amount of work necessary after the prime rib is cooked. The meat will be scorching hot at that stage. You’ll want to handle the roast as little as possible.
- Prime rib cooks best when it’s set out at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours before cooking. Starting to cook from an elevated temperature will help it heat at the same rate throughout the roast. It’s the perfect time to season the prime rib during the sitting phase.
- Season the rib roast with any premade mix you like, or you can cover it with plain salt and pepper. The seasoning should sit for at least 2 hours to allow moisture from the meat to dissolve the salt and absorb it into the roast.
Take Your Prime Rib To The Next Level
Cooking rib roast for 15 to 20 minutes per pound will get you in the ballpark, but you’ll need more help than that to land the perfect finish. Prime rib is at its most tender when it’s cooked to medium rare, with an internal temperature of 130 to 135 degrees. Keep in mind that the meat will continue to cook an additional 5 to 10 degrees while it’s resting.
Crank up the heat on your smoker to 450 to 500 degrees to sear the prime rib. You’ll know it’s seared enough on each side when it sizzles for 1 or 2 minutes. A nicely seared bark will balance well with the bold taste of the medium rare beef.
Reduce the heat in your smoker down to 300 degrees as soon as you’re satisfied with the searing. Place the prime rib in the middle of the smoker and let the fire do the work for you. It should be easygoing for the next 1 or 2 hours!
Whether to cook a brisket fat side up or fat side down is an age-old debate. However, the general consensus is to cook it fat side up when it comes to prime rib. The fat on top will melt into the meat as it cooks. And fat, of course, is flavor. Another added benefit with the fat side up is having the rib bones under the roast to protect it from overcooking.
When to Pull the Roast
It’s difficult to know precisely when to pull the prime rib from the smoker unless you check the internal temperature using a calibrated meat thermometer.
The meat thermometer, or temperature probe, will show you precisely when to remove the rib roast from the smoker. Keep a close watch on the internal temperature as it gets closer to the target range.
Other types of roast may need to rest for a long time, but prime rib should only rest for no more than 30 minutes. That’s because rib roast is meant to be served medium rare with a lower internal temperature. It doesn’t require as much time to reabsorb some of the juices or cool off on the surface.
How to Slice Prime Rib
After the prime rib is done resting, snip the kitchen twine holding the rib bone portion to the roast. Set the bones aside and save them for later. There are plenty of uses for them.
Rib roast should be sliced from top to bottom using a long meat-slicing knife. Slices up to half an inch thick are standard for this cut. Try serving the prime rib on a warm plate for the best experience.
What Type of Wood Should You Use?
Mild-flavored hardwoods are best when smoking a prime rib. Fruit woods such as cherry or apple will add a sweetness that many people don’t care for in beef. Mesquite can also quickly overpower the flavor of the beef and burns hotter than most grilling wood species.
The most common woods are maple, oak, and hickory, depending on availability and region. Lump charcoal is an even burning fuel that can maintain temperatures of 300 degrees or more.
Can You Reverse Sear Prime Rib?
Yes, you can reverse sear prime rib when cooking at 300 degrees. Common methods include pan searing and transferring the roast to a grill on high heat as soon as possible after smoking. Reverse searing is otherwise accomplished the same way as searing beforehand.
Can I Cook a Rare Prime Rib?
Yes, prime rib can be cooked to rare by bringing it to an internal temperature of 120 to 125 degrees. However, food regulators advise against consuming raw or undercooked meat. This is where bacteria is born and can cause a very unpleasant sickness for a few days.
Can I Freeze Leftover Rib Roast?
Yes, you can freeze leftovers for up to 6 months. Completely thaw leftover prime rib in the refrigerator or microwave before reheating. If done correctly, neither you nor your guests will know the prime rib was ever frozen. You can still achieve a juicy and tender prime rib as long as you’re patient with the defrosting process.
The Bottom Line
Smoking prime rib at 300 degrees is a nice mid-range temperature that’s easy to manage. If you give it the attention it needs, your prime rib dinner will go off without a hitch. The only problem you’ll have is that your family and guests will want you to make prime rib more often, so be sure they bring some good side dishes!
Hi there! I’m Darren Wayland, your BBQHost. My love of great barbecue inspired me to curate this site as a resource for all my like-minded fellow pitmasters out there. When I’m not researching and learning all I can about the latest tips and techniques, you can find me at the grill—that is, if you can spot me at all through the clouds of sweet-smelling smoke. And since you asked, yes, that probably is barbecue sauce on my face. Welcome to the party!