Roasting prime rib at 350 degrees is called ‘hot and fast roasting’ in the BBQ community. Temperatures in this range are screaming hot when it comes to smoking a rib roast, but it can be done quite successfully. Here, we’ll discuss the advantages and cautions of how long to cook a prime rib at 350 degrees.
How Long to Cook Prime Rib at 350?
Prime rib will take 11 to 18 minutes per pound to cook at 350 degrees. For example, a rib roast that weighs 5 pounds will be done in 1 to 1.5 hours. This is an excellent method to use if you’re pressed for time or using a hotter burning wood like mesquite.
A Word About Delicious Prime Rib
Prime rib has been a holiday meal tradition for many families around the globe, at least since the early 20th century. This primal cut of beef is typically well-marbled and very tender when cooked properly. The high-fat content of prime rib adds to the delectable flavor of the meat.
Supermarkets and butchers will often sell rib roast with the rib bones removed. This is referred to as a standing rib roast or a boneless rib roast. We suggest a bone-in prime rib roast when cooking at 350 degrees. The bones create a buffer to protect the meat from overcooking.
Preparing A Roast For The Smoker
Planning ahead is essential when smoking any meat, and prime rib is no exception. To start, you should set the thawed prime rib at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours. Doing this will allow the center of the roast to cook more evenly with the outer portions.
A popular method of preparing prime rib is to cut away the rib bones before cooking. Then tie the bone section back onto the roast with kitchen twine. Removing the rib bones before cooking makes carving easier after the rib roast is fully cooked. And cooking the roast with bones tightly attached gives you the benefit of added flavor and a heat buffer.
Unlike brisket, you don’t need a thick layer of fat on prime rib. Fat on the top of the roast should be trimmed to less than 0.25 inches. You need just enough to provide protection from the heat and render down into the meat.
Generously season the rib roast with a BBQ rub, kosher salt, or any blend you enjoy. Rubs containing sugar should be avoided when smoking prime rib at 350 degrees. The sugar in these seasonings will caramelize and take on a bitter taste at high temperatures. Also, consider that less is more when it comes to ingredients that could overpower the natural flavor of prime rib.
Don’t Forget the Sear
Searing meat is simply cooking the outside surfaces on high heat to give it a crispness. Many pitmasters will sear a prime rib in an iron skillet on the stove prior to adding it to the smoker. You can also sear the rib roast on your smoker or grill at 450 to 500 degrees for a couple of minutes on each side to get the desired crust or bark.
Reverse searing is more common when smoking meat at 350 degrees—reverse searing means searing the meat after it’s cooked rather than beforehand. Increase the heat to searing temperatures when the internal temperature of the rib roast is 15 to 18 degrees below your target temperature. Then turn the roast every 2 to 3 minutes to crisp each side.
Another method of reverse searing is pan searing in that beloved cast iron skillet. The downside to reverse searing in a skillet is that the roast may lose its gorgeous grill marks. This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re not aiming for a 5-star presentation.
Smoking Prime Rib Roast
Smoking rib roast at high temperatures presents less risk of overcooking versus using a grill. Don’t worry if you don’t have a smoker, though. A grill with enough surface area to create a hot side and a cool side will do just fine. Cooking the prime rib directly over flames should be avoided.
Preheat your smoker to 350 degrees using charcoal or your choice of grilling wood. Some wood species burn hotter than others, and the dryer the wood, the hotter it burns. We enjoy well-seasoned hardwoods like hickory or oak with a small amount of mesquite for an easy cooking session.
Set the prime rib away from the smoker’s heat source to prevent overcooking it. The best way to monitor progress is to use a meat thermometer. The tip of the thermometer probe should land in the center area of the roast and away from the bones. This will give you the most accurate reading.
Smoking prime rib at 350 degrees means you won’t have to burn as much wood to maintain heat for the duration of your cooking. The rib roast could reach the target temperature in as little as 1 hour! An offset smoker can easily stay at this temperature for up to 1.5 hours with just 2 or 3 logs.
Are You Cooking In The Cold?
Running a smoker at high heat in cold weather can sometimes be challenging. Draping a welding blanket over the cooking chamber can help trap some of the heat if you find yourself in this situation. Blowing a fan into the firebox vent can also keep the temperature up so that your prime rib is cooked on time.
Prime Rib Target Temperature
Your cue to remove the prime rib from the smoker is an internal temperature of 124 to 129 degrees. Pulling the rib roast at this point will yield a medium rare finish. Allow the roast to rest for 25 to 30 minutes before serving.
The internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees as the meat rests, and the outside will cool slightly. Tenting the rib roast after 10 minutes of resting is a good idea to maintain some heat. However, covering the roast essentially steams the bark and will cause it to soften. So, if you like a crisp bark, let it rest a bit longer in the open air.
Keep an eye on the meat thermometer while the roast is resting. The prime rib is ready to slice and serve once the internal temperature climbs to 130 to 135 degrees.
Slice, Serve and Enjoy
The rib bones should be removed prior to slicing the roast. Cut the twine with kitchen shears and save the bones for recipes later. Prime rib can be served as thin or thick slices of up to ½ inch. Pro tip: try serving the prime rib on a warm plate, so you have time to relish the richness of the meat!
Smoking prime rib at the high temperature of 350 degrees requires more attention during the cooking phase, but it can be a great time saver. Closely monitoring a calibrated meat thermometer will help you know when to pull the roast at just the right time. As a bonus, you can garnish the prime rib with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary for a colorful and impressive presentation.
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!