Prime Rib Cooking Too Fast? Here’s How You Can Save It

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prime rib cooking too fast

Cooking a prime rib is an event that we don’t get to enjoy very often. With the price of prime rib and its demanding cooking procedure, you really have to be prepared when you want to indulge in this delicious cut of beef. I know you want to eat right away but this isn’t fast food, don’t cook it too fast!

The Best Way To Stop Your Prime Rib From Cooking Too Fast

Keep your cooking temperature low from the start. If you find your prime rib is not cooking fast enough, it’s easier to speed it up than slow it down. Increasing the temperature slowly over time will also help you develop a nice crust and great color on the outside.  

Methods To Save Your Prime Rib Roast

Don’t worry; we got you covered if cook time is speeding up. There’s more than one solution to save your prime rib… 

Lower Smoker/Oven Temperature

This method can be used if you catch the problem at the right time. Constant temperature checks should be the standard; this will let you know if your prime rib is cooking too fast. 

If you find that your internal temperature has made a jump and you fear it will continue on that trend, lower the temperature by 20-50 degrees. This will allow the meat to relax and add some time to your overall cook. 

Hold In Oven Or Cooler

If you have already cooked your prime rib to your desired internal temperature but are not ready to serve, you can hold it for a couple of hours.

prime rib cooking too fast

If your meat is already at its finished internal temperature, let it rest outside the oven for about 20 minutes just to stop the cooking process. Wrap in tin foil, cover with tea towels and keep it in a dry cooler. The residual heat will remain for a few hours until you’re ready to slice. 

If your meat is not entirely at its done temperature, you can take it out a bit early and wrap it right away. It will continue cooking while wrapped and stored in a dry cooler. This will keep the roast hot for longer than if you pulled it at its done temperature.

Reset Meat Probe

Sometimes, meat thermometers—like the weatherman—are not as accurate as we would like them to be. They don’t always reflect what is happening on the inside, so we always suggest moving it around now and then. 

Keeping your meat probe in the same spot for the first 75% of the cook is fine. However, towards the end, you want to be sure you’re pulling at the right time so checking multiple sections of the cut is crucial. The bigger your roast is, the more places you want to check. 

Pro Tip: Ensure your thermometer never touches bone; this will provide inaccurate reading and cause you to pull your roast way too soon. 

Check Your Oven’s Temperature

If you’re using an old oven or a beat-up smoker, then it’s never a bad idea to get a second opinion on the temperature of your cooking environment. Ensure you have a trustworthy thermometer and check to see if the temp inside matches the temp you have set.

You can check your thermometer by filling a glass with ice and water. Put the needle end of the thermometer in and confirm that it reads 32°F or just above 0°C. If not, adjust your thermometer so that it displays this temperature.   

Why Is Cooking Prime Rib Too Fast Bad?

Prime rib is such a unique cut of meat that it requires a deft touch in the kitchen to bring out its best qualities. One of those qualities is the fat content and marbling. If fat is cooked too fast, it seizes up and becomes tough and nearly impossible to chew

Low heat and slow cooking is the perfect environment to melt the fat slowly so it can be reabsorbed into the meat. This is what gives prime rib its exquisite taste and texture. 

Cooking too fast will also throw off your timing for the rest of your meal. More often than not, prime rib is made to be shared with family and friends during special occasions. It goes great with a medley of seasonal veggies and artisanal bread. Since prime rib is the star of the show, you don’t want to serve it cold or overcooked.   

Optimal Cooking Times For Prime Rib

# Of RibsWeightCooking Temp.Estimated Time*
38 lbs.325°F90 mins
410 lbs.325°F130 mins
512 lbs.325°F165 mins
615 lbs.325°F195 mins

*All times are estimated, and you should refer to your internal meat thermometer at all times

Why Is Prime Rib Different From Other Cuts?

Prime rib comes from a very specific rib section of the cow, and because of this, there is not much of it in each animal. It has the texture of a steak but the flavor of something much fattier. 

prime rib cooking too fast

The optimal serving method is to slice it thick, Fred Flintstone style, so each person gets a portion from the middle and outside. It’s not made to be shredded or pulled because its final cook temperature is much lower than a brisket or pork shoulder. 

Prime Rib vs. Brisket

Brisket has a lot more connective tissue that takes time to break down. While prime rib has excellent marbling, it’s a much leaner cut and therefore more tender at a lower temperature. Brisket is usually served sliced but can also be chopped up for tacos, nachos, and sandwiches. 

Prime Rib vs. Pork Shoulder 

Pork shoulder is similar to brisket, but it has less connective tissue and higher fat content. It needs low and slow cooking to render all the fat and ensure the meat soaks it back up again. With proper pork shoulder, it’s impossible to slice. Sliced pork shoulder means it’s not done yet. 

Prime Rib vs. Whole Chicken

Cooking whole chicken is much more challenging because there are different kinds of meat within one chicken and many different-sized bones that will disperse heat efficiently. We recommend breaking down your chicken to separate the white meat from the dark meat. A prime rib is one type of meat that must be cooked the same way throughout. Although bigger and has a smaller margin of error, prime rib is more straightforward to cook than a whole chicken.   


Can You Cook Prime Rib From Frozen?

No, you cannot cook prime rib from a frozen state because it will not cook evenly. This has to do with the cut more so than the meat. You can cook individual steaks from frozen since the heat will be able to penetrate the meat quicker than with a larger cut. Always defrost your prime rib and other large cuts in the fridge overnight before cooking.  

What Are Great Sides To Go With Prime Rib?

Some great sides to go with your prime rib include potatoes and vegetables. Roasted or mashed potatoes are most popular, but french fries may be preferred if you have younger people joining you. Since you’re already roasting a prime rib, why not roast some vegetables? Carrot, cauliflower, or asparagus will be crowd-pleasers, but any root vegetable will complement prime rib beautifully.

Is It Better To Cook Prime Rib In The Oven or The Smoker?

It is better to cook prime rib in the oven because you will have more control over the temperature and will ensure that you cook it properly. However, the smoker will add a new flavor profile that can only be achieved with wood and fire. If you have made prime ribs before, try the smoker to see if the smoky taste elevates your prime rib or just creates too much work. 

Final Thoughts

Prime rib is a prized and savory cut of meat. It’s very common for people to cook their prime rib too fast because they think it will take longer than it does. Treat this as a steak, and be ready to pull it off the heat once you’ve reached your desired internal temperature. With this cut of meat, it’s always better to pull it off too early rather than too late. 

Don’t forget to save me a couple of slices.

Darren Wayland Avatar


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