Welcome from Austin, Texas! Each year we get together and have Friendsgiving out at the ranch and cook up a Smoked Prime Rib. Our favorite thing to cook is huge cuts of meat, from Beef to the whole hog to wild game. Cooking a Traditional Texas Smoked Prime Rib in a smoker is not hard if you follow the steps outlined today in this article.
The first thing you want to do is plan for the day of the Smoked Prime Rib. Finding a good supplier for a large piece of meat like a 7 Bone-In Prime Rib might prove to be a challenge. Call around to your local butcher shops for help.
⬇️ Table of Contents
When you hear the term Texas Style, that means simplicity and staying true to the ingredients and cooking method. Today we are smoking a prime rib. This cut of beef is so good it doesn't need much help in the seasoning department; just salt, black pepper, and quality smoke from the wood.
- Bone-In Prime Rib 4 to 7 Bone-In / Quality: buy the best which is USDA Prime, Prime Rib
- Black Pepper Fresh Cracked - 4 Tablespoons
- Sea Salt - 4 Tablespoons
- Olive Oil - 4 Tablespoons (could use peanut oil)
🔪 Smoked Prime Rib
- BBQ Pit Temperature should be 250 degrees. You can start at a higher temperature, around 325, but lower it back down as the fire burns to about 250 degrees.
- Right before you take the Prime Rib over to the smoker, make sure you have enough wood to last the cooking duration. Our 7 bone roast took 4 hours to reach an internal temperature of 125 (Medium rare, closers to rare). This offers the most tender experience.
- Light the Fire🔥: Use a starter mix of charcoal and wood. Add charcoal (20-30 pieces) in a pile in the smoker box. Using small pieces of wood to help start. Cook the fire down to hot coals. The charcoal will burn down to red hot coals. This will be the base of the fire and easy to manage. Smoking Prime Rib for hours requires a solid bed of coals.
- Right before the meat goes on, place one piece of wood lengthwise in the smoker-box, right on top of the coals.
- Standard Smoker Firebox: use logs 18 inches by 6 inches or larger. This sized log burns for 40 minutes, then add a new one right on top after 40 mins. Move the coals side to side to make a new bed in the middle for the new log, if needed. Keep the coals close together.
- The bed of coals will slowly cook down the piece of wood while smoking the meat.
💭 Tips For Prime Rib
- Plan on spending around $100 to $300 on a large 5 to 7 Bone-In USDA Prime, Prime Rib. This will feed around 20 people. @ $200 equals $10 a person. You can not eat out this good on Prime Rib for $10 a person. Win/Win
- Call around to your local butcher shops or quality grocery stores and talk with them about the big day. Please find out how far in advance they require you to call to place your order.
- Be sure to pick up the meat the day before the event. Do not wait until the day of, or you risk disappointment.
- Prep Option One: Salt and pepper the meat the night before. If you choose to do this, it will add a thicker finished "crust" to the outside of the prime rib roast. #bark
- Prep Option Two: Salt and pepper the meat when you take the prime rib out of the refrigerator, then salt again right before it's time to begin cooking.
- The meat needs to be close to room temperature before placing it on the BBQ Pit/Smoker. This takes around an hour. There are zero health/food handling issues with beef sitting out on your counter for an hour. Just cover it with a towel or plastic wrap.
Video: Smoked Prime Rib In Smoker
🪓 Best Wood To Smoke Prime Rib
It all comes down to flavor, and different types of wood will play a leading role in the flavor profile. There are strong flavor woods and mild-flavored woods.
Living in the BBQ Brisket capital of the world, Texas, there is only one wood. That being Post Oak Wood. It has an excellent smoke flavor that doesn't take over the Prime Rib.
Strong Flavor Woods
Milder Flavor Woods
- Post Oak
- White Oak
🥘 Selecting the Perfect Prime Rib Roast
- Look for excellent marbling; see in the photo below the grade quality of the beef. Higher marbling equals more flavor. Remember, fat is flavor.
- Prime rib roasts usually come already trussed with butcher's string.
Prime Rib Beef Selections USDA
There are three main USDA grading categories when it comes to purchasing beef. Each has very different taste profiles.
The Standard Three USDA Grades of Beef
- Prime Beef is the most tender and delicious type of meat. It comes from young, well-fed cattle with large amounts of marbling (the amount of fat interspersed with lean). This makes it excellent for dry heat cooking such as broiling, roasting, or grilling.
- Choice Beef is a quality grade of beef called choice. It has less marbling than prime, but you will still be able to enjoy tender juicy cuts with dry heat cooking methods like braising or roasting if that's what you prefer!
- Select Beef is a grade of meat. It has less fat than higher grades and can be leaner in some cuts, but since it lacks marbling, these steaks may lack juiciness or flavor when cooked with dry heat. Braised dishes will result in more tender food to get maximum tenderness from select pieces!
Grading quality information above is straight from the USDA's website: https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2013/01/28/whats-your-beef-prime-choice-or-select
⌛ Prime Rib Cook Time
Use a meat thermometer to make sure you get the perfect doneness. The chart is the internal target temperature range for doneness.
|Prime Rib Doneness||Internal Doneness Temperatures|
|Rare/Blue||120-125 F (48-51C)|
|Medium Rare||125-130 F (51-54C)|
|Medium||130-135 F (54-57)|
|Medium Well||135-140 F (57-60C)|
|Well Done||140-155 F (60-68C)|
Serving Size of Prime Rib Per Person
The rule, half of a pound per adult. If you end up with leftovers, you did a great job. No one wants to be shorted on delicious Prime Rib.
What Size Prime Rib Should I Buy?
2 Bone-In (3 pound) Roast = 3 to 5 Adults
4 Bone-In (6 pound) Roast = 8 to 10 Adults
7 Bone-In (12 Pound) Roast - 17 to 20 Adults
📖 Recipe Card
- Bone-In Prime Rib (4 to 7 Bone-In / Buy USDA Prime, Prime Rib) 1 roast
- Fresh Cracked Black Pepper 4 Tablespoons
- Sea Salt 4 Tablespoons
- Olive Oil 4 Tablespoons
How To Make a Prime Rib In Smoker
- Prime Rib Roast PrepRemove the prime rib from the refrigerator and place it on the counter to take the chill off the meat. About one hour. You do not want to add a cold piece of meat to a hot fire. Allow the meat to come close to room temperature. It's ok if it still has a small chill when you start smoking the prime rib, but not too much of a chill.
- And please do not inject this high-quality cut of meat. That's reserved for cheap cuts of meat.If you must inject, inject with simple high-quality butter.Amature hour: using beef stock #never
Looking For More Seasoning?
- The Texas way is simple. We use 3 ingredients, black pepper, sea and the smoke from the wood. Creates perfection.Other Seasoning Options=1) Add Herbes de Provence = Italian HerbsIncludes: - Rosemary- Thyme - Marjoram - Savory - Oregano2) Cumin: toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan, then fresh grind the cumin. Do not use a lot. 3) Garlic SaltDo Not Use Onion Powder, instead add sliced onion to the water tray inside of the smoker.
BBQ Smoker Setup & Instructions
- Build a fire at least 30 minutes before you begin smoking the Prime Rib. You want to create a bed of hot coals. Bring the fire in the smoker up to a Pit temperature of 250 degrees.At the end of the smoker with the firebox, place a water bath on the grill grate at that end of the smoker. That is the usual way, but a large prime rib and a water bath will not fit some smokers. In this case, place the water bath underneath the grill grate at the end closest to the firebox.You can add sliced garlic and onion to the water bath to infuse added flavor into the smoker's smoke.
Building The Fire
- Light the Fire🔥: Use a starter mix of charcoal and wood. In the smoker box, add charcoal (20-30 pieces) into a pile. Using small pieces of wood to help start. Cook the fire down to hot coals. The charcoal will burn down to red hot coals. This will be the base of the fire and easy to manage.Smoking Prime Rib for hours requires and solid bed of coals. This is the key to success. Right before the meat goes on, place one piece of wood lengthwise in the smoker-box, right on top of the coals.Standard Smoker Firebox: use logs 18 inches by 6 inches or larger. The log burns for around 40 minutes, then add a new one right on top. Move the coals side to side to make a new bed in the middle for the new log, if needed. Keep the coals close together.The bed of coals slowly cooks down the log while smoking the meat.
What Temperature Is Prime Rib Done?
- Smoke the Prime Rib at 250 degrees F / 121 C Rare/Blue 120-125 F (48-51C)Medium Rare 125-130 F (51-54C)Medium 130-135 F (54-57)Medium Well 135-140 F (57-60C)Well Done 140-155 F (60-68C)
- Once out of the smoker, the prime rib roast will continue to increase the internal temperature while it rests. But only a few degrees, given your fire was well controlled and not too hot. Rest for a minimum of 20 minutes so the juices can redistribute, covered with aluminum foil.Tip: Do Not Cut Into The Prime Rib Until After Resting The Meat
- Going The Extra Mile = Dry Aging the Prime Rib...
- Start with room temperature Prime Rib
- Large cuts of beef can handle a good amount of salt, so don't hold back
- Resting the Prime Rib is very important to moist juicy Prime Rib
- Slicing: Use a Chef knife, or better yet a serrated knife
- Try to avoid buying "Select" grade beef, and buy "Prime or "Choice" beef