Never underestimate the power of learning How to Smoke Prime Rib for your family and friends this holiday season. Your guests will be shocked to hear how easy it is to make this jaw dropping holiday classic.
When you are looking for a dramatic centerpiece for your holiday dinner table, nothing beats a rib roast, with its tender, juicy meat that cuts with a fork. Match that with a big pan of potatoes, roasted veggies and a gorgeous salad and there is nothing that can comes close.
🍽️ Why This Works
Simple | It takes just a few simple steps to master this holiday classic on your own smoker.
Easy | Once you prep the roast and place it on the smoker, it’s all hands off and you are able to walk away without having to worry too much.
Great for Entertaining | This will be the showstopper at any holiday table. If you are even the slightest bit worried having guests, this is the recipe that you can focus your energy on the side dishes or making amazing cocktails to wow everyone.
Prime Rib | We used a boneless prime rib from the butcher. You are looking for a nice red roast that has a lot of marbling to create that amazing flavor.
Prime Grade vs Choice Grade – For the ultimate results, choose the prime grade roast when smoking. It is going to have the best marbling which results in it being more tender and packed with flavor. If you chose a grass fed prime rib, it will have less marbling but still maintains excellent flavor. Choice Grade is 50% of all beef found in grocery stores and will have less marbling. Choice beef will cost $1-4 per pound less than Prime.
Spices & Seasonings | This recipe is so flexible that using the rub created here or choosing an old family favorite to adapt will work out equally well. The spices we chose are pantry staples: black pepper, kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder and dried rosemary.
Creamy Bacon Horseradish Sauce
Prepared Horseradish | This is the horseradish with vinegar, salt and sugar all combined. Make sure to pick this one up and not horseradish sauce which has a dairy like sour cream, mayonnaise or heavy cream. If you have never purchased this before, you will find it next to the other condiments in a glass or plastic container.
Worcestershire | This liquid is found near the vinegars and is made up of vinegar, molasses, anchovies, chili pepper and other “ingredients.”
Bacon | This is an optional add-in that is so fun to have in the horseradish sauce. Since it is optional, use as little as you like or not at all. Our original horseradish sauce we’ve been making for years is the same recipe without the bacon. It doesn’t matter if you have thick or thin bacon, just chop it up pretty small.
Chives | These little mild onion tasting herbs are great to add to recipes when you want an onion taste but in a toned down manner. They are the long, thin green herbs that are cousins to the green onions.
Step One: Combine all the rub ingredients together in a bowl and stir. You will use about two tablespoons of this mixture for your roast.
Step Two: Remove the packaging from the roast. Dry off any excess moisture. Tie the roast across the thick center 2-3 times and along the long side once. This will keep it nice and together on the grill.
Step Three: Sprinkle about two tablespoons of the rub on all sides of the roast. A larger roast may require a bit more rub. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
Step Four: Heat up the smoker to 225-250 degrees on indirect heat. Remove the roast from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature while the grill is heating up.
Step Five: Once the smoker is up to temperature, place the roast on the grill grate and insert your temperature probe to monitor the internal temps. If your roast has bones, make sure the probes don’t touch the bones.
Step Six: Cook until the internal temperature is 125 and remove from the grill. If using a plate setter, remove it and bring grill temperature up to 400-425 degrees to sear the exterior of the meat.
Step Seven: Once the grill is up to 400-425 degrees, place the roast back on the grill and sear all sides of the exterior until the internal temperature reaches your desired level. Remove roast and tent it to allow the juices to stay in the roast for 15-30 minutes.
Step One: Combine all the ingredients into a bowl and stir. Place this in the refrigerator for two hours prior to serving to allow the flavors to combine. This recipe is similar to the Chive Dip we use for the Tater Tot Bombs.
Don’t overcook the meat for those leftovers! Everything you need to know to reheat prime rib can be found here.
❗ Expert Tips
If you don’t have chives but have green onions, simply substitute one tbsp of green onions (scallions) = 1 one tbsp chives.
The bacon in the horseradish sauce is completely optional. It will make the sauce super thick but it is such a great add in. When using bacon, remember the type of bacon chosen will influence the flavor of the this sauce.
Always choose the wood based on the meat and people that you are serving. For long smoked red meats, hickory and mesquite are common, but that doesn’t mean you have to go that route. Check the Wood Smoking Cheatsheet to determine the optimal types of smoke for your cut of meat.
Always allow the meat to rest 15-30 minutes on the counter before slicing and serving.
You can still smoke this but NOT using it risks that your meat will not have a uniform shape or cook evenly.
Almost all grocery stores have it in their kitchen section. We bought ours at Walmart. If choosing to cook this during the holidays, it will be harder to find the closer you get to the holiday. During the holidays, check the holiday cooking displays at grocery stores as they tend to move it there. Once you start using the twine you will find you use it all the time as we have tying the meat in Smoked Pork Crown and Smoked Chuck Roast or even wrapping Salmon in Cedar Wraps.
Look to have one pound of meat for each person – which sounds like a lot. There will be excess fat cut off and dripping lost. Plus everyone will want their fair share.
Timing target ESTIMATE 30-35 minutes per pound if smoking at 225. This is an estimate for timing and works pretty solid at a smaller roast. When the roast gets upwards of 14+ pounds, it is also longer so the timing doesn’t work. Always use the temperature probe as this is a great example where the time/pound just won’t work out.
Use a thermometer like the ones we use to determine the finished temperature. Don’t just rely on the time. Poke the probe deep into the roast and target the following temperatures: Medium Rare – 135, Medium – 145, Medium Well -150 according to Certified Angus Beef. USDA and Foodsafety.gov both recommend beef be cooked to a minimum of 145 degrees. Also remember that the ends will get done faster than the middle.
We seared on the grill grate, but you can sear it on a cast iron skillet too. If you choose to use the oven, you can broil it until it is crispy on the outside to the desired doneness.
No, you don’t need to unless it gets too dark but that is unlikely to happen. Foil tenting is generally just during the resting phase.
You can, but remember that when this is done, the outer crust is built and the smoke has a hard time penetrating to the inside. If you really want to sear first, I would just grill the meat rather than smoke the meat.
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How to Smoke a Prime Rib
- 5 lb Prime Rib Roast
Rib Roast Rub
- 3 tbsp Kosher Salt
- 3 tbsp Black Pepper coarse grind
- 1 tbsp Onion Powder
- 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Rosemary
Sour Cream Bacon Horseradish Sauce
- 4 slices Bacon cooked, chopped
- 1 cup Sour Cream
- ¼ cup Prepared Horseradish
- 1 tsp Worcestershire
- 1 tbsp Chives chopped
Prime Rib Rub
- Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and stir. You will use about 2 tbsp of this mixture for your roast.
Sour Cream Horseradish Sauce
- Combine all the ingredients into a bowl and stir. Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours prior to serving to allow the flavors to combine.
Smoked Prime Rib Roast
- Remove the packaging from the roast. Dry off any excess moisture. Tie the roast across the thicker center 2-3 times and along the long side once. This will keep it nice and together on the grill.
- Using the Prime Rib Roast from above, sprinkle about 2 tbsp of the rub on all sides of the roast. Larger roast may require a bit more. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
- Heat up the smoker to 225-250 degree on indirect heat. Remove the roast from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature while the grill is heating up.
- Once the smoker is up to temperature, place the roast FATTY SIDE UP on the grill grates and insert your temperature probe to monitor the internal temperature. If your roast has bones, make sure it is not touching the bones.
- Cook until the internal temperature is 125 degrees and remove from the grill. If using a place setter, remove and bring grill temperature up to 400-425 degrees to sear the exterior of the meat.
- Once the grill is up to 400-425, place the roast back on the grill to sear all sides of the exterior until the internal temperature reaches your desired level. Remove roast and tent it to allow the juices to stay in the roast for 15-30 minutes.