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Prime rib - please talk me off the ledge ;D

Awwphooey

Newbie
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Joined Nov 10, 2020
Hey Everyone-

Read through the great prime rib threads here, thanks so much for the information! Have a couple of questions; but first my tale of woe. It’s a little long, really just intended to put a smile on your face and get a laugh at my expense.

First of all, this is a safe space right? I'm a complete newbie and what I'm about to share is a bit embarrassing, so go easy on the teasing!

So as I posted in my intro, purchased an Oklahoma Joe Highlander offset smoker a few weeks ago. Installed all of the basic mods I saw on you tube: lavalock gasket seal, silicone grommet on cold side for probes, clamps for each side of lid. Purchased a SS firebox basket, a Maverick XR-50 with 4 probes, and a tuning plate (though I'm not sure that's made a lick of difference, closest I've been able to do with temp equilibration is 30 degrees difference between firebox and cold side. Seems I can do that just as well without the plate).

So far I've done two 4-5 pound tri-tips (separate occasions), both coated with Sana Maria seasoning. Used Lump Charcoal and Applewood chunks. The first one came out pretty respectable. Found the sweet spot of 225⁰, 2.5 hours, got it to 125⁰ internal, took it off, seared it in the firebox side over the grate 5 minutes each side. Took off, wrapped in tight in foil, placed in small cooler for 20 minutes. Ended up being a little more medium then medium rare, and was told by a poster here it was due to the wrapping and resting in the cooler. Otherwise was still juicy and tasty (a tad bit smokier than I think it should have been- more on that below).

The second one followed all the same process, except coated in Worcestershire before the Santa Maria rub, used less Applewood throughout the cook time, and tented on counter for 20 minutes rather than the full wrap in the cooler. Medium rare, pretty tasty.

Here's where the tale of woe starts...

I've often heard about people doing prime rib for the holidays. We’ve always been a conventional “Turkey at Thanksgiving, Ham on Christmas” family. I’ve never done or had prime rib on a holiday. I’ve had it in a restaurant maybe 3 times in my entire 51 years. I like it, I just never think about it. To be completely honest I’ve never even noticed what they look like at a store or checked pricing. It’s pretty much a foreign cut of meat to me. Which is why I’m still not sure the impetus for waking up, calling a local meat market and saying “Hey, do you carry prime rib!?”

famous last words…

And yes, they carried prime rib, and the conversation I had with the butcher was awesome. I told him my set-up and what I was hoping to do, and he told me all about the meat and the cut and all kinds of “butchery” stuff. It was an education and I really enjoyed the conversation. He’s forgotten more about meats than I’ll ever know. This meat counter is in an old grocery store in a small town near Sacramento, built in the early 50’s. The type of place where nobody really shops for groceries anymore as time has simply passed it by- but the meat counter in back… oh man!

So I started getting excited, and based on our conversation I had him do a three bone cut (didn’t really know what that meant but it was his recommendation based on the number of people I’m having over and leaving enough for left overs), and he also said he would remove the bones and put them back in (I’ve read this is called cradling?), for an easier roasting/eating experience. “Great” said rosy cheeked wide-eyed I, “Let’s do it I’ll be down in 30 minutes!”

So I get to the store (it’s called Bing’s market, in Rio Linda Calif, if you’re in the area), walk to the back, and lo’ and behold… It’s right there in front of me in the case. This slab of what appears to be heaven. My jaw dropped, my heart skipped a beat. I was completely in awe. It was like a spot light shined on it with angelic voices singing “auwwwwwwwwwwwwwww”. I had no idea what “3 bone” meant, but it appears it must mean mastodon bones, because this thing is huh-uuuuuge. 10 pounds.

After another nice conversation with the butcher, he wrapped it, put a yellow sticky note on top (which I didn’t look at), and I headed to the register. Now keep in mind, at this point we’ve never discussed pricing. I didn’t think to ask (I guess I was thinking subconsciously it would be like the cost of a really good tri-tip). Remember how I said I’ve never even really seen a prime rib before and I’ve only had it in restaurants 3 or 4 times? Do you know where this is going?

I get to the register, hand it over, pull out my wallet and the register says “151.93”. As my brain froze for a second while it tried to re-discover what counting is, I then heard the checker say “That will be 151.93” but picture it more like a movie where the voice gets slow and low and it sounds more like “onnnnnnne fifteeeeee onnnnnnnne ninnnnnnnnntry threeeee” only two octaves lower. Like Santa in the Christmas Story movie when he goes “ho ho hoooooooe” before tapping Ralphie in the forehead with his foot.

So suddenly the angelic “auwwwwwwwwww” singing is replaced by hard core death metal while my lunch is deciding if it wants to come up and see the world again. Of course, externally I’m all about coolness. “Awesome, perfect” I hear myself say, nonchalantly like I buy prime rib once a week and am surprised it’s only 151.93, while inside I hear my soul making a ‘nails on chalkboard’ sound and my brain has now re-discovered counting and is screaming at me “What the - - - - did you just do?!?!”

I put the ATM card away and pull out the credit card (because if I don’t see it come out of my bank account that means its free), pause as if I’m considering purchasing a second one (you know… cool exterior and all), then pay for it and gingerly carry it to the passenger seat of the car, like it’s a box of new born kittens.

The ride home was quiet. No music, no news. Just me and my brain, which has not only re-discovered counting but is now very efficiently counting and asking me repeatedly “do you understand how much this cost? Do you realize??? 151.93! If you removed your shoes and counted on your fingers and toes, then mulitp…” That’s about the time I turned the radio back on.

So now I’m home, I lug this 10 pound slab in and place it in the fridge, moving all the condiments and milk in front of the damn thing so I don’t have to look at it… Because I swear it’s mocking me from inside. When I walk by I hear it from inside going “Steeeevie….. Steeeeeeeeeeeevie….” Then it giggles like something from the Haunting of Hill House.

So here’s where my questions come in.

I am totally freaked out about smoking this. I’m reading the great posts here, checking out recipes online, and taking deep breaths. I’ve figured out the slather I’m going to try (horseradish mustard, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, coarse ground salt and black pepper), I’m going to cross cut the fat layer before lathering it up, going to wrap in saran wrap overnight. Next day ,I’m going to get my grill to where I can find the 225⁰ sweet spot, then throw it on for 5 hours (10lbs/30minutes a pound right?), to take it to internal temp of 125⁰ for medium rare. Hopefully this is the right path.

First question- best way to get that external dark bark? With the tri-tip it was simply putting over the fire basket and searing each side for about 5 minutes each side. Do I try to do that with the rib?

I’ve also read another technique is to take it off at 125⁰, tent and rest for 30 minutes, take your smoker up to 400⁰, then throw the rib back on, take it off when internal is 135⁰.

I’d really like to master that bark. For the tri-tip, the searing worked “ok”. It was there, just not that really flavorful slightly crunchy layer.

Second question – I’m using applewood chunks. When/how much/how often should I be putting the chunks in? I know the answer is probably “to taste”, but I really don’t have a baseline taste yet. The first tri-tip, I put some wood on in the beginning while getting up to temp, then added some more halfway through, then added some more near the end of the roasting time. It was just ever a bit too much. But this is a 5 hour roast period, so I’m not sure what a good plan is.

I’m definitely going to be putting the roasting pan underneath with a few carrots and onions, and try my hand at the au jus after.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to read and for all the great tips I’m picking up here. I’m open to any and all suggestions. I’m really intimidated by this right now.
 

TNJAKE

Master of the Pit
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Joined Nov 26, 2019
Nothing wrong with your plan. I smoke mine at 225 until about 120 then reverse sear it over a hot flame. We do one every Christmas. If you wait until about the 2nd week in December and sometimes right after Thanksgiving you can pick them up on sale for 5.99-6.99lb at Kroger and other places. Which is about half of what you paid. Lots of good posts on the forum of some yummy prime rib. Good luck. Here's last year's
20191223_164057.jpg
20191223_175413.jpg
20191225_183039.jpg
20191225_183105.jpg

Carryover temp went about 7° higher than I prefer but still delicious
20191225_192354.jpg
 
Last edited:

mike243

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Last 1 I did ran about 3 hours to hit 130 if I remember correctly, my wife wont eat anything pink or red, no problem, when I slice I throw hers or any body else's back on the grill/smoker and get it to the proper temp, good luck , I wouldn't waste a lot of effort on the liquid for the binder as you probably wont taste it, the next 1 I do will have Sucklebusters 1836 rub on it, great stuff on beef.
 

Brokenhandle

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First, welcome from Iowa! Second, fire up your smoker and take $150 cash and throw it in the firebox... now that's an easy way to screw up a cook! Now you're gonna have to work harder to screw up your prime rib smoke. These guys have ya covered. One thing to remember, if you over cook it you can't change it, if you undercooked it you can always use a pot of beef broth or au jus to cook it a bit more for your liking. Also helps for reheating leftovers. For a good au jus recipe chef jimmyj chef jimmyj has one, just not sure I can find it. Good luck, you'll do fine!

Ryan
 

gmc2003

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Here's one I did a short time ago:
1606005540432.png



and the link:


Chris
 

whistlepig

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Joined Dec 23, 2011
Good advice here. Prime rib is my favorite when it's on sale. Compared to smoking brisket or pulled pork prime rib is pretty easy for me. I like to take mine out of the smoker 5-10 degrees short of my finished temp (130/135 degrees medium rare) double wrap in foil, wrap in two towels, and rest in a cooler for an hour or so. Under cooked prime rib can be fixed. Over cooked can't be fixed. A good remote thermometer is pretty important. As far as adding wood I think everyone's smoker is different. I watch my smoker and can tell by looking when a chunk of wood needs to be added.

Smoked prime is awesome. A lot of different recipes. I rub mine with Worcestershire sauce and Lipton Onion Soup mix and in a gallon zip-lock store in the fridge for 24 hours.
 

chef jimmyj

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B Brokenhandle Hey, Ryan. Thanks for the heads up and kind words...JJ

Smokey Au Jus
1- Lg Onion,
4-5 Carrots,
3-4 Ribs Celery
3-4 Peeled Cloves of Garlic

Toss them in a pan under the Beef, and let the whole deal Smoke for one hour,

THEN add 4-6 Cups Beef Broth,

2 Tbs Tomato Paste,
1/2tsp Dry Thyme (4-5 sprigs Fresh)
1-2 ea Bayleaf

Finish the Smoking process to the IT you want.

While the Roast is resting, dump the pan juices veggies and all into a 2-3Qt Sauce pot and add 1Cup Red Wine, something you like to drink, and bring the Jus to a boil, lower the heat and simmer 20-30 minutes. Strain out the veggies and let the Jus rest a minute or so for the Fat to rise. Skim off the bulk of the fat then using strips of paper towel laid on top of the Jus, drag quickly across to take off the last little bit of fat.

The purpose of Smoking the Vegetable for 1 hour before adding the Broth and Herbs is...The Smoked vegetables Roast in the Dry heat concentrating their Flavors and Sweetness giving the finished Jus a Richer, Deeper, Full Flavor.

Serve the sliced Beef Au Jus or thicken the Jus to make Gravy.

NOTE: If you are using this recipe with Brisket or a long smoke, additional Water will have to be added periodically to maintain the proper volume. Do not add more Broth as repeated addition and reduction will make the Au Jus too salty..
 

Awwphooey

Newbie
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Joined Nov 10, 2020
You guys are awesome- thanks so much for the tips! and the votes of confidence! man, so many great reference posts here.

So I will most likely sear over fire as I did the tri-tip. Anyone have thoughts specifically on the "take out to rest then fire up to 400" way of getting the crust?
Nothing wrong with your plan. I smoke mine at 225 until about 120 then reverse sear it over a hot flame. We do one every Christmas. If you wait until about the 2nd week in December and sometimes right after Thanksgiving you can pick them up on sale for 5.99-6.99lb at Kroger and other places. Which is about half of what you paid. Lots of good posts on the forum of some yummy prime rib. Good luck. Here's last year's View attachment 471857 View attachment 471858 View attachment 471859 View attachment 471860
Carryover temp went about 7° higher than I prefer but still delicious
View attachment 471861
man, that looks amazing! Thanks!
 
Last edited:

Awwphooey

Newbie
13
6
Joined Nov 10, 2020
Last 1 I did ran about 3 hours to hit 130 if I remember correctly, my wife wont eat anything pink or red, no problem, when I slice I throw hers or any body else's back on the grill/smoker and get it to the proper temp, good luck , I wouldn't waste a lot of effort on the liquid for the binder as you probably wont taste it, the next 1 I do will have Sucklebusters 1836 rub on it, great stuff on beef.
Thanks Mike- yeah, my wife is the same way. I just dont understand it. Like, she's a full on well done kinda' girl. I was trying to figure out how to accommodate her, but sounds like just carve a slice and put it back on. do you worry about drying it out?
Thanks for the info!
 

Awwphooey

Newbie
13
6
Joined Nov 10, 2020
First, welcome from Iowa! Second, fire up your smoker and take $150 cash and throw it in the firebox... now that's an easy way to screw up a cook! Now you're gonna have to work harder to screw up your prime rib smoke. These guys have ya covered. One thing to remember, if you over cook it you can't change it, if you undercooked it you can always use a pot of beef broth or au jus to cook it a bit more for your liking. Also helps for reheating leftovers. For a good au jus recipe chef jimmyj chef jimmyj has one, just not sure I can find it. Good luck, you'll do fine!

Ryan
hahaha, Gawd I appreciate the humor and vote of confidence.
 

Awwphooey

Newbie
13
6
Joined Nov 10, 2020
Here's one I did a short time ago:
View attachment 471879


and the link:


Chris
Just finished reading through the Mother's Day post. Whoo wee!
 

Awwphooey

Newbie
13
6
Joined Nov 10, 2020
Good advice here. Prime rib is my favorite when it's on sale. Compared to smoking brisket or pulled pork prime rib is pretty easy for me. I like to take mine out of the smoker 5-10 degrees short of my finished temp (130/135 degrees medium rare) double wrap in foil, wrap in two towels, and rest in a cooler for an hour or so. Under cooked prime rib can be fixed. Over cooked can't be fixed. A good remote thermometer is pretty important. As far as adding wood I think everyone's smoker is different. I watch my smoker and can tell by looking when a chunk of wood needs to be added.

Smoked prime is awesome. A lot of different recipes. I rub mine with Worcestershire sauce and Lipton Onion Soup mix and in a gallon zip-lock store in the fridge for 24 hours.
Awesome. thanks for the tips! regarding the wood, you said "I watch my smoker and can tell by looking when a chunk of wood needs to be added." I guess I'm still trying to figure out what that actually looks like. ;D

When you're doing a smoke Whistlepig, what does that mean for you?
 

Awwphooey

Newbie
13
6
Joined Nov 10, 2020
B Brokenhandle Hey, Ryan. Thanks for the heads up and kind words...JJ

Smokey Au Jus
1- Lg Onion,
4-5 Carrots,
3-4 Ribs Celery
3-4 Peeled Cloves of Garlic

Toss them in a pan under the Beef, and let the whole deal Smoke for one hour,

THEN add 4-6 Cups Beef Broth,

2 Tbs Tomato Paste,
1/2tsp Dry Thyme (4-5 sprigs Fresh)
1-2 ea Bayleaf

Finish the Smoking process to the IT you want.

While the Roast is resting, dump the pan juices veggies and all into a 2-3Qt Sauce pot and add 1Cup Red Wine, something you like to drink, and bring the Jus to a boil, lower the heat and simmer 20-30 minutes. Strain out the veggies and let the Jus rest a minute or so for the Fat to rise. Skim off the bulk of the fat then using strips of paper towel laid on top of the Jus, drag quickly across to take off the last little bit of fat.

The purpose of Smoking the Vegetable for 1 hour before adding the Broth and Herbs is...The Smoked vegetables Roast in the Dry heat concentrating their Flavors and Sweetness giving the finished Jus a Richer, Deeper, Full Flavor.

Serve the sliced Beef Au Jus or thicken the Jus to make Gravy.

NOTE: If you are using this recipe with Brisket or a long smoke, additional Water will have to be added periodically to maintain the proper volume. Do not add more Broth as repeated addition and reduction will make the Au Jus too salty..
I will DEFINITELY give this a try!
 

chef jimmyj

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So I will most likely sear over fire as I did the tri-tip. Anyone have thoughts specifically on the "take out to rest then fire up to 400" way of getting the crust?
For Med/Rare, i smoke at 200 °F to an IT of 115°F.
I rest 30 minutes on the counter, Naked.
( The Meat not Me!😊)
Meanwhile, I Preheat my Oven to 500°F.
I Sear no more than 10 minutes and rest again for 30 minutes and carve...JJ
 

Brokenhandle

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Thanks Mike- yeah, my wife is the same way. I just dont understand it. Like, she's a full on well done kinda' girl. I was trying to figure out how to accommodate her, but sounds like just carve a slice and put it back on. do you worry about drying it out?
Thanks for the info!
In my opinion you might run the risk of drying it out, at least until you get used to doing it... which being that done dries it out to me anyways. One restaurant my wife used to work at made all their prime rib rare...then to finish it off to more done heated in a pot of au jus to cook it further. Was the only restaurant we would eat prime rib at... she had it figured out.

Ryan
 

Awwphooey

Newbie
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6
Joined Nov 10, 2020
In my opinion you might run the risk of drying it out, at least until you get used to doing it... which being that done dries it out to me anyways. One restaurant my wife used to work at made all their prime rib rare...then to finish it off to more done heated in a pot of au jus to cook it further. Was the only restaurant we would eat prime rib at... she had it figured out.

Ryan
Oh that’s a great idea! Thanks!
 

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