I really thought there should have been something like this by now, but for some reason my searches couldn't find it. This time of year there are many rib roasts being cooked and people asking advice on how to cook them. I am of the belief that a rib roast is one of the easiest things to cook. We see cooking temps typically range from 225* to 350* with people raving about the results, and I've even seen some posts with cooks going as low as 200* and as high as 425*. All of these posts claim excellent results and I believe them! Basically, you can't mess this up. Well, unless your remote thermometer fails, you fall asleep, your fire goes out or starts burning wildly out of control. But under normal circumstances, you're going to have a great product. I'm going to start this thread by posting some basic information on cooking, what I do, some reference material, and then leave it up to others to post pictures, recipes, etc.
My typical roast is quite simple. I usually cook a four-bone roast, ~7lbs. I take it out of the refrigerator an hour before the cook and let it come up to temp a bit on its own. I trim excess fat off the roast, because nobody in my family really likes to eat fat and when it is trimmed afterward, then the spices go along with it. The last roast I cooked, I trimmed just about the entire fat cap, yes, down to the meat. The results were excellent, but more about that later. I then rub the roast down with EVOO, coat with S&P, Montreal steak spice, Lawry's, parsley, Foil Hat Rub, or any combination of the above -- it doesn't matter, because it's going to be good. I then put the roast in my preheated (~225*) pit (lump with a chunk of oak) on a tray -- the same one in the picture below that I serve with. I cook this indirect on the Oval with diffusers in place. I put in a temperature probe, smack dab in the middle. Roughly 3 1/2 hours later (your times will vary), the IT has climbed to between 120*-130*. I aim for about 125*. I then remove the roast, tent foil, sometimes with a couple layers and cover with a towel. I've let them sit for an hour, but typically rest for 1/2 hour. They stay warm. The IT typically climbs about 10*, sometimes a bit more in this time. When I'm ready to serve, I open the vents on the pit (or use another pit), and bring the temp up to ~600*. I do a very quick sear, just a couple minutes along the cap and bones. The heat is just on the outside and I can slice this when I'm ready. Because of the low cooking temp (and rest), I get a very evenly cooked product. This may or may not be what you want.
I should note that after cooking, I trimmed the bones off for easy slicing!
Now for some background material:
Two great resources on prime rib and reverse searing are given by The Food Lab here:
While you will hear a lot about reverse searing on this forum, it is not essential. You can get a great product by just smoking or roasting. I personally like the crusty edge, but that is my preference and it may not be yours.
What's the deal about cooking temperature? They are all over the place.
Essentially, this means you can't mess it up. Just about any temperature you pick, you will end up with a great product. That doesn't mean that it will be the same product though. Here is an illustration of the differences in the final product due to different cooking temperatures:
Originally Posted by Gore
I generally cook at a lower temp for rib roasts ~225* and I use oak. Always there are questions about temperature and I just want to point out that the lower the temperature, the more uniform the roast will be. If you like a uniform doneness throughout, cook it low. The higher the temp, the more done the outside and redder the inside. There are some pics in this thread for comparison:
This one is done at 225* (reverse sear) and you can see the pinkness goes nearly to the edge:
This one (courtesy of Ron_L) was cooked at 275* and the edges are slightly more done:
This one was cooked by Boshizzle at 325*:
taken from this thread:
Notice that the outer segment is much more done than the inside. Every method is great, but you can see they produce a different product.
Essentially, it comes down to how even you want it, and especially how done do you like that cap. The cap is juicy and there is nothing wrong with eating it well done. Notice also that Ron_L does not sear his meat.
How about cooking times?
Thirdeye has compiled a list of cooking times for roasts. I'm going to cut and paste that here. Hopefully, he'll be able to update this list with new data.
Originally Posted by thirdeye
Via countless emails, I have collected a bunch of information which appears on the prime rib how to page on my site for this very question. I use low pit temps too for the same reasons you mentioned, so I asked readers to send me their times and temps. Most of these were cooked on a BGE or Primo Oval, but it will put you in the ballpark. Where you see a range in pit temps, I had multiple responses for the same weight roast, but the cook times were about the same. (this was most likely due to the diameter of a particular roast, of maybe the pit temp drifted a little during the cook)
Be sure to allow for carry over temps while resting the roast. All of the times below are when the roasts came off the cooker.
4 pound roast - 220°-228° pit temp - 2 hours to reach 125°
5-1/2 pound roast - 230° pit temp - 3 hours to reach 125°
6-3/4 pound bone-in roast - 250° pit temp - 4 hours to reach 125°
7 pound roast - 250° pit temp - 3 hours 40 minutes to reach 123°
7 pound roast - 220°-228° pit temp - 3 hours 30 minutes to reach 125°
8 pound roast - 250° - 275° pit temp - 4 hours to reach 122°
10 pound roast - 220°-228° pit temp - 3 hours to reach 120°
11 pound roast (4 bones) - 215° average pit temp - 4 hours 54 minutes to reach 125°
14 pound roast - 220°-250° pit temp - 4 hours 30 minutes to reach 125°
15 pound roast - 220°-250° pit temp - 4 hrs 50 min to reach 127°
I just want to comment that there are a lot of factors in these times, not only the kind of pit you have, but I believe also, how the roast is trimmed. I have found that my roasts have been cooked consistently in about 3 1/2 hours. The last one I did in which I trimmed all of the fat cooked in only 2 1/2 hours. I am assuming that is because this insulating layer has been removed -- ask any duck, fat is a great insulator. This certainly is an anomaly in the above dataset for a ~ 7lb roast.
Post your comments, pics and recipes, please!