How to cook

The Ultimate Guide to Grilling Prime Rib Roast

Prime rib roast is the epitome of culinary luxury. When cooked using our innovative technique, it becomes a mouthwatering delight with a flavorful herb crust. So, what makes it so good? The answer lies in the rib eye cap, or the spinalis dorsi, which envelops the roast, providing a rich, fatty flavor and a delightful texture.

To truly experience the incredible taste of prime rib, it is crucial to select a roast that carries a USDA grade of choice or prime. Investing a little extra in this special cut guarantees an undeniably incredible dining experience. At BDK Restaurant, we strive to deliver the finest quality ingredients to satisfy your taste buds.

Prepping the Prime Rib

Preparing the prime rib for grilling involves a few simple steps. While peeling and trimming are optional, following the rub and rest technique is highly recommended.

Remove the Silver Skin

Similar to pork ribs, the rib roast also has a tough membrane called the silver skin. Although its removal is optional, taking it off allows the rub to have better contact with the meat between the bones. Flip the roast upside down, grab the membrane with a paper towel, and peel it off, discarding it.

Frenching the Bones

Some upscale establishments scrape the meat away from each bone, leaving them connected to the roast. This creates a visually stunning presentation, with clean bones protruding from the meat. At BDK Restaurant, we understand that some enjoy gnawing on the prime rib bones, so we typically don’t french them. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can experiment with this technique.

The Secret Trim

Here’s a little secret to enhance the flavor of your prime rib. Run your knife between the bones and the meat, slicing down until you almost reach the bottom. Be careful not to separate the two. This special trim allows the rub to penetrate the trimmed area, intensifying the taste. If you follow this technique, secure the bones back to the roast using butcher’s twine, especially if you’re grilling on a rotisserie. When it’s time to slice the grilled prime rib, remove the twine and bones to ensure they don’t interfere, and slice the meat to your desired thickness.

Rub + Rest

While turkey requires a wet brine in the fridge, prime rib gets a dry brine and rests on the counter. Leaving it on the counter allows the meat to come to room temperature gradually before hitting the grill. This is important because grilling a prime rib straight from the refrigerator can result in uneven cooking. Leave the roast on the counter for 2-3 hours, and during this time, slather it with robust herbs mixed with our savory Brisket Rub, garlic, olive oil, and our signature ingredient: allspice. As the beef adjusts to room temperature, it absorbs the aromatic herbs, creating a delightful aroma.

Grilling the Prime Rib

Grilling the prime rib involves three stages: slow cook, crust creation, and resting.

Step 1: Slow Cook

To achieve an incredibly tender prime rib, grill it at a low heat over indirect heat. At BDK Restaurant, we recommend setting the grill to 250°F and placing the prime rib on the grill with the fat side up. This positioning allows any fat juices to render back into the center of the roast. The aim is not to cook the roast completely at this temperature but to reach an internal meat temperature of 110°F. We suggest using a digital thermometer like the ThermoWorks Smoke, which will alert you when your meat reaches the desired temperature. A 6-pound rib roast will take approximately 2 hours.

Step 2: Crust Creation

The herbaceous crust is the highlight of a rib roast. To create this crust, increase the grill’s heat to 400°F and continue grilling over indirect heat until the internal temperature reaches 135°F. Remember to adjust your digital thermometer to alert you when the roast is ready to be removed from the grill.

Step 3: The Rest

After the roast reaches 135°F, take it off the grill and let it rest for 30 minutes. Resting is a crucial step as it allows the magical juices to reabsorb back into the meat, making every bite juicy and flavorful. Resting also allows the meat to continue to rise in temperature by about 5-10°F. If you’re concerned about the meat getting cold, serve it on heated plates.

How to Please Everyone

While medium-rare is our preferred way of enjoying prime rib, we understand that everyone has different preferences. If some prefer their meat cooked longer, go ahead and extend the cooking time accordingly. In the case of a couple of individuals who like their beef well-done, you can slice their portions and cook them to their desired doneness on the grill.

How to Grill Prime Rib with Your Grill

At BDK Restaurant, we believe in making grilling accessible, regardless of the type of grill you have. Here are some tips for different grill types:

Pellet Smoker

A pellet smoker is the easiest grill to use, as you can adjust the temperature just like an oven. The heat in a pellet smoker is generated by wood pellets, which impart a smoky flavor. Set the temperature as described above, and use the grill’s built-in thermometer to monitor the meat temperature.

Gas Grill

To create an indirect heat zone on a gas grill, turn on one burner and adjust it from low to medium until the grill registers 250°F. For added smoky flavor, use an Amazen Pellet Tube Smoker with cherry pellets or create a wood chip foil pouch. Place the prime rib on the opposite side of the grill and rotate it halfway through the cooking process. If necessary, raise the heat by turning on another burner, avoiding flare-ups by keeping the meat over indirect heat.

Charcoal Grill

Light the coals until they have a gray ash, and push them to one side of the grill. Adjust the grill vents until the temperature reaches 250°F. You can add wood chips for additional smoky flavor or use hickory charcoal briquettes. Place the meat on the side without coals and adjust the vents to increase the heat when necessary. Add more briquettes if needed.

Big Green Egg

Light the coals and add the plate setter to diffuse the heat. Adjust the bottom and top vents until the grill reaches 250°F. Add wood chips for extra smoke. Increase the heat by opening both vents. Consider using a device like the Flame Boss to control the temperature automatically.


If you prefer roasting in the oven, you can still enjoy delicious prime rib, although you won’t achieve the same smoky flavor as on the grill. Follow the steps outlined above, adjusting the temperature from 250°F to 400°F and monitoring the internal temperature.

Answers to Your Most Common Questions

To save you the trouble of reading through all the comments, here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about grilling prime rib.

How large of a prime rib do I need?

For bone-in prime rib, plan on one pound per person or one bone for every two people. A three-bone prime rib usually weighs about six pounds and serves six adults. If you’re serving additional meats and sides, you can slice the meat thinner and get three servings per bone.

How long does it take a prime rib to cook?

The recipe provided is for a six-pound prime rib, which cooks in approximately three hours (2 hours on low, 30 minutes on high, and 30 minutes of resting). If you’re grilling a larger prime rib, plan to cook it on low for 20-30 minutes per pound. Then, cook it on high for 45-60 minutes until it reaches your desired doneness. The resting period remains 30 minutes.

How to make delicious gravy to go with your prime rib

For gravy lovers, consider roasting vegetables under the prime rib to create a rich, flavorful broth. In a pan that is 1-2 inches deep, add sliced onions, carrots, celery, and fresh herbs. Pour in beef broth, water, and red wine. Place a rack over the pan and position the prime rib on top for the initial cooking phase. Once it’s time to increase the heat, remove the pan from the grill. Strain the broth and set it aside. In a saucepot, create a roux by cooking flour and butter, then add the broth and stir until thickened.

For more tips, recipes, and updates, visit the BDK Restaurant website. Experience the pleasure of grilling prime rib and treat yourself to an unforgettable culinary journey.

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