Prime rib is a very expensive "company's coming" cut of meat, and typically it only goes on sale around the holidays.
This year Harris Teeter has its standing HT Rancher Beef rib roasts for $6.99 per pound ($4 savings) with a VIC card. An upgrade to their HT Reserve Angus-USDA Choice standing rib roast costs $7.99 per pound with a VIC card. These prices have been extended through Christmas Eve. I bought three of them recently — they freeze perfectly for that special Valentine’s Day dinner or a birthday.
Prime rib roasts have large, traditional rib bones on one side. They are typically 3 to 4 pounds. With tall college guys in my family, we usually think a pound per person, including a bone with each slice. Be sure to select a roast that is marbled, with bits of fat speckled in the center of the roast; ask the meat manager to help you select if you have a question. The regular long prime rib bones add flavor and hold the shape of the meat while it cooks, which is important.
This marble will give the roast the best flavor and ultimately the juiciest texture as the fat dissolves into the slices when baking.
Believe me when I say that it is not difficult to roast a perfect prime rib, so long as you have a good, heavy cast iron skillet and a good digital meat thermometer.
Yes, you can use a traditional meat thermometer, but repeated opening of the door of the oven will drastically affect your cooking time and oven temperature. It is better to invest in a quality digital meat thermometer.
First, preheat the oven to 200 degrees — Yes, 200. Season the outside of meat (Montreal Steak Seasoning is the best for this). Pat the seasoning into the sides of the meat.
Sear meat on top of stove in the cast iron skillet. You can use a heavy skillet, but the cast iron is the best choice as it gives it the best crust. You will have to sear each side separately, about three-to-five minutes per side at high heat. Keep turning until all the sides are seared. Sear does not mean burn, just brown it and turn, as cast iron can heat up to a very high heat. Beware that you cannot be distracted while you are doing this step — you must pay attention and keep turning it and searing.
Insert the digital meat thermometer probe into thickest part of the roast — being careful not to hit the bone with the probe — and place it on a broiler pan, bone side down, and roast at 200 degrees until the temperature reaches 130 for bright pink (medium rare). If you like it a bit closer to medium, go to 135, but I wouldn't go beyond that as it will start to get well done. It will take about 45 minutes per pound up to a maximum of four to five hours. Be sure to go by the temperature, not the time.
Next is the most important step in roasting: Let it rest about 20 minutes before slicing. This assures you will have a very juicy roast. Use a large knife to slice off the bones, then cut into slices as thick as desired and serve with ground horseradish.
Leftovers make a superb prime rib hash when combined with fried potatoes.