I can’t think of anything more traditional (or delicious) than roasted Prime Rib with Mustard Cream Sauce for a special Christmas dinner. If you’re ready to celebrate the holidays in high style with a classic Prime Rib dinner, then this recipe is the one you want.
I used to think having perfect Prime Rib outside of a steakhouse was near impossible, until I took matters into my own hands and started experimenting. I simply had to learn how to make Prime Rib at home.
Don’t be intimidated by a giant roast; my recipe for oven-roasted Prime Rib is easy to follow and gives extraordinary, better-than-restaurant results every time.
Every slice is so melt-in-your-mouth good, I think prime rib just might become my new Christmas tradition.
What is Prime Rib?
We may all love Prime Rib, but what is it, exactly? A Prime Rib roast, also known as a standing rib roast, is cut from the back of the upper rib section of the steer. It usually comprises a total of about seven ribs. This portion of the rib has a thick "cap" of heavily marbled meat that gives this cut all the flavor and richness.
Traditionally, butchers tend to cut a whole rib roast into two rib roasts: first cut (ribs 10-12) and second cut (ribs 6-9) roasts, splitting up that sweet section.
You may also wonder if a ribeye steak is considered Prime Rib. A rib eye, sometimes called a Delmonico Steak, is cut from part of the Prime Rib. While a ribeye is a steak meant to be cooked to order, Prime Rib is a juicy roast that is carved and sliced up at the table.
How to buy Prime Rib:
When shopping for Prime Rib, it's especially important to have a good butcher or someone in the meat department who you can talk to. The term Prime Rib is a little confusing, because the 'rib' refers to the cut of beef, while ‘Prime’ is the actual grade of beef. Prime is the best USDA grade available. It has the most marbling (flecks of fat throughout the meat) and all that unsurpassed flavor and tenderness.
The grade below that is Choice, which is the grade most supermarkets carry.
So, when you ask for a Prime Rib at a supermarket, most likely the counterperson will assume you’re referring only to the cut, not the grade. In all likelihood, you will receive a Choice grade Prime Rib. Don't get me wrong--the quality of Choice grade beef is still really nice. Since a rib roast is a rather fatty cut to begin with, a Choice grade prime rib will make a fine roast.
Which Prime Rib to buy?
Ultimately, the grade of meat—Prime or Choice—is up to you and your dinner budget, but since this is for a special occasion, I usually go with Prime. What can I say? I love Prime Rib.
So, what do you look for when buying Prime Rib?
Take my advice: at the market, ask your butcher for a small-end (or first-cut) three-bone rib roast. If that doesn’t ring a bell with the meat person, ask for the roast to be cut from the loin end. It’s smaller in overall size, but it has a larger rib eye, meaning more meat and less fat.
The chuck end (the large end or second cut) is bigger in size, but it has a smaller rib eye, with several thick layers of fat interspersed between portions of lean meat.
How much Prime Rib per person?
A three bone roast serves 6 to 8 people generously. Cooking for a crowd? Get the whole 7-rib roast.
Where is Prime Rib for sale?
Look for Prime Rib at trusted specialty butchers, especially if you’re wanting Prime grade beef. People do find Prime Rib at Costco, too, so it never hurts to shop around. The cost of Prime Rib can vary from store to store. Shop wisely, though, because Prime grade beef can add as much as 25 percent to the sticker price.
The secret(s) to the best Prime Rib:
Great quality meat: The cost of Prime Rib can be on the high side, but splurging on this beautiful cut of meat is absolutely worth it.
Brown the meat first: The roast cooks at such a low temperature, so it’s important to brown the exterior before you begin. All sides (except for where the bones were) get seared on the stove before the bones are reattached and the roast goes into the oven.
Elevate the meat: I use a baker’s rack inside the roasting pan to cook the Prime Rib evenly, for good air circulation.
Let the meat rest: You won’t need Prime Rib au jus if you wait a bit and give the meat time to rest. As with almost all meats, allowing the roast to rest helps the muscle fibers relax. Resting helps hold onto all that flavorful liquid. Slicing too soon may result in all the juices escaping onto your carving board and drying out the roast.
Make a great sauce: This Mustard Cream Sauce is the end all, be all of beef sauces. No you don't need it, but you'll want it, trust me!
Prime Rib temperatures:
After the initial roast in the oven, how do you know what temperature Prime Rib is? The best way is to use a good quality meat thermometer to gauge the internal temperature of the roast. Once it hits 120 degrees for rare, or 125 degrees for medium-rare, you're ready. At this point, it’s time to take it out and tent the roast with foil. Let it do its thing while you make the sauce.
Don’t forget, the meat will continue to cook once you remove it from the oven. Once you slide it under the broiler, the Prime Rib will hit medium or medium-well at the ends for anyone who likes their beef a little more well done.
What can you do with Prime Rib leftovers?
Lucky, lucky, you! When I have leftover Prime Rib, I pile thinly sliced meat on leftover Soft Yeast Buns with caramelized onions and mustard cream sauce for the most decadent sandwich ever.
This holiday season, I've updated some traditional Christmas recipes to make each bite even better than the next. From Green Beans with Bacon to piping-hot Scalloped Potatoes, every dish on the table is vibrant and bursting with flavor.
I wish you the merriest, most sparkling holiday season ever,
and a peaceful, delicious New Year.
Prime Rib with Mustard Cream Sauce
For the Prime Rib:
- 1 (7 pound) first-cut beef standing rib roast (about 3 bones) meat removed from the bones, bones reserved (see instructions below for removing bones and recipe notes for tips on buying prime rib)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper coarse
For the Mustard Cream Sauce:
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 large egg yolks
- 5 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives minced
To cut the meat off the bone:
- Hold the meaty lobe in one hand and a sharp boning or chef's knife in the other hand, run knife down length of first bone, following contours as closely as possible to separate it from meat.
- Flip roast so uncut portion faces you. Holding bones back with your hand, cut meat from remaining ribs. Once meat is removed, proceed with seasoning and tying as directed in recipe.
To make the Prime Rib:
- Using sharp knife, cut slits in surface layer of fat, spaced 1 inch apart, in crosshatch pattern, being careful not to cut into meat. Rub 2 tablespoons Kosher salt over entire roast and into slits.
- Place meat back on bones (to save space in refrigerator), transfer to large plate, and refrigerate, uncovered, at least 24 hours and up to 96 hours.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat oil in large skillet over high heat until just smoking. Sear sides and top of roast (reserving bone) until browned, 6 to 8 minutes total (do not sear side where roast was cut from bone).
- Place meat back on ribs, so bones fit where they were cut, and let cool for 10 minutes. Tie meat to bones with 2 lengths of kitchen twine between ribs.
- Transfer roast, fat side up, to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and season with pepper. Roast until meat registers 110 degrees, 3 to 4 hours.
- Turn off oven, leave roast in oven, opening door as little as possible, until meat registers about 120 degrees (for rare) or about 125 degrees (for medium-rare) 30 minutes to 1 1/4 hours longer.
- Remove roast from oven (leave roast on baking sheet), tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 1/4 hours.
- Adjust oven rack about 8 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Remove foil from roast, form into 3-inch ball, and place under ribs to elevate fat cap. Broil until top of roast is well browned and crisp, 2 to 8 minutes.
- Transfer roast to carving board. Slice meat into 3/4-inch thick slices. Season with Kosher salt to taste, and serve.
To make the Mustard Cream Sauce:
- Whisk sour cream, heavy cream, yolks, mustard, vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and sugar together in small saucepan.
- Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until sauce thickens and coats back of spoon, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Immediately transfer to serving bowl, stir in chives, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes about 1 cup.
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