Chef Michael Symon's Prime Rib

A primer on prime rib, the roast with the most

Let us now praise that great behemoth of beef, the rosy-hued, well-marbled, wide-as-a-tree-trunk holiday hero-maker, prime rib.

This is the season for grand presentations at the table and slow-cooked things that fill the house with wonderful smells.

First the bad news: Prime rib, often called a standing rib roast and sold by the number of bones you desire, is not cheap. And it's not quick.

But it's an investment of effort and resources that pays great dividends in meaty joy.

"When I see it on the table I know it's a party and a special occasion," says Michael Symon, who'll be roasting one on Christmas day (see Symon's prime rib recipe).

And getting a big joint ready to carve at the table is easy–especially if you follow our golden rules of roasting.

Salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic for that perfect bite of prime rib

"Are you going to buy your best Christmas present at the dollar store? Probably not," says Brent Young, butcher and partner at The Meat Hook in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. "Go to a real butcher, ask where the meat came from, and trust your eye." Look for dry-aged meat with good fat.


"Salt overnight," advises Symon. "That allows the salt to permeate the meat and break down the cell structure making it more tender."


"Brown the roast on the outside first," says Erika Nakamura of Lindy & Grundy, a butcher shop in L.A. "Turn the oven up to high heat for 20 to 30 minutes, and then drop the temperature to cook slowly."


"Cook it low and slow," suggests Cosmo Goss of Chicago's Publican Quality Meats. You're looking to reach an internal temperature of 125 for rare or 130 for medium.

Stand by

Sit on your hands. Pace. Pour another drink. Whatever you need to do, just make sure you let the meat sit for at least 30 minutes after roasting. "The greatest thing about roasts is they're impossible to emulate in a restaurant," says Marco Canora of NYC's Hearth. "You have to do this at home, and you have to wait. But when you're making gravy from those deep, dark brown drippings that come off of it, it's worth it."