Why You Shouldn't Oversalt Prime Rib

Prime rib just screams special occasion. It's rich, tender, flavorful and the presentation is downright impressive. Prime rib is beloved because of its marbling. The fat keeps the meat nice and tender as it cooks while imparting great flavor. According to Food Network, prime rib comes from the rib section of the cow (specifically the sixth rib through the 12th rib) and when you get one at the butcher counter, you're actually asking for a "standing rib roast."

When it comes to cooking prime rib, everyone has their favorite tried and true method, and it really depends on how big your roast is, what kind of oven you have, and the amount of time you have to prepare it. But one thing everyone can agree on is that it's vitally important to season your prime rib. That said, there's an asterisk to that fact.

Be a salt bae, but don't overdo it

Standing rib roasts do need a good amount of seasoning and they also need a good amount of time for the seasoning to penetrate the meat. There is a caveat here, though. The first thing to consider is that you really don't want to season your meat and put it in the oven until it comes to room temperature. The Kitchn notes that cooking a cold prime rib will result in shrinkage and extend the cook time. So if your standing rib roast has been in the refrigerator, give it a couple of hours on the counter, covered. Then season it. 

When seasoning a standing rib roast, you do want to give it plenty of seasoning with salt and pepper and you do want that seasoning to settle into the muscle of the roast before cooking — but how long is too long? The Spruce Eats notes that putting salt on a prime rib for too long can actually suck some of the moisture out of the meat, so there's no need to season it the day before. The time period when your meat is coming up to temperature, while awaiting the oven, is the perfect moment to season the roast with enough salt and pepper to cover its surface area lightly. 

Master this seasoning trick and you'll be a prime rib aficionado in no time.