“And he, he himself…the Grinch…carved the roast-beast!” ― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Sliced rare prime rib

Roast Beast is a Christmas staple. Whole turkey, sweet ham, crown roast, beef tenderloin all qualify as the beast in need of roasting, but for me, the king of all Roast Beast is prime rib. My entire life, I have never cooked anything other than breakfast on Christmas or Christmas Eve, but in 2020, due to an in-law being Covid positive and my son having flu like symptom (Covid negative though), we stayed home for both days and thus it was my turn to roast the beast. It was the first year that we didn’t celebrate those two holidays with anyone other than my immediate family which is my wife and four kids.

I decided I was going to do a bone in prime rib on my Green Mountain Grills pellet cooker. I have a number of amazing grills on my deck. What made me decide to do it on that particular grill? Simple. The high was going to be 30 degrees that day. And since we had such a large breakfast we had a late dinner. By the time I finished cooking the outside temps were in the teens. I’m all for grilling year round, but when it’s in the teens, I might skip a day around the pit. With the mobile app on my phone, I could put the roast on the grill and monitor it entirely from next to my warm fireplace as well as raise or lower the temp of my grill without having to step outside.

First things first, I had to source the beast. For this I enlisted the help of Hassell Cattle Company and their blue collar wagyu – amazing beef that doesn’t break the bank. I’ve never been disappointed with what I’ve gotten from them. I ordered a four bone prime rib roast. Not because we need that much for one meal. Because I have four kids and thus every one of them could get a bone because daddy has taught them that the best meat is right by the bone. Also, the remainder turned into a second meal a couple days later so not an ounce went to waste.

Raw prime rib
What a beautiful Hassell Cattle Company cut of beef

Now that we have secured the roast, time to trim it. I took most of the thick fat off the back side:

Trimming the fat off a prime rib
Try to take as little of the steak off as possible. I’m not doing a great job in this shot
Trimming the fat off a prime rib
I’m doing a much better job in this shot

Then I trimmed the meat from around the bones which makes for a pretty presentation:

Trimming the meat from the bones of the prime rib
Trimming the bones can be maddening. Just when you think all the meat has been carved away you see a little sliver that has to come off. And more and more and more. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just get the bulk of it.

Trimmed prime rib, bones and all:

Prime rib ready to be seasoned
Fat trimmed off and the bones exposed

Then I seasoned the standing rib roast with a HEALTHY dose of salt and pepper:

Salting the prime rib
Lay that salt on THICK! And it is okay to use coarse or kosher salt.

Why such a healthy dose of S&P? Simply put, the meat to exterior ratio is pretty high with a prime rib. We get a lot of steak in the middle, but not as much of the crust on the outside so I prefer to pile on the flavor to really make those bites pop. Basically, lots of red meat, but not a lot of flavor crust. So load up that flavor crust.

Here you can also remove the bones, or partially remove them, and tie them back on before cooking. I prefer to let the prime rib cook with the bones completely intact and remove them after the beef is ready to serve. This is simply personal preference. Make sure to save the trimming for soups, stews and chili.

Now that we have the prime rib trimmed and seasoned, time to bring some extra flavor to it. All a standing rib roast really needs is salt, pepper and some garlic and you can absolutely do just that with this. If that’s the plan, just skip ahead to the Grilling Instructions. For my prime rib here, I covered it with herbs and garlic. I used basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary and tarragon along with garlic and olive oil and a little salt. Why did I use these herbs? Because those were the ones that looked the freshest at my local grocer. I would’ve liked to have used some thyme in there, but this is what I had.

Christmas Prime Rib Ingredients:

4 bone prime rib (approximately 10 lbs pre trim weight)
1/4 cup fresh basil, stems removed
1/2 cup fresh cup marjoram, stems removed
3/4 cup fresh oregano, stems removed
1/4 cup fresh rosemary, stems removed
1/4 cup fresh tarragon, stems removed
1/2-3/4 cup garlic cloves, brown bases removed
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
1 healthy pinch of salt

Garlic, herbs, steak and olive oil
Garlic, herbs, steak and olive oil. What more do you need?

Combine all the ingredients (except the prime rib) in a food processor and blend into a smooth paste. I have estimates on the garlic and olive oil because I needed to sort of eye ball it as I was blending. I had to add oil three times until I was happy with the consistency:

Herbs and garlic in a food processor
Pulse until smooth
Herbs and garlic in a food processor
Scrape from the sides and add oil as needed to blend thoroughly
Herbs and garlic in a food processor
That’s the consistency I am looking for

It’s simply a matter of spreading the garlic and herb paste onto the roast. To make this process a little easier, go grab a couple those disposable aluminum pans. Double them up because one will collapse with even a two bone standing rib roast. Place the prime rib in the doubled up pans and slather on the garlic and herbs. Start with the bone side, because that will be down in the pan during the cook, and then cover the rest:

Slather that garlic and herbs on the beef
Slather that garlic and herbs on the beef

Then put the roast in the fridge for a few hours or as long as overnight. The salt that was put on first will act as a wet brine and transfer some of that garlic and herb flavor into the meat. The next day (or after a few hours) remove the pan from the fridge for at least 2 hours, if not four to come up to room temp. This will greatly decrease cooking times. I forgot to pull mine out before I went up for a nap on Christmas Day (after all the revelry of presents and such) and so the prime rib went on the grill at about 35 degrees at 5:20 pm. It wasn’t finished cooking until 8:35. Remember, always cook to temp, not time. So while these times were for me taking it straight from the fridge to the grill, if you let it come up to room temp on the counter, it will take considerably less.

Here is mine out of the fridge with all the oil congealed from the cold temps of the fridge:

The garlic and herb crusted prime rib out of the fridge
The garlic and herb crusted prime rib out of the fridge

Grilling Instructions:

Since my prime rib was going on so cold, I started the Green Mountain Grill off pretty low at 225F:

Prime rib ready to go into the Green Mountain Grills pellet smoker
Ready to go into the pellet smoker

After about 30 minutes, the oil had warmed up and liquified so I raised the temps to 275 (all from the app on my phone!):

Garlic and herb encrusted prime rib on the pellet grill
Notice that I also put in two probes? When dealing with such an amazing piece of beef and on a pretty special occasion, I wanted to make sure I got it absolutely perfect

Then after another 30 minutes I went up to 325 and after another 30 minutes I ultimately put it at 375 until it reached 110 internal at which point I kicked it up to 550F. Here we have the prime rib at about 75F internal:

Prime rib coloring up nicely
Coloring up nicely

And here we the prime rib roasting in a 550F degree pellet smoker:

The crust is taking hold along the outside of the prime rib
The crust is taking hold along the outside

And here she is, ready to come off the grill:

Prime rib reading 120 degrees F
120 is just perfect in my book

Yes, that’s a third meat thermometer. OK, I might’ve overdone it a bit with the temp probes, but I think you will see the effort was worth it. All my temp gauges were within a couple degrees of each other so at the same time I cooked this prime rib, I validated the temps of my two built in probes to be accurate.

I pulled the pans out and stood the prime rib up to snap this shot:

The prime rib standing up for a picture
Please rise for the taking of the picture

Then I brought the Hassell Cattle Company roast beast inside to rest:

Prime rib resting
Resting

And here’s a closer shot:

Roasted prime rib resting and waiting to be carved
I can still smell it and my mouth is watering just thinking about it

After a full thirty minute rest, I carved this magnificent beast. I started by cutting lengthwise behind the bones down along their curve until the knife comes out the bottom and the whole rack comes clean off. Then I carved off a slice of that perfect prime rib:

Sliced prime rib
Have you seen a prettier sight on Christmas? I haven’t!

On the end cuts the outside edges are a little more done, but the middle was coast to coast glorious redness. The freshness of the herbs, the sweetness of the garlic, the umami of the beef and fat all came together in a beautiful mouthful. A little horseradish sauce really brings the dish full circle. Oh, I almost forgot to show the very pronounced smoke ring:

Smoke ring on a slice of prime rib
How’s that smoke action look?

Now if you would like to prepare this roast a little more well done, simply take it higher before cranking the grill up to 550F. Just go about 10-15 degrees shy of your preferred steak temp and then crank it up. Just remember, that the meat on the ends will be more done than the middle.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.

Also, this post has the look and feel of a sponsored post. But truth be told, neither Green Mountain Grills nor Hassell Cattle Company paid me a dime for this post. They’re just good people with fantastic products. Check them out.

Christmas Prime Rib On a Pellet Smoker
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Christmas Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Prime rib slathered in garlic and herbs, slow smoked in a Green Mountain Grills pellet smoker, then blasted with 550 degrees to finish off for the perfect Christmas dinner
Ingredients
  • 4 bone prime rib (approximately 10 lbs pre trim weight)
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, stems removed
  • ½ cup fresh cup marjoram, stems removed
  • ¾ cup fresh oregano, stems removed
  • ¼ cup fresh rosemary, stems removed
  • ¼ cup fresh tarragon, stems removed
  • ½-3/4 cup garlic cloves, brown bases removed
  • ¼-1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 healthy pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Trim the thick fat off the back of the prime rib and carve off the meat from the top couple inches of the rib bones
  2. Season liberally with salt and pepper
  3. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth
  4. Coat all sides of the meat with the garlic and herb concoction
  5. Place the standing rib roast in the fridge overnight
  6. Remove from the fridge and place in a 225F smoker
  7. After 30 minutes, raise the temp to 275 then to 325 after another 30 minutes
  8. Raise it to 375 after another 30 minutes and leave it there until the prime rib comes to 10-15 short of the desired doneness
  9. Then, crank up the heat to 550 to finish off the roast beast
  10. Remove from the heat and let rest for 30 minutes
  11. Carve off the bones and then slice and serve
 

 

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

@GrillinFool

https://t.co/lVWgniik3V - #GrillPorn abounds here. All meat, all the time!
Oh my wow! There is so much perfection right there! 😲✔️👍😎 . Video shot by the insanely talented @carlaocarvalho77 …… https://t.co/uKHWyunSxp - 4 years ago
Scott Thomas

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