The term “prime” rib traditionally refers to a seven-bone roast cut from the 12th bone to the 6th bone of the rib section of beef. A whole seven bone roast weighs around 8 kg (18 lbs) – enough beef for at least twenty-five people. You can order a roast by the pound, though, considering each bone accounts for about two and a quarter pounds of weight. Account for 1 kg (2.2 lbs) feeding three people.
Pro Tip: Ask for the Shoulder End, also known as the second cut. This end of the rib is close to the shoulder. There is more fat in this end, as well as the rib cap muscle, which is one of the most flavorful muscles on a steer. The loin end, or “first cut”, is also delicious, and leaner, but lacks that cap muscle. Ask your butcher to remove the rib bones and give you enough twine to tie them back on after you’ve applied the rub. If they won’t give you twine, offer to buy some then never go back to that jerk.
For the roast:
7-8 lbs prime rib, 3 bones
For 1 cup of seasoning salt:
½ cup kosher salt
¼ cup freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
1 bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped
1 bunch fresh sage, leaves picked and chopped
10 pc fresh bay leaves, leaves sliced
8 pc garlic cloves, peeled
For the sauce:
3 tbsp beef scraps (ask your butcher for this, otherwise use ground beef)
3 pc shallots, peeled and chopped
1 pc garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp. butter (keep one of which in the fridge to “finish” the sauce
1 tbsp. flour
3 pc bay leaves
6 branches fresh thyme
1 cup red wine, plus 2 oz for finishing the sauce
4 cups beef stock
to taste salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the salt:
In a food processor, blitz the fresh herbs with 2 tbsp. of salt. Add the garlic and pulse to chop. Add the rest of the salt and the pepper and pulse until all combined. The salt should have a greenish hue.
To make the beef:
Ask your butcher to “french” the bones, and then cut the rib bones away from the muscle. You will be tying this bone “plate” back on to the muscle before roasting, so make sure you get it with your roast.
Bring the roast out of the refrigerator. Rub the rib eye meat all over with the seasoning salt, then rub olive oil all over it. Use the seasoning salt on the rib bones as well. You’re going to bring the roast to room temperature before cooking– it will cook more evenly this way. A 6-7 lb roast will probably take about an hour to come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 500°F and adjust the rack so the whole roast can fit.
Place the rib eye back on to the rib bones, to recreate what the roast originally looked like. Using strong butcher’s twine (ask your butcher for this – the thin-gauge type you can find at grocery stores will not do), tie the rib bones to the meat with knots in between each bone. Place the beef in a roasting pan with a rack. If you don’t have a rack, prop the roast off the bottom of the pan with halved onions.
When the oven is hot, put the roasting pan on the lower rack. Close the door and immediately turn the heat down to 300°F. Cook for about 18 minutes per pound for medium rare. I like to use an internal thermometer to judge doneness; take the roast out when it reaches 120°F. Remove the roast from the pan, place on a platter, cover with tin foil then a kitchen towel to keep warm as it rests for about thirty minutes while you make the sauce.
To make the sauce:
In a saucepot over a medium heat, brown the beef trim in a tablespoon of butter. Add the shallots and caramelize, stirring constantly. Add the garlic and stir. Add another tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of flour and stir until the flour is nut-brown. Add the herbs, and deglaze with the red wine. Reduce the wine by half, then add the stock. Simmer and reduce by half again. Meanwhile, spoon off any excess fat that was left in the roasting pan, and place the roasting pan on a medium heat. Pour the contents of the saucepot into the roasting pan, and using a wooden spoon scrape up the roasting “fond” that had accumulated on the bottom of the pan while roasting. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Simmer the sauce until it coats the back of a spoon. Strain the sauce back into the saucepot and whisk in a tablespoon of cold butter and a half glass (2 oz.) of red wine. Pour into a gravy boat and serve with the roast beef.
To carve the roast:
Cut the twine and discard. Take the rib bones, cut them into individual pieces, and present them on a platter. Using a long slicing knife, slice the beef and present it on the side of the bones, with the gravy on the side of the platter.