Grilling the Perfect Prime Rib

You’ve grilled sirloins before, you’ve grilled Ribeyes, you may even have tried your hand at the mighty Tomahawk—but have you ever attempted to grill a prime rib?

We hear from steak lovers and grillmasters all the time who are hesitant to throw this particular cut onto the grill; for whatever reason—perhaps its heftiness, perhaps its status as a truly special cut of beef—the prime rib can be a little daunting. Even experienced grillers question whether they can pull it off without messing it up.

The truth of the matter is that, by and large, you can perfect your prime rib by using the same strategies you use for your other cuts of beef. Fuego Diablo has offered some grilling basics before, and most of them are applicable here.

With that said, the prime rib is a unique cut of beef, and that uniqueness brings with it some caveats and some special considerations.

As you seek to perfect your prime rib, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Your prime rib will arrive with a decent amount of marbling, particularly on the topside of the cut. You’ll see some grilling guides that advise you to trim this fat before grilling, but we urge you not to. Grill your prime rib with all of that fat still on it, allowing the beef to marinate in all that wonderful flavor. You’ll end up with a much tastier cut of beef, this way.
  • Another common temptation is to separate the individual ribs before grilling. Again, we urge against this. It’s simply much easier to grill when you keep the unit together, and the flavors will be more robust.
  • We generally recommend getting the grill north of 400 degrees when you’re preparing steaks, but for prime rib you may wish to keep the temperature a bit lower—325 or 350 is often sufficient for this cut. Get the grill too hot and you’ll overcook the outside while undercooking the inside.
  • Crucial: Let your prime rib sit for several minutes before you serve. Move it from the grill to a warm plate and simply let the steak do its thing, continuing to marinate and to cook in its own fat and juices. This is a good step to take with any cut of beef, but it is especially imperative with prime rib.

Beyond that: Just follow your ritual, whatever it entails. Season with salt and pepper, maybe a bit of garlic. Don’t poke or prod too much. And enjoy. Prime rib offers a singular steak experience—so don’t forget to simply indulge.

Matt MacQuarrie
Matt MacQuarrie


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