Prime rib gets one chance every year to shine. In mid-December, you start to see it at the meat counter. I can’t recall eating it (or seeing it) any other time during the year. It’s also relatively expensive, so it’s important to make it really special. This Herb Roasted Prime Rib with Roasted Carrots & Gravy is just that—succulent, flavorful, and the perfect centerpiece for your holiday meal.
Prime rib is also called standing rib roast. The roast literally cooks standing up. The small fat cap is at the top, allowing the juices to flow down the roast as it cooks. It’s closest in flavor to a ribeye steak, and in fact ribeye steaks can be taken from a portion of the standing rib roast. But traditionally, the roast is sold whole.
I asked my butcher shop for a three-rib standing rib roast. The roast was 7½ lbs (they are typically 2–2½ lbs per rib). For serving, you can estimate 1–1¼ lbs of meat per person, so a three-rib roast will easily feed 6–8 people. Keep in mind that the roast includes bones, so the actual amount of meat per person is more like ¾ of a pound.
Prime rib roasts are already pretty succulent, if cooked correctly. But I wanted to add some extra flavor with a salted herb butter. I added chopped fresh parsley, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper to softened butter, and mixed it thoroughly. I spread the mixture all over the roast (underside, too!) before roasting.
Once I spread on the salted herb butter, the roast was ready for the oven. Here’s a guide to cooking beef to your desired temperature. The roast will continue to cook after you remove it from the oven, which is why I give specific instructions for when to remove it from the oven.
Rare: 120°F–130°F (remove from the oven at 110°F)
Medium Rare: 130°F–140°F (remove from the oven at 120°F)
Medium: 140°F–150°F (remove from the oven at 130°F)
Medium Well: 150°–160°F (remove from the oven at 140°F)
Well Done: 160°F–170°F (remove from the oven at 150°F)
I prefer medium rare, so I removed my roast from the oven when it hit 120°F. It rose to 135°F about 15 minutes later—right in the middle of the range for medium rare. Perfect!
To cook the Herb Roasted Prime Rib, I didn’t even need a roasting rack. Since it stands up on its own, I just put the roast in a 13×9 inch casserole dish (which can be re-used for the carrots—more on that in a bit!).
The herb butter and the roast make for delicious drippings at the bottom of the pan. I used them for two purposes: to make gravy, and to roast carrots.
Once the roast came out of the oven, I put the roast on a cutting board. Then I transferred the drippings to a measuring cup designed to separate fat for gravy. As it sits, the fat will rise to the top and the not-so-fatty drippings to the bottom. I used the handy cup to pour out the drippings into a saucepan to make gravy. A few tablespoons of the fat went back into the roasting pan (the same one from the roast). Then I tossed the carrots with the fat, and put them into the oven while the roast sat (I wait at least 20 minutes before carving). I also made gravy during that time—they’re two perfect items to make last-minute while you’re waiting for the roast to rest!
The end result of this Herb Roasted Prime Rib was SO tender and juicy. It sliced easily with a sharp knife (you could use an electric knife, too). I’m not a fan, but my mom always serves prime rib with prepared horseradish. If you’re into that, grab a bottle and prepare for some heat! 🙂
I created four other recipes for my Christmas Dinner, and I can’t wait to share them. The dishes and tablescape for this dinner were provided by my friend Kelley of Haviland Events. The custom, hand-lettered placemats were courtesy of Liz of EJD Design.
Herb Roasted Prime Rib with Roasted Carrots and Gravy
Yield 6–8 servings
- 1 (7–8 lb) standing rib roast (approximately 3 ribs)
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb rainbow carrots, peeled
- ¼ cup flour
- Optional: prepared horseradish for serving
- Remove the rib roast from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you’re planning to cook it.
- Preheat oven to 450°F. In a small bowl, mix the softened butter, parsley, rosemary, thyme, salt, and black pepper.
- Place the rib roast in a roasting pan. Spread the butter all over the rib roast. Roast for 30 minutes at 450°F. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and cook until the roast reaches 120°F for medium rare (the temperature will rise to 130–135°F after it is removed from the oven). It will be approximately 15 minutes per pound of meat.
- Turn the oven up to 400°F. Remove the roast from the oven and place on a cutting board. Tent with aluminum foil. Transfer the beef drippings to a measuring cup (preferably one designed for gravy).
- Place the carrots on a sheet pan and spoon 3 tablespoons of the beef fat (from the top of the cup) over the top. Toss to combine. Season with salt and roast for 20–25 minutes, or until tender.
- Meanwhile, heat 1½ cups of beef drippings (from the bottom of the cup) in a saucepan over medium heat. If you don’t have enough drippings, add beef broth to reach 1½ cups. Place the flour with ½ cup water in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake until the flour is incorporated. Once the beef drippings come to a boil, whisk in the flour mixture. Cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the gravy is thick, about 5–6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Carve the prime rib into thin slices and serve with the roasted carrots and gravy.
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