Lynne Curry's Prime Rib with Mustard and Herb Butter

December 16, 2014

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: A foolproof prime rib recipe with a multitasking herb rub -- plus an introduction to reverse-searing, a technique for beautifully even cooking that you can use on just about any hunk of meat you want to roast (just be sure to rely on temperature, not time, and the technique will always work the same). According to Curry, another alternative to steps 4 and 5 is to finish searing on a hot grill. Adapted slightly from "Sear Genius" by Lynne Curry (Fine Cooking, December 2014).Genius Recipes

Serves: 8 to 10

Ingredients

For the Mustard and Herb Butter

  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 6 medium cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Prime Rib

  • One 5- to 6-pound boneless beef rib roast, patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, if needed for searing
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in an 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Let it foam until it turns light brown and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour the butter into a small heatproof bowl, leaving most of the milk solids in the bottom of the skillet. Refrigerate the butter until solid, about 1 hour (or freeze, to speed this up).
  2. Purée the garlic, rosemary, sage, thyme, mustard, Worcestershire, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper with the solidified browned butter in a food processor to make a thick paste. Reserve 1/4 cup of the butter and rub the rest all over the roast. Put the roast fat side-up on a rack set in a roasting pan and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.
  3. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 300° F. Roast the beef until an instant-read thermometer registers 110° F for rare, about 1 1/2 hours, or 115° F for medium rare, about 10 minutes more. Remove the roast from the oven. Let sit, tented loosely with foil, for up to 2 hours (or continue with the recipe).
  4. To sear in the oven: Heat the oven to 475° F. Roast until 125° F for rare or 130° F for medium rare, about 10 minutes.
  5. Or, to sear on the stove: Heat the oil in a heavy 12-inch skillet until shimmering hot. Sear the beef, turning and pressing down with tongs, until browned all over and cooked to desired temperature, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board. If there was no earlier rest between roasting and searing, let the roast rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Slice and serve with the reserved mustard butter.
  6. The beef can be roasted and then sit at room temperature, tented with foil, for up to 2 hours before the final sear.

More Great Recipes:
Beef|Butter|Curry|Mustard|Sage|Thyme|Serves a Crowd|Make Ahead|Fall|Winter|Christmas|Entree

Reviews (57) Questions (3)

57 Reviews

Rosie December 25, 2017
I've used this herb butter many times now for my roasts (have tried it with all cuts of beef!), and I love it! Now, I want to try to sous vide my prime rib, but how do I incorporate the herb rub? After the sous vide process?
 
Karla December 21, 2017
HI! My first time making Prime Rib for a party, so a little nervous! Some questions.... I really like the seasonings of this recipe and that it’s for a boneless prime rib (the only type I can find in Puerto Rico right now) but also found another recipe in cooks illustrated, that talks about the advantage of “dry aging” the meat up to 96 hours before in the fridge, for more tender meat. Do you see an advantage to this? Can I combine both techniques?
 
cateler December 21, 2017
Karla - you can totally do both. I always do. The dry aging really helps to develop the crust. Even if only for 24 hours to pull the moisture off of the outer surface
 
Nick B. December 21, 2017
I always dry age my cuts. It helps the crust. Also I recommend against the reverse sear. I get the science behind it, but practically it is really hard to time it well. Instead go for the regular sear. Yes you will lose 1/4 inch of pink meat, but hey, who said a thicker crust wasn't delicious?
 
Karla December 21, 2017
Thanks for your feedback! Will do!
 
Karla December 21, 2017
Nick, thanks for the feedback. It’s hard to know what to do. So many recipes now are suggesting reverse sear. Have you had negative experiences with that technique? I’ve always seared my meats first.
 
Nick B. December 25, 2017
When it works, it works as advertised. However when it doesnt works, you take the risk of overcooking the whole piece of meat. This technique from my experience is finicky and requires some trial and error. Direct sear on the other hand is full proof. The only risk is to overcook the edges a little more than you had wished for. Which is generally a matter of preference anyway. I know this comment goes against most cooking blogs, but remember that those blogs are written mostly by chef or people with longtime experience in the kitchen
 
Julian November 20, 2018
The article recommends against timing it but rather using a thermometer. I have only used this method twice but both times it worked great.
 
Andrea D. January 17, 2017
Prepared my boneless rib roast for Christmas this way and it turned out PERFECTLY!!! I was nervous about this technique, but followed the instructions (I rested the roast for about an hour) and the results make me look like a culinary hero. So... Reverse Sear Forever!
 
Sherry T. December 14, 2016
Anyone have a butter season rollup.<br />
 
Susan November 24, 2016
Reverse searing great idea, however I have a small kitchen with way too much going on and too many people and commotion... BTW. I am sooo afraid to ruin this expensive meat for a new yrs eve meal for 10!<br />So, can I sear the meat in the morning and put it in the fridge. Take it out an hour before I put it in the oven to finish cooking? Will that work to give me a nice roast also? Thank you one and all for your comments...
 
Rural E. December 19, 2016
Hi Susan, I understand the small kitchen problem, but I would not recommend the method you propose. (I'm the author of this recipe, btw, and a beef cookbook.) If you're worried about space, the best thing to do is to slow roast it according to these instructions (300 degrees F) to the temperature you like, skip the searing step if that's too involved and just tent the roast with foil in a warm place in the kitchen until you're ready to slice it. The only way to ruin an expensive piece of meat is to overcook it, and you may be perfectly happy with the crust you get from the 300 degree oven.
 
Nick B. January 29, 2016
Can you rub the ribs with the butter mix overnight?
 
AntoniaJames December 26, 2015
I used this recipe with a top loin roast. It worked really well. Family raved about the compound butter. Looking forward to trying the method with pork roasts, as well. I found this article, which was published with the original recipe on finecooking.com, to be quite helpful. http://www.finecooking.com/articles/cooking-holiday-roast.aspx ;o)
 
Stephanie A. December 25, 2015
I decided to try this recipe with a boneless leg of lamb for Christmas Eve, and it was a huge success! I didn't leave it out of the oven very long...about 30 minutes while I scurried around finishing the rest of the dinner, but then I seared it for about 12 minutes at 475 degrees. The entire family raved about the lamb, from my 96 and 94-year old parents to my 22-year old daughter! The meat was pink and juicy (I cooked it just shy of medium because the family doesn't like medium rare lamb), and the crust was yummy. I will definitely use this method again. Thanks, Food52!
 
jodyrah July 13, 2015
One hour at room temp...you might as well take it straight from the frig to the oven. This raises the internal roast temp not one iota. Check out serious eats.com. The "food lab" explains how to cook the "perfect prime rib".
 
Karen January 19, 2015
Wow - this was amazing! My only complaint is that we devoured it and there were no leftovers!
 
Matty823 December 27, 2014
So I made this last night and it really turned out perfectly! I mean, it came out exactly like the picture! I had an 8 lb bone-in rib roast and I cooked it at 300 degrees (convect bake) for about an hour and a half. I then seared it in a cast-iron pan and it was a beautiful rare throughout. Another 10-15 minutes would have made it medium rare. The only thing I changed was that I swapped out the mustard for grated horseradish and omitted the worcestershire. Salty, tangy and amazing! My favorite part of this "sear-after" technique is that the meat was rare from end to center. I hate when the outside part of the meat near the edges is well done and the center is rare. This is definitely the way to make Prime Rib!
 
Lisa December 26, 2014
I followed the cooking method but used a 4 1/2 lb rib eye roast and it was great. It took about an hour and forty five minutes to reach 115 degrees, I pulled it out for 20 minutes then 10 minutes more at 475 degrees until it reached 130 degrees. It was a nice medium rare and beautifully seared. I highly recommend using your range hood vent during the sear. I forgot to turn mine on and set off the smoke detectors.
 
amy.liu.948011 December 24, 2014
I would do 15 mins on oven and 15 mins low heat on seating to get it more med<br />Rare... Mine turned out too rare just like pic ... If u want it more well cooked
 
Gina C. December 24, 2014
2 1/2 hours! LOL
 
Gina C. December 24, 2014
I just made a 12lb with bone (total of 5 ribs) and it took 2 2 1/2 hours to cook and sear to rare 125 degrees. Again, this is just my experience and different thickness may affect your time. And boy, does my kitchen smell amazing!!!
 
Patti R. December 24, 2014
My rib is just under 14 lbs, I had the butcher take the bones off and tied them back on. How long will it take at 300?
 
Kristen M. December 24, 2014
Hi Patti, please see my answer to butterbabe below -- it's really important to go by temperature and not time, so hopefully you have a good instant-read or roasting thermometer. For that size roast, I would start checking after about an hour to gauge how far it has to go.
 
butterbabe December 24, 2014
Understanding that every roast is different - but I'm just wondering if there is a *ballpark* for even just loosely estimating times. I know the 2 hour window allows for latitude, but if you don't know if it will take 2 hours or 5 hours to cook to temp, then that 2 hour window doesn't really help. Any loose guidelines for estimating (within an hour or so) when to pop it in the oven?
 
butterbabe December 24, 2014
Sorry - should have clarified: loose guidelines for bone in roasts, and/or larger roasts. Thanks!
 
Kristen M. December 24, 2014
You could get a rough estimate based on the time and weight here: 15-20 minutes/pound at 300 degrees F. But using a thermometer is the only way to be sure, since even a very large roast will be likely be longer, rather than much thicker, plus there will be variations in initial roast temperature, the roasting pan, the meat, the oven. Thank goodness for that extra 2-hour window! (And, as Curry pointed out in Fine Cooking, the 2-hour limit is a USDA guideline, which errs on the conservative side.) I don't think it would be wildly different for bone-in roasts (I've heard that they cook faster, as the bone helps conduct heat into the roast but I haven't done side-by-side comparisons myself).
 
butterbabe December 25, 2014
Thanks for the rough estimate - that gave me a window in which to get it into the oven, and I relied on the thermometer for when to take it out. Great technique!
 
Randy D. December 24, 2014
Should a lid be used on the roaster or not?
 
Kristen M. December 24, 2014
No, it should stay uncovered!
 
Sam R. December 23, 2014
so are we using both the brown butter and the clarified part of the butter or just the clarified butter?
 
Kristen M. December 23, 2014
You're leaving most of the browned milk solids behind in step 1 so they don't end up burning on the roast, but you can use them for something else (or you can just just stir them into the portion of the herb butter that you save for serving).
 
Sam R. December 23, 2014
What recommendations do you have for side dishes with this wonderful roast?
 
Kristen M. December 23, 2014
My perfect meal would be have potato gratin (A genius, speedy one is going up on the site tomorrow morning! Stay tuned.) and a bright green salad -- anything else is optional.