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Usually called a standing or prime rib roast, a beef rib roast consists of a portion of meat from the mid-rib section of cattle. These roasts vary in size and may contain two to seven ribs, though boneless roasts are available. Both fatty portions and leaner eye meat may be contained in a beef rib roast. They are generally cooked for several hours in the oven with various seasonings.
A beef rib roast will naturally contain rib bones. Ribs six through twelve may be used. The largest roasts will include all of these ribs, but for the smaller cuts the ribs toward the back of the section, called the first cut, are best. The first cut ribs contain more of the lean area and so contain more meat than fat. Although technically a two rib portion of meat is considered a roast, in reality two rib roasts are little bigger than a large steak and so may be cooked more like a steak than a roast.
Boneless rib roasts are usually available. Since the cook no longer has to cut the meat off the bones once the dish is finished cooking, boneless roasts are often more convenient. Cooking with the bones, however, adds additional flavor to the meat. Whether bone-in or bone-out, a beef rib roast is usually one of the more expensive cuts of meats.
Although excess fat is not desired on these roasts, a thin layer of fat is normally present on one side of a good cut of meat. This layer helps to baste and add flavor to the roast as it cooks. For this reason, generally the fat side is placed up when cooking. A beef rib roast is usually cooked in a shallow roasting pan.
Often a dry seasoning mixture is created and rubbed into the meat before cooking. These rubs often contain garlic or garlic powder, as well as salt and pepper. Other spices, such as ground mustard, lemon or cayenne pepper, rosemary, or paprika may also be included. In addition to the rub, a broth-based liquid may be added to the roasting pan. Herb pastes may also be made and slathered on the top of the roast to create a flavorful crust.
Beef rib roasts cook for several hours, depending on their size and desired doneness. Often a meat thermometer is used to determine their doneness more accurately. Once cooked, the roast is usually allowed to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before it is cut.