Roast beef mise en place. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Every Christmas Day our family cooks a prime rib with Yorkshire pudding and a beef jus (made from beef-veal stock), and there’s no better way to cook a rack of beef or a whole beef tenderloin than this combination grill-roast method, which I’ve written about here before and in Ruhlman’s Twenty: A Cook’s Manifesto. It gives the meat great grilled flavor and allows you perfect control of temperatures and timing (the grilling can be done up to three days before the final cooking).

The ribs themselves are an added benefit. You can serve them immediately, but I like to save them for a second leftover meal the next day. They’re delicious spread with some Dijon mustard and bread crumbs, cayenne if you like it hot, then broiled. When ordering the roast, I plan on 1 pound/450 grams per person, which is usually enough to have leftovers.

This method must be done on a charcoal grill. Gas grills give you nothing but flame-ups and bitter black smoke. The meat is first seared over high heat, then moved to the cool side of the grill and covered so that it’s smoke-roasted. It’s then put in an oven and brought to a temperature between 120˚F/50˚C and 125˚F/52˚C if you want it rare. I then crank the oven for the Yorkshire pudding (poured right into the roasting pan or into popover molds). The beef will rest for 30 minutes while you finish the meal. See below for carving info.

It’s a great way to serve this special cut of beef to a big group and enjoy yourself in the process.

Pre-holiday days can be stressful; plan ahead to reduce the stress, and enjoy what should be happy days with friends and family. Happy holidays to all!


Grilled and Roasted Beef

  • One 6-pound/2.7-kilogram rack of beef
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely cracked coriander seeds
  1. Rinse the beef and pat it dry. Line an appropriately sized baking sheet or platter with paper towels. Liberally sprinkle the beef all over with the kosher salt. You should have a nice crust of salt on the exterior. This is best done several days before cooking; refrigerate the beef, uncovered, until the day you cook it.
  2. Remove the beef from the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours before grilling. Rub the beef with the oil and sprinkle all sides with the pepper and the coriander.

    Grilling off the sides of the roast. I’ll add more pepper and coriander next time!

  3. Build a hot fire in one half of the grill (you’ll be searing all sides of the rack of beef first). Spread the coals out, put an oiled grill rack over them, and allow it to get hot. Put the beef on the rack over the coals, and cover. Sear it on all sides (covering will keep more smoke on the meat and reduce the flames from the rendering fat). When all sides are seared, a few minutes on each side, move the roast to the cool side of the grill cover and cook another 10 minutes.

    Achieving some beautiful grill marks.

  4. If you’re serving the beef immediately, preheat the oven to 250°F/120°C. Put the beef on a rack in a roasting pan or on a baking sheet and roast it to an internal temperature of 125°F/52°C for rare or 130°F/54°C for medium-rare. This will take 15 to 20 minutes per pound, but can vary depending on the internal temperature of the meat when you began cooking it. I recommend a cable thermometer; I use my RediCheck or the cool new iGrill, both of which sound an alarm when it hits the desired temperature (the iGrill also sends the temperature to my iPhone!). This way, I can talk to family, enjoy myself completely, and forget about the meat till it’s ready.
  5. If you’re cooking the beef ahead of time, refrigerate it after grilling and cooling, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate it. To finish it, let it sit at room temperature for 4 hours or so before putting it in the oven. It should take 15 minutes per pound at this point. If you’re grilling and roasting on the same day, it can be taken straight from the grill and left at room temperature until you’re ready to roast it.

    All done grilling and now to finish off cooking in the oven.

  6. Allow the meat to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature after you remove it from the oven.

    Checking the internal temperature of the roast.

  7. Remove the beef loin from the ribs, slicing along the ribs downward to remove the loin in one piece. It’s best to do this on a carving board with a moat, or channel, around the periphery. The beef will release a lot of juice, which can be spooned over the meat when serving. Slice the meat as desired. If you wish to serve whole pieces on the bone, simply slice them whole and serve with the juices.

Serves 6


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© 2012 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2012 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


19 Wonderful responses to “The Grill-Roast Technique: Prime Rib”

  • Richard

    Since I don’t have a charcoal grill, I use the Blowtorch Prime Rib method from ad hoc at home. It’s the only way I do prime rib anymore.

  • Jill Moberg

    I’ve gotten my fancy new digital meat thermometer and I’m heading out today to get my meat! I love the idea of pre-salting several days before. Generally I’ve just done overnight, but this year I’m trusting my beef to you 🙂 Hopefully the weather holds up here in Ohio and I’ll make it out to the grill on Christmas (Eve for us). Merry Christmas Michael!

  • Jason Parsons

    I concur and have been doing it this way for over a decade now. Rotisserie would be a great technique too if you could get the balance right.

  • Matt

    looks good. I too am going with TK’s ad hoc blowtorch prime rib this christmas (again!) One general comment…why don’t recipes/cookbooks/chefs/etc…make a bigger deal about carryover cooking. I’ve found that pulling my last several rib roasts at 115 degrees from the oven has them carryover to 125-135 degrees. Of course, carryover depends on the size of your roast and the temperature of your oven. Even TK says to roast to 128 degrees but makes no mention in Ad hoc that you’ll want to pull the roast much earlier unless you want a roast in the 145+ range, which is ruined, in my opinion…

    • Michael Ruhlman

      agreed, I went back and forth on temp to pull it at. really does vary hugely. a really big roast can go up by 15 degrees. resting is just as important as cooking in my opinion.

  • Edwin

    That Prime Rib must cause quite a stir at the Ruhlman den. Will you have a stock recipe/technique following this post, with the bones?

    • Michael Ruhlman

      I’ll roast a pound of beef bones and a pound of veal bones (I use bones and meat from , cover with water and cook on low for ten hours or overnight in a 180˚ oven. then add an onion, two carrots, 2 celery, well sweated or even browned, garlic peppercorns if you wish, a bay leaf and a tablespoon of tomato paste and cook another hour or two. strain, de-fat, and reduce till super delicious, thicken with a cornstarch slurry before serving.

      • Jill Moberg

        A perfect stock method … I’ve used it many times since reading “Twenty”. Delicious stock every time!

  • Tags

    The only thing missing in these pictures is Fred Flintsone’s car tipped over on its side… or an 18-wheeler, for that matter. I do doubt that there has ever been a brontosaurus whose meat is as superbly marbled as your prime rib, however.

  • Kelly Cannon

    I love this technique. I’m planning to make a fairly large pork prime rib roast for Christmas this year, and it seems like it should work as well with pork as with beef. Would you recommend adapting it in any way for pork, or can I pretty much go with what you’ve laid out above?

  • Teri

    Our prime rib turned out absolutely amazing. We grill year around, who cares it was only 5 degrees outside.


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