The Ultimate Smoked Prime Rib Recipe | Hey Grill, Hey (2024)

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On February 21, 2023 (Updated October 24, 2023)

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Smoked prime rib is always the crowning glory of every holiday table. Slow-smoked for amazing flavor and then flash-roasted for a rich exterior crust, my method for smoked prime rib ensures perfect results every time!

What is a Prime Rib Roast?

A rib roast is a large cut of beef that comes from the primal rib of the cow. The entire cut contains 7 rib bones and a lot of marbled, tender muscle and can weigh up to 30 pounds.

The label “prime” rib roast refers to the fact that this cut comes from a whole primal muscle, not necessarily the grade of the meat. Prime is typically the highest grade available at your butcher or big box warehouse. Most grocery store butchers carry the next grade down, which is Choice, and below that, you will see Select grade beef. These lower grades are still technically “prime rib” and most recipes you’ll see treat them the same.

What Grade Prime Rib Should I Buy?

The grade of beef makes a BIG difference in your final product, with Prime grade having additional marbling which means more flavor, tenderness, and moisture from that rendering fat. It also means a big difference in the final price of your roast. If you’ve got a big budget and are willing to pay the extra cash, go for the Prime grade and treat yourself!

If you purchase a Choice grade roast, you will still have outstanding results, so don’t fret or overthink it. The magic of this recipe is in the method and the final product will still be amazingly delicious and tender. Choice-grade prime rib will still give you a delicious roast and not cost you (as much of) an arm and a leg as Prime grade beef.

I usually stick with Prime and Choice grade beef when I’m cooking a fancy roast like this, but if your budget is on the lower end, a Select grade roast will work just fine, though it may not be as tender or flavorful as the other grades.

How Much Prime Rib Per Person?

When preparing prime rib for a sit-down dinner, plan on 1 pound of prime rib per person.

By planning on 1 pound of uncooked prime rib per person, you’ll ensure you have enough meat after any necessary trimming and volume lost during the cooking process. It will also leave you with enough meat left over for sandwiches the next day.

If this amount seems like a lot for each person, that’s because it is. Prime rib is an indulgence, and you want your guests to feel well-fed when they leave the table. If you have kids you are counting when calculating how much prime rib per person, you can decrease the total amount you buy knowing that children will likely eat a bit less.

Ingredients for Smokes Prime Rib

Here’s what you’ll need to make this smoked prime rib roast. This recipe is very simple.

  • 10-pound prime rib roast
  • 1/2 cup horseradish mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper

Quick note: Adjust the amount of salt and pepper in this recipe as needed to fully cover the roast on all sides.

How to Smoke a Prime Rib

Now that you have your prime rib roast selected and your ingredients are ready to go, let’s get this beef in the heat! Here’s how to smoke a prime rib.

  1. Preheat. Fire up your favorite smoker and preheat to 225 degrees F with your favorite hardwood for beef.
  2. Trim and season. Combine mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic in a small bowl. Slather the entire roast with the mixture then season liberally with salt and pepper.
  3. Smoke. Place the seasoned roast on the grill grates of the smoker. Close the lid, and smoke until the meat reaches 120 degrees F for Rare, 125 degrees F for Medium Rare, or 130 degrees F for Medium.
  4. Rest. Remove the roast to a cutting board, cover it with aluminum foil, and rest for 20 minutes. Increase the temperature on your grill to 400 degrees F.
  5. Sear. As soon as your smoker reaches 400 degrees F, place the prime rib back on the smoker and smoke until the meat reaches your preferred doneness (130 degrees F for Rare, 135 degrees F for Medium Rare, or 140 degrees F for Medium).
  6. Rest and enjoy. Remove the prime rib from the smoker and allow the meat to rest for around 15 minutes before serving.

How Long to Smoke Prime Rib

It takes approximately 35 minutes per pound to smoke prime rib to Rare doneness with the smoker running steady at 225 degrees F.

If you like your prime rib closer to Medium doneness, plan on 40 minutes per pound at 225 degrees F.

It is key to track the temperature of the meat while it cooks on the smoker so you can remove it when it hits that perfect juicy doneness. I like to use an instant-read meat thermometer to check my temperatures as the meat cooks. You’ll also want to allow at least 30 minutes of rest time and another 15 minutes for the high-heat sear before serving when calculating how long it will take to smoke prime rib from start to finish.

More Prime Rib Recipes

If you’re looking for other delicious prime rib recipes to try out this holiday season, I cannot recommend these more. Both are extremely flavorful and juicy. Click on the links below to head straight to the recipes.

  • Prime Rib on the Grill
  • Garlic Butter Smoked Prime Rib

The Ultimate Smoked Prime Rib Recipe | Hey Grill, Hey (9)Smoked Prime Rib Recipe

Follow the recipe, and let’s make some really good food! If you loved this recipe, please leave it a 5-star review and sound off in the comments section below!

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This post was originally published in December 2017. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.

The Ultimate Smoked Prime Rib Recipe | Hey Grill, Hey (10)


Smoked Prime Rib

By: Susie Bulloch

Smoked prime rib is always the crowning glory of every holiday table. Slow-smoked for amazing flavor and then flash-roasted for a rich exterior crust, my method for smoked prime rib ensures perfect results every time!

Prep Time15 minutes mins

Cook Time6 hours hrs

Resting Time30 minutes mins

Total Time6 hours hrs 45 minutes mins

Servings10 people


  • 1 pound prime rib
  • 1 Tablespoon coarse ground kosher salt adjust amount as needed to fully cover the roast
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper adjust the amount as needed to fully cover the roast

Garlic Mustard Slather

  • ½ cup horseradish mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic minced


  • Preheat. Fire up the smoker and allow it to preheat to 225 degrees F while you prepare the prime rib.

  • Trim the meat. Trim any excess fat from the top of the roast down to 1/4 inch thick.

  • Season. In a small bowl combine the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic. Slather the entire roast with the mustard mixture and season liberally with salt and pepper.

  • Smoke. Place the roast on the grill and close the lid. Smoke until the internal temperature of the roast reaches 120 degrees F for Rare or 130 degrees F for Medium. For a rare, bone-in roast, plan on 35 minutes per pound of prime rib.

  • Rest. Remove the roast to a cutting board, cover the roast with foil, and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.

  • Increase temp in smoker. While the roast is resting, increase the temperature of your grill to 400 degrees F.

  • Sear. Once the grill is up to temperature, return the roast to the grill and sear until you reach your desired internal temperature. Pull the roast off at 130 degrees F for rare, 135 degrees F for medium rare, or 140 degrees for medium. This process should go quickly, so keep an eye on your temperature.

  • Rest, slice, and serve. Remove your roast to the cutting board and let the meat rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.


Calories: 1364kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 62g | Fat: 121g | Saturated Fat: 50g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 52g | Cholesterol: 274mg | Sodium: 995mg | Potassium: 1072mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 6IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!



Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

Read More About Me

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The Ultimate Smoked Prime Rib Recipe | Hey Grill, Hey (2024)


Is it better to smoke prime rib at 225 or 250? ›

Smoke the prime rib at 225 to 235° until it reaches an internal temperature of 100°, which takes about 2 ½ to 3 hours.

How long to smoke a 7 lb prime rib at 225? ›

It should take between 35–40 minutes per pound of meat to reach rare or medium-rare doneness, if you cook it at the recommended smoking temperature of 225 degrees Fahrenheit. The total cooking time could range from between 2–7 hours.

What is the best smoke flavor for prime rib? ›

If you are using a smoker which requires wood chips or chunks to be added for smoke, I recommend keeping a light smoke going for at least 3 hours. You can then finish cooking with just heat. Pecan works great but a few more of my favorites such as mesquite, hickory, oak, or cherry will also yield excellent results.

Is prime rib better smoked or baked? ›

And while you can roast prime rib in the oven for a delicious dinner, smoking your prime on a Traeger, traditional smoker, or other pellet smoker or pellet grill is even better because it makes it so easy and adds a wonderful complexity and smoky flavor to every bite.

How long to cook prime rib at 250 on grill? ›

Set your BBQ to 250°F on indirect cooking. Transfer the meat to a roasting rack — bone side down — with a drip pan underneath, then grill prime rib for 3 to 4 hours. Let it rest, then reverse sear.

How long to grill prime rib at 250? ›

Cook the prime rib low and slow at 250°F until the internal temperature reaches 120°F, about 3 hours, depending on its size. Take the roast off the heat. Crank the heat up to 450°F or 500°F, then return the meat to the grill to crisp the exterior of the roast.

Do you wrap a prime rib when smoking? ›

As the rib roast approaches done, you can wrap it in foil and let it finish off on the smoker—this is a typical method in the smoking process. What you will get is a rich, flavorful, and smoky prime rib.

Do you spray prime rib when smoking? ›

Combine water and cider vinegar in a spray bottle. Coat the prime rib generously with seasoning, and place in the preheated smoker. After 30 minutes, spritz the beef with the apple cider mixture, then repeat the spritz every 30 minutes during the cook. After 1.5 hours, begin monitoring the internal temperature.

Do you smoke prime rib bone up or down? ›

For this prime rib I seared the roast in my oven BEFORE smoking for 15 minutes at 450°F. Simply line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and stand the rib roast, bones down, on the tray.

Should I season prime rib the night before? ›

Rule #7: Season Well, and Season in Advance

For best results, salt your prime rib on all surfaces with kosher salt at least 45 minutes before you start cooking it, and preferably the day before, leaving it in the fridge uncovered overnight. Initially, the salt will draw out some moisture and end up dissolving in it.

What do you spray on prime rib when smoking? ›

what to do. Combine water and cider vinegar in a spray bottle. Coat the prime rib generously with Smokey Joes éspresso seasoning, and place in the preheated smoker. After 30 minutes, spritz the beef with the apple cider mixture, then repeat the spritz every 30 minutes during the cook.

How long do I let prime rib rest? ›

Resting: Remove the roast from the oven. Loosely tent with foil and let it rest on the counter for 30 minutes. During this time the lowest internal temperature should rise to between 130 and 134°F (55-57°C) for Medium Rare or to between 135 and 140°F (58-60°C) for Medium.

Is prime rib better than ribeye? ›

However, the prime rib typically contains more bone and fat, which might give it a slight edge over the eye in terms of flavor. Bone-in ribeye, though, also benefits from the natural flavoring that comes from being cooked with the bone, so its flavor doesn't stray far from the prime rib.

Should I wrap prime rib in foil? ›

Do you cover prime rib roast when cooking? You can cover rib roast when cooking after searing it to help it retain some of its moisture, but it's not necessary. For the best results, leave the roast uncovered until you remove it from the oven or grill and place it at room temperature for resting.

Why does prime rib taste different? ›

Prime ribs and ribeye steaks come from the same primal cut of beef. The difference in their flavors comes from the way one cooks them. Prime ribs slowly roast under low heat. This makes them more tender.

How many minutes per pound at 225 degrees do I cook a prime rib? ›

Doing a little research online and have come up with about 4 different theories on how long to cook a prime rib per pound at 225 (reverse sear) - from 35 to 20 minutes per pound.

Is 250 too high to smoke ribs? ›

This is one of the most simple and straightforward methods for smoked spare ribs because sometimes, simple really is the best. Here's how to do it: Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees F. Use your favorite hardwood. I recommend fruit, hickory, or apple wood for these ribs.

What is the best temperature for prime rib? ›

Aim for 115 to 120°F for medium rare (125 to 130°F after resting), or 125 to 130°F for medium (135 to 140°F after resting). And remember, a roast will continue to rise by 5 to 10°F as it rests (see rule #13 below), so make sure to pull it out early to account for that!

How long does it take to cook a 4 lb roast at 225? ›

The size and shape of your roast makes a difference in cooking time. As a general rule of thumb, at 225°F, cook your roast for about 30 minutes per pound, after the initial browning (for a medium rare). But be sure to check at least 30 minutes before it should be done, just to make sure.


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