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Mesquite Smoked Prime Rib for Christmas

mesquite smoked prime rib

This week I am featuring mesquite smoked prime rib, one of my favorite cuts of beef. This cut is sometimes referred to as a standing rib roast, depending on where you purchase it.

It is not inexpensive by any means but it is very Christmas worthy and when you want to give the very best at your Christmas dinner, this will do it.

Easy to prepare, super flavorful and goes great with smoke.. what more do you need!

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5-6 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 135 -140°F
  • Recommended Wood: Mesquite or pecan
What You’ll Need
About Prime Rib (Standing Rib Roast)

I highly recommend that you talk to the butcher when purchasing one of these. Let him/her know that this is for a special Christmas dinner and you would like for them to just leave the bones barely attached and to tie it up for you. They will usually be happy to do this for you.

Here you can see how they make a cut along the bones so that it is just barely attached at the ends. This makes for a great presentation and allows the bones to add extra flavor to the meat. Once it’s done, snip the strings and make the final cut to completely remove the bones.

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You can also see how the meat is tied snugly between each bone.

They will also french the bones for you if you ask them. This just means the meat is cut away from the bones so that they are exposed. It makes for a great presentation.

I have seen a lot of prime ribs in the meat case lately, already Frenched, cut and tied up.

Note: Figure on 1 bone for every 2 people eating. So if you will need enough for 8 people, purchase a 4 bone roast. 6 people will require a 3 bone roast.

Prime rib is so full of flavor that it doesn’t take a lot of fuss and muss to make it taste great. In fact, you don’t even have to smoke it and some will even go so far as to say it does not need smoke.

I have found that smoke adds a layer of flavor to the prime rib that I really like and I think you will too.

Season the Meat

Lay the prime rib on the cutting board

Mine was almost 9 lbs and I think the butcher did a great job preparing it for me.

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Brush on a little olive oil or cooking oil to help the rub to stick.

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I used the Texas style rub recip on this prime rib.

This rub recipe is very savory without being overly salty and works really well on beef. I recommend you give it a try

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Mix up a batch of the Texas style rub recipe and use it generously all over the prime rib.

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That is ALL you do to the prime rib.. nothing else is needed or required!

Setup the Smoker

You can use any smoker to smoke this prime rib but I recommend that you use one that allows you to easily control the temperature.

Make sure the heat is indirect.

Set up your smoker to maintain about 225°F for about 5-6 hours.

Smoke the Prime Rib

Once the smoker is ready to go, place the prime rib roast directly on the grate, bones down.

You will notice that I used a Bradley rack to make it easier to transport the meat to and from the smoker.

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I used dry mesquite wood for flavor but you can use pecan, or almost any fruit wood such as cherry for great results. You can keep the smoke going the entire time if you desire or you can go for about 3 hours and that should be plenty.

Try not to open the lid/door of the smoker throughout the entire cook.

Use a digital probe meat thermometer to monitor the temperature and be sure to test it in boiling water beforehand to make sure it is reading within a degree or two of 212°F.

Another great tool is the improved ThermoPop digital pocket thermometer which reads in 3-4 seconds (that’s fast), is splash-proof and is being offered now for only $29. One of my favorite toys.. er, tools;-)

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I recommend cooking the prime rib to medium rare or about 135-140°F. The prime rib pictured above was removed from the smoker at about 138°F.

Finish Up

Once the smoked prime rib hits that magic number of 138°F or whatever you deem it to be, remove it quickly from the smoker and move it to the house. There is no need to wait to cut it but you can hold it for 30 minutes or so by tenting foil over the top of the roast.

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I tented mine for about 20 minutes and it ended up being 141°F when we were ready to slice it.

When ready to slice it up, clip the strings, remove the bones and then slice it into pieces about ¾ inch thick.

I also made a Worcestershire butter for it.. 

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  • 1 stick or ¼ lb. of (real) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1-½ TBS of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp of the Texas style rub

Mix/fold everything together until all ingredients are combined really well.

A little dollop of that on top of the steak is really good!

Questions

How to reheat slices of the prime rib?

Very carefully! You do not want to overheat the meat which will cook it and take it beyond medium rare.

I sometimes just set it on the counter to let it come up to room temperature and just eat it that way to preserve all of that original good flavor. You can also wrap it up in a piece of foil with just a teaspoon of water or beef broth in the bottom of the foil. Place it into a 225 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until it gets as warm as you like it.

Be sure to not let it exceed 140°F or it will no longer be medium rare.

Print

Mesquite Smoked Prime Rib for Christmas

This mesquite smoked prime rib or standing rib roast is a wonderful entree for Christmas dinner. Easy to prepare, super flavorful and goes great with smoke.

  • Author: Jeff Phillips
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 -8 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: Hot Smoking

Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

About Prime Rib (Standing Rib Roast)

  1. Ask the butcher to semi-detach the bones, to tie it up and to french the bones. They are usually happy to offer these services.
  2. Note: Figure on 1 bone for every 2 people eating.

Season the Meat

  1. Lay the prime rib on the cutting board
  2. Brush on a little olive oil or cooking oil to help the rub to stick.
  3. Mix up a batch of the Texas style rub recipe and use it generously all over the prime rib.

Setup the Smoker

  1. You can use any smoker to smoke this prime rib but I recommend that you use one that allows you to easily control the temperature.
  2. Set up your smoker to maintain about 225°F for about 5-6 hours.

Smoke the Prime Rib

  1. Once the smoker is ready to go, place the prime rib roast directly on the grate, bones down.
  2. I used dry mesquite wood for flavor but you can use pecan, or almost any fruit wood such as cherry for great results.
  3. Keep the smoke going the entire time if you desire or you can go for about 3 hours and that should be plenty.
  4. Use a digital probe meat thermometer to monitor the temperature and be sure to test it in boiling water beforehand to make sure it is reading within a degree or two of 212°F.
  5. I recommend cooking the prime rib to medium rare or about 135-140°F.

Finish Up

  1. Once the smoked prime rib hits that magic number of 138 °F or whatever you deem it to be, remove it quickly from the smoker and move it to the house. There is no need to wait to cut it but you can hold it for 30 minutes or so by tenting foil over the top of the roast.
  2. When ready to slice it up, clip the strings, remove the bones and then slice it into pieces about ¾ inch thick.

Worcestershire butter recipe

  1. One stick or ¼ lb. of (real) salted butter, room temperature, 1-½ TBS of Worcestershire sauce, and 1 tsp of the Texas style rub recipe.
  2. Mix/fold everything together until all ingredients are combined really well.

Questions

  1. How to reheat slices of the prime rib? Very carefully! You do not want to overheat the meat which will cook it and take it beyond medium rare. I sometimes just set it on the counter to let it come up to room temperature and just eat it that way to preserve all of that original good flavor. You can also wrap it up in a piece of foil with just a teaspoon of water or beef broth in the bottom of the foil. Place it into a 225 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until it gets as warm as you like it. Be sure to not let it exceed 140°F or it will no longer be medium rare.

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5 Comments

  1. Jeff
    I have used your rub several times and probably won’t use any other. I made a big batch several years ago and didn’t use it all. My question is can it be used over a period of years. I store your rub in the freezer. Will this hurt it?
    Jim

  2. Great Christmas dinner. I smoked a 5 1/2 lb grade prime rib roast. Instead of using olive oil, I coated with prepared horseradish and rubbed w/ SPOG. Smoked just as the recipe called for with mesquite, and this couldn’t have been a better dinner.

  3. ^ Pam- month a tough piece of meat at all. Smoke it or grill it on low heat (225 is what I do on my smoker) and take it to 130-135 and you’ll have a great piece of meat. We slice it thin and put it on buns and dip in an jus. Great French dips. Jeff has good tri tip sirloin recipes on here. My smoked prime rib is about to come off smoker using mesquite pellets!

  4. I have a 12 lbs sirloin tip whole roast I am looking for a recipe for the vision grill. they say that is a tough piece of meat. some say use a dutch oven and some don’t I’m very confused it’s Christmas eve and I don’t know how to cook this roast for tomorrow’s supper can you please help me. and we like ours well done no blood. Merry Christmas :-)