I love serving smoked prime rib at Christmas time and this one turned out just amazing! Smoked low and slow for about 5 hours with pecan wood to a perfect medium rare and then sliced thick and served to my salivating guests.

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 135°F
  • Recommended Wood: Pecan and/or Cherry
What You'll Need
Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

Step 1: Prep It

Because time is such a commodity, I always ask the butcher to prep the prime rib for me. They will either remove the bones completely or just barely leave them hanging on. The bones are then put back into place and the prime rib is tied up.

This makes for a nicer presentation in my opinion.

I usually have them french the bones as well which is just a fancy way of saying the meat/fat between the bones is removed so that the bones are sticking out all on their own. It tends to look more elegant that way.. or so I am told.

Here's what it looks like if you “french” the bones.

This is not a difficult thing to do but if your butcher will do it, let him.

Step 3: Oil it Down

As usual, I like to add a little something to help the seasoning to stick. There's nothing worse than seasoning an entire roast only to watch half of it fall off when it's moved.

Use a little olive or vegetable oil on the meat. Pour it onto the meat then use a silicone brush to spread it out.

Step 4: Add the Seasoning

I recommend my Texas style rub recipe on this cut of meat. I have used the original rub very successfully as well but most folks seem to enjoy the more savory aspect of the Texas style rub recipe on this robust piece of beef.

Once it's oiled up, just sprinkle the seasoning generously on all sides. Don't forget the ends.

(Purchase formula for Texas style rub here | Purchase bottled rub)

Step 5: Get the Smoker Ready

I made sure the pellet hopper on the Traeger Lil' Tex Elite was full to the top, opened the smoker and set it to “smoke” using the knob on the controller.

After just a few minutes you see smoke start coming out of the burn pot and then after just a few minutes more, the pellets catch fire.

At this point, I closed the lid and set the knob on the controller to 225°F.

If you are using a different pellet smoker such as the Camp Chef Woodwind SG (which is on sale right now for $100 off the regular price) or any other smoker, simply do what is required to maintain the heat at 225-240°F and once it is maintaining the goal temperature, you are ready to smoke some prime rib!

I also just received a Pit Barrel Cooker and from what I hear it does a phenomenal job on prime rib! I have enjoyed cooking some amazing ribs and an awesome holiday turkey in it recently.

Step 7: Smoke It

Place the prime rib directly on the smoker grate or you can leave it on the Bradley rack or Weber grill pan if that is what you are using.

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.

As you can see, it's very easy to get a prime rib ready to cook.. the most important part of the process, monitoring the temperature, starts after you place it on the smoker grate.

I use the Thermoworks “Smoke” thermometer to make sure the meat is monitored while it cooks. This is the best leave-in, digital remote, dual probe thermometer on the market in my humble opinion and if you are serious about smoking meat and want a tough, durable thermometer that will last a very long time, then you need to look into getting one of these very soon! You will love it!

Why is temperature so important? Unlike brisket and many other beef cuts that we cook in the smoker, the prime rib is at it's best at medium rare and this occurs at about 135°F. Some folks like it a little more done than this and that is fine if you must.

Remove it at 130°F and the carryover cooking will bring it on up to a perfect 135°F while it rests on the counter.

The slices on the end tend to get a little more done than the slices in the middle so those can also be reserved for those who like it a little more done.

Tent the meat with foil for just a few minutes once it's done to let the juices settle down a bit.

You can expect the cooking time to be around 5 hours but be sure to let temperature be your only guide for determining when the roast is actually done.

Step 9: Slice and Serve

Cut the strings that you used to tie up the rib roast and remove the rack of bones. These are probably pretty spare on meat but I like to gnaw on them and make sure.

Slice the roast into ½ to ¾ inch slices and lay the pieces on a fancy serving platter.

Call dinner and enjoy!

Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

Purchase the Formulas for Jeff's Rub and Sauce
**Instant Download!**
Jeff's Original Rub Recipe
Jeff's Barbecue Sauce

***Note: you get the Texas style rub recipe free with your order!

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Read these recent testimonies:

Love the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well!

Peter S.

Love the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future!

Michelle M.

I tried the rub on a beef brisket and some beef ribs the other day and our entire family enjoyed it tremendously. I also made a batch of the barbeque sauce that we used on the brisket as well as some chicken. We all agreed it was the best sauce we have had in a while.

Darwyn B.

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Printable Recipe

Smoked Prime Rib for Christmas
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
5 hrs
 
I love serving smoked prime rib at Christmas time and the Traeger Lil' Texas Elite I received just a few weeks back is making it even more special with it's ability to smoke low and slow for a while then crank it up with the flick of a switch to add a little heat and finish it off right.
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Hot Smoking
Servings: 6
Author: Jeff Phillips
What You'll Need
  • Prime Rib or Standing Rib Roast
  • Olive or vegetable oil
  • Jeff's Texas Style Rub
Instructions
Step 1: Prep the Prime Rib
  1. Ask the butcher to cut off the bones and then tie it all back up for you. You can also ask him to "french" the bones for you to make it look real nice.
Step 2: Oil and Seasoning
  1. Apply a good coating of oil to the entire outside surface of the prime rib to help the seasoning to stick.
  2. Sprinkle Jeff's Texas style rub onto the meat on all sides. Don't forget the ends.
Step 3: Smoke Time
  1. Setup your smoker for cooking at about 225°F
  2. Apply light smoke for the entire time if possible or for at least 3 hours.
  3. Monitor the temperature and when the temperature reaches about 135 °F, remove it from the smoker.
  4. Tent foil over the top of the meat and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
Step 4: Slice and Serve
  1. Cut the strings that are holding the roast and bones together.
  2. Remove the rack of bones and set them aside.
  3. Slice the roast into ½ to ¾ inch slices.
  4. Serve to your guests and enjoy!
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