Garlic Butter Smoked Prime Rib

October 21, 2018

Garlic Butter Smoked Prime Rib is the best version of smoked prime rib on the internet. Slathered in an herb infused compound butter and slow smoked to perfection, this prime rib recipe is meat goals! This post is sponsored by MEATER.

garlic butter smoked prime rib


I am all about slow smoked hunks of beef, and there is nothing more indulgent or delicious than a slow smoked prime cut of a beef rib roast. I’ve been smoking prime rib roasts for years, but this method quickly shot up to the top of my favorite preparations. The entire roast is enrobed in a seasoned garlic butter to infuse the roast with flavor and slowly baste the exterior of the meat during the smoking process.

The flavors in the seasoned butter are inspired by a “resting butter” I use on grilled steaks. The idea is to enhance the beef’s natural flavor without overpowering those subtle earthy notes in the beef. The butter has fresh garlic, fresh herbs, and salt and pepper. Simple, but absolutely incredible. The garlic and herbs smoke on the outside edges of the prime rib roast and make the most delicious crust ever!

prime rib roast

Another bonus from this smoked garlic butter crust is the melted browned butter drippings. I smoke my garlic butter prime rib on a rack above a baking sheet. That way, as the meat smokes and the butter slowly melts, it collects underneath the roast and bubbles and browns. When the roast is finished, I strain that gorgeous butter, season it with a little salt, and use that as a finishing sauce drizzle over the sliced prime rib. Absolutely indulgent.

smoking prime rib


To make the best prime rib, I believe you should consider smoking it. I feel like I’ve mastered the cooking process in my viral video for “Smoked Prime Rib” so that’s what I recommend. The process is incredibly simple, and if you are without a smoker, you can still follow the same time and temperature guidelines with great success.

For this recipe, I recommend using a roast between 8-10 pounds. For a roast larger than that, the timing changes a little bit as the roast gets longer, but not necessarily bigger round. Plan 35 minutes per pound at 225 degrees F for smoking a rare roast. 40 minutes per pound at 225 degrees F for smoking a medium roast. Don’t forget to allow at least 30 minutes of rest time and another 15 minutes or so for the high heat sear before serving.

Of course, the most important part of smoking a perfectly pink prime rib roast is cooking to the correct internal temperature. For that, I recommend getting an internal thermometer that you can use to track your prime rib during the entire cooking process. I used the MEATER thermometer to track both the internal temperature of the meat as well as the ambient temperature of my smoker. MEATER also has an amazing feature where it will estimate your total cook time for you by calculating the temperature of your smoker and the temperature of your meat. It removes all of the guess work out of smoking prime rib.

smoked prime rib recipe

One thing to always remember when cooking a large roast is carryover cooking. That is where your meat continues cooking and rising in temperature even after being removed from the smoker. This is a part of the cooking process where the MEATER thermometer really shines. The MEATER thermometer will actually notify you within the app when your meat is ready to remove from the heat and rest.

For example, if I want my finished prime rib roast to be medium rare (135 degrees F) I will actually pull the prime rib out of the heat at 5-7 degrees F below the finished temperature, when alerted by my MEATER. During the 15-20 minutes after removing the roast from the smoker, it will continue to cook and rise up to the perfect medium rare finish.

Smoked Prime Rib Recipe

5 from 3 votes
Garlic Butter Smoked Prime Rib
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
6 hrs 15 mins
Resting Time
20 mins
Total Time
6 hrs 25 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Smoked Prime Rib
Servings: 10
Author: Susie Bulloch (
  • 1 8-10 pound bone-in prime rib roast
  • coarse salt and pepper
Garlic Herb Butter
  • 16 oz softened butter
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 sprigs rosemary finely minced
  • 2 sprigs thyme finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  1. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F for indirect cooking using a hardwood like oak or hickory for smoking.

  2. While the grill is warming up, prepare your roast. Trim any excess fat from the top of the roast down to 1/4 inch thick. Season on all sides with an even sprinkling of salt and pepper.
  3. In a small bowl combine the softened butter, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper. Slather the entire roast with the butter mixture.
  4. Place the roast on a flat rack elevated above a baking sheet, place on the smoker and close the lid. Smoke until the internal temperature of the roast reaches 120 degrees F for Rare or 128 degrees F for Medium. For a rare, bone-in roast, plan on 35 minutes per pound of prime rib.
  5. Remove the roast to a cutting board and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Strain the butter and drippings from the baking sheet into a separate bowl and set aside.
  6. While the roast is resting, increase the temperature of your grill to 400 degrees F.
  7. 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 for medium rare, 140 for medium. This process should go quickly, so keep an eye on your temperature.
  8. Remove your roast to the cutting board and let the meat rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.


This post contains affiliate links. For more information on them, visit our Privacy Policy

20 thoughts on “Garlic Butter Smoked Prime Rib

  1. being a meatcutter for over 40 yrs,always look for a pink color meat with nice white flecks of fat .ask the meatcutter cut the rib off the bones and tie it back on.we the rib is done,cut the strings,let the rib rest,and put the bones back in the pan,then into the hot grill or oven to cook the ribs alittle more.take the bones out and you have a great appitizer before the meal.and always be nice to your meatcutter. he can make or break your meal.

  2. I cooked this recipe on 11/4/18 for the first time, cooked to medium temperature. Turned out great. However, one question I had was regarding the rest time between the smoker and the grill. The recipe calls for 20 minutes of rest between the smoking portion and the grilling portion. Pulling from a 225F smoker, the carryover cooking is only going to add about 5 degrees to the center temperature. But by 20 minutes, the outer portions of the meat have started to cool while the center has reached maximum temperature (+5 degrees from when taken out of smoker). I found that on a 400 degree grill after a 20 minute rest it took a very long time for the center temperature to start rising again because the outer portions had to absorb all the heat back before the center started cooking further. Is that expected? I had to leave it on the grill another 30-45 minutes @400 to get the last few degrees.

    1. I have found with the larger roasts, that my carry over cooking is closer to 10 degrees (I usually leave in my thermometer). However, if yours is less, I would recommend leaving the roast on the smoke setting for a longer time to get you closer to that target temp. That way you don’t need to spend so much time during the searing phase.

    2. Put your roast in a disposable pan, cover with foil.
      Have an ice chest handy an put towels on the bottom, an towels on top
      Close lid

    1. Once you get above 10 pounds, it won’t really increase the cook time too much, because the diameter and surface area of the roast being cooked is pretty similar. I would plan maybe 30-45 extra minutes at 225, butnyou could push that to an hour, just to be safe. Remember to plan on time to rest the meat also.

  3. Looking forward to making this today! I’m doing a “test run” to see if prime rib (smoked, of course) will be our definitive Christmas dinner. My quick question: what liquid should I put in the pan at the bottom of my electric smoker? I’ve used apple cider for chicken, ribs, etc. but not sure what to use here. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *