Smoked Garlic Butter Prime Rib

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Smoked garlic butter prime rib is the best version of smoked prime rib on the internet. Slathered in herb-infused compound butter and slow-smoked to perfection, this prime rib is sure to be the crowning glory of your holiday table.

Sliced prime rib on a wooden cutting board being drizzled with garlic butter with text overlay - Garlic Butter Prime Rib.

Garlic Butter Prime Rib

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

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 to drizzle over the sliced prime rib. It’s absolutely indulgent.

Uncooked prime rib roast on a cutting board.

Ingredients for Garlic Butter Prime Rib

The base of this recipe is extremely simple. All you need to season the roast is high-quality salt and black pepper (Adjust the 1 Tablespoon amounts here as needed to cover the entire roast).

  • 8-10 pound bone-in prime rib roast
  • 1 Tablespoon coarse ground salt
  • 1 Tablespoon black pepper

For the garlic herb butter, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 16 ounces softened butter
  • 8 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 sprigs of finely minced rosemary
  • 2 sprigs of finely minced thyme
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

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 meat. The butter has fresh garlic, fresh herbs, and salt and pepper. It’s 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 covered in garlic butter.

How to Make Garlic Butter Prime Rib

Let’s get going on making this amazing roast! The process is fairly straightforward and should result in an incredible, unforgettable meal. Here’s how to make garlic butter prime rib:

  1. Preheat. Fire up your favorite smoker and allow it to fully preheat to 225 degrees F with oak or hickory wood.
  2. Prep. Trim the top of the roast down to 1/4 inch thick. Season the roast on all sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Slather in garlic butter. Make the garlic butter in a small bowl, and then slather the roast on all sides with the butter.
  4. Smoke. Place the buttered roast on a flat baking rack above a rimmed baking sheet on the smoker. Smoke until the prime rib reaches 120 degrees F for Rare doneness, 125 degrees F for Medium-Rare, or 130 degrees F for Medium doneness.
  5. Rest. Remove the prime rib from the smoker and rest for 20 minutes. Increase the temperature of the smoker to 400 degrees F. Strain the butter and drippings from the baking sheet and set aside. 
  6. Sear. Once the grill reaches 400 degrees F, place the prime rib directly on the grill grates and sear the meat until it reaches your preferred final doneness (130 degrees F for Rare, 135 degrees F for Medium-Rare, or 140 degrees F for Medium).
  7. Enjoy. Remove the garlic butter prime rib from the smoker and rest for around 15 minutes. Drizzle with the reserved drippings before slicing and serving.

Garlic butter prime rib on the grill.

How Long to Smoke Garlic Butter Prime Rib

Plan approximately 35 minutes per pound at 225 degrees F for smoking a rare roast. If you like your prime rib closer to medium, plan on 40 minutes per pound. 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 when factoring in the total amount of time it will take to smoke this garlic butter prime rib.

Of course, the most essential part of smoking a perfectly pink prime rib roast is cooking it 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.

Slice prime rib on a cutting board.

More Prime Rib Recipes

If you liked this garlic prime rib recipe, chances are you’ll love these other two recipes from Hey Grill Hey as well. You can check them both out at the links provided below.

Garlic Butter Prime Rib Recipe

This recipe was created for you, backyard griller! Here at Hey Grill Hey, we’re in the business of helping you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. Over at the Hey Grill Hey Store, we have sauces, rubs, and more to save you time and energy when you’re busy at the grill. Check it out today!

This post was originally published in October 2018. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.

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Smoked Garlic Butter Prime Rib

By: Susie Bulloch (
0 from 0 votes
Smoked garlic butter prime rib is the best version of smoked prime rib on the internet. Slathered in herb-infused compound butter and slow-smoked to perfection, this prime rib is sure to be the crowning glory of your holiday table.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time6 hours 15 minutes
Resting Time15 minutes
Total Time6 hours 45 minutes
Servings10 people



  • 1 8-10 pound bone-in prime rib roast
  • coarse salt and pepper

Garlic Herb Butter

  • 16 ounces softened butter
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 sprigs rosemary finely minced
  • 2 sprigs thyme finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper


  • Preheat. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F for indirect cooking. I recommend oak or hickory for this recipe.
  • Prep the prime rib. 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.
  • Slather in garlic butter. In a small bowl combine the softened butter, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper. Slather the entire roast with the garlic butter.
  • Smoke. Place the roast on a flat rack elevated above a baking sheet on the smoker. Close the lid, and smoke the roast until the internal temperature 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.
  • Rest. 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. While the roast is resting, increase the temperature of your grill to 400 degrees F.
  • Sear the roast. 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, or 140 for medium. This process should go quickly, so keep a close eye on your temperature.
  • Rest, slice, and serve. Remove the prime rib to the cutting board and let the meat rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Drizzle the reserved butter and drippings over the roast for an extra decadent finish.


Calories: 1357kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 62g | Fat: 121g | Saturated Fat: 50g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 52g | Cholesterol: 274mg | Sodium: 668mg | Potassium: 1019mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 0.03g | Vitamin A: 13IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 7mg

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

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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!

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Recipe Rating

Reader Reviews

281 Reviews

  1. Tim says:

    Made this today. Incredibly delicious!!! Definitely in the traeger rotation now!

  2. Sally says:

    Made this last night, and it was amazing! I shouldn’t be surprised because all of your recipes are amazing. I still have a lot of leftovers. Any tips on reheating? We enjoyed our prime rib medium rare.

  3. David says:

    Making it for the 2nd time today and dang the smells are amazing. Put some of the drippings I collect on deviled eggs just cause I cannot wait to taste this bad boy. Was amazing first time and have no doubt will be again. In fact just hit my temp. Later but really go with this recipe.

  4. Paul Pallan says:

    Made this for Christmas and it was delicious and juicy.

  5. Frank says:

    I’m making this tomorrow with a 12 lb bone in prime rib. Substituting the Thyme though as somebody is allergic. Do you think 7 hours will be sufficient at 35 minutes/lb? For a medium-rare roast? I figure if I start it at 11am it should be ready by 6 pm.

  6. Erin says:

    MAKE THIS. If you are lucky enough to have come across this recipe make it! Most amazing prime rib I’ve ever had. Made ours with a bone in cut and that provided some tasty ribs too! I will Never make prime rib any other way. Provides more than enough drippings for Yorkshire puddings as well

  7. Ron says:

    Followed this recipe and it turned out perfect!! First Prime Rib for Christmas with the family and the results got rave reviews. Will be using this again. I cooked a 19lb (7 bone) roast with this recipe and it did not require any adjustments.Thank you Susie!

  8. Dennis says:

    I did a 13lb 4 rib roast on Christmas for our family and it was a huge hit. Best Prime Rib Roast I’ve ever had. That includes restaurants. So tender and the taste was something else.One question I had was, when doing the 400 deg, for 15 minutes at tge end, how do you keep the high heat from causing a grease flare up? I only got about 10 minutes at 400 deg before having to remove it for fear of charing the outside.

  9. Dan Peters says:

    Great recipe. Pull it about 128 for medium rare. It’ll get to 135 while resting.

  10. Carol S says:

    My first prime rib cooked on my Big Green Egg. I knew I could trust your recipe. It was absolute perfection. Simple but elegant….out-of-this-world flavor, Thank you, Susie.