Smoked Prime Rib Roast

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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!

Sliced prime rib roast on a bed of fresh herbs with text overlay - Smoked Prime Rib.

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.

Uncooked prime rib on a cutting board next to bowls of spices.

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.

Prime rib being slathered with a horseradish mustard sauce.

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.

Salt being sprinkled on a prime rib roast.

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.

Prime rib on a smoker.

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.

Smoked prime rib on a cutting board.


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.

Sliced prime rib roast on a bed of fresh herbs.

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.

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.

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Smoked Prime Rib

By: Susie Bulloch
4.88 from 56 votes
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
Cook Time6 hours
Resting Time30 minutes
Total Time6 hours 45 minutes
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!

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Recipe Rating

Reader Reviews

307 Reviews

  1. Bill Fisher says:

    Precise, user-friendly instructions and excellent photo illustrations! Was nearly convinced that to avoid a grey outer ring one had to pre-sear. Your results show a cap just as red as the center. What are the keys to focus on in order to achieve such uniformity?

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      Some of it is up to your smoker, but trimming your prime rib as evenly as possible is key.

  2. Lonnie Mooneyham says:

    How Long should I smoke a 25lb prime rib (boneless). I will cut it into to make it fit into the smoker, and smoke both at the same time

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      At 225 you want to plan about 40 minutes per pound. When you get beyond 14-16 pounds, the cut is usually just longer so the times shouldn’t change much. Just make sure to use a reliable meat thermometer.

  3. Justin says:

    Made this for Easter, and it did not disappoint! My brother and cousin said it was the best prime rib they have ever had. Will be making this again 100 percent guaranteed! Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Miguel Taylor says:

    This was my first Rib Roast. Father in Law loved it. He said it was cooked perfectly. Doing another next week. He hugged me and said don’t change a thing.

    1. Sandy Carl says:

      I plan to smoke a ribeye roast for Memorial day and wanted to ask if dry brining in the fridge for 24 hours would be beneficial. A simple rub of garlic pdr onion pdr salt pepper and paprika perhaps?

  5. Bruce Waldrop says:

    Did a smaller roast with 3 bones (5 pounds). Camp Chef pellet grill using Pit Boss competition pellets. Followed the recipe exactly…took about 3 hours total. Best rib roast I’ve ever done and I’ve done a lot. Great recipe and will definitely use it again.

  6. Pamela Baughman says:

    What do you recommend for wood for your smoker?

  7. Darren says:

    Really like this receipe and have used it multiple times now. . Thank you so much.

  8. Bruce says:

    Made it for Christmas Eve dinner.It was excellent cooked in a BGE. Best prime rib we’ve ever had. 3 ribs, 5.5 lbs. The recipe ingredients scaled with the weight selection, but the cook time listed doesn’t. The recipe guidelines of 40 min/pound and pull temps were close for medium. Will definitely make again. I’ll use the same recipe for the oven if it’s too cold out next year.The butter drippings and juice in the cutting board well were great spooned over the meat.Thanks for this recipe!

  9. Steve says:

    Followed the recipe and smoked it on my Camp Chef with Bear Mountain Gourmet Blend pellets. Used Montreal seasoning instead of salt and pepper. Took it off my smoker, wrapped it in foil, plastic wrap and a towel. Rested in my cooler chest for two hours. Best prime rib we ever had! Thank you so much!!