How to Grill Prime Rib Roast

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Last updated November 23, 2018

Prime rib roast is probably the most luxurious piece of meat, and when it’s cooked following the below technique, it melts in your mouth.

Why is it so good? The spinalis dorsi (rib eye cap) blankets the eye of the roast, providing beefy, fatty flavor throughout, while crisping up to add an impressive texture.

I highly recommend choosing a prime rib that carries a USDA grade of choice or prime. If you’re going to pay a little extra for this special cut, you might as well invest in one that will be undeniably incredible. My market carries choice rib roasts for about $8 a pound, so plan to spend around $50.

Prepping the Prime Rib

How to Grill Prime Rib Roast

Remove the Silver Skin

If you’ve cooked ribs before, you know how important it is to remove the silver skin from the back of the bones. It’s a tough membrane that can ruin a good bite. The rib roast has this membrane, too.

Flip the roast upside down and grab the membrane with a paper towel. Peel it off and toss it in the trash.

How to Grill Prime Rib Roast

Rub + Rest

Unlike turkey that gets a wet brine in the fridge, our prime rib gets a dry brine and is left out on the counter.

The counter. What? Is that safe? Yep. It sure is, so long as you don’t exceed four hours.

You want to leave it on the counter, so it gradually comes to temp before it hits the grill. If you put it on the grill at a 40-degree fridge temp, it’s not going to cook evenly. The center will take longer to warm while the outside overcooks.

I leave it on the counter for 2-3 hours, and while it’s sitting around waiting, I slather it with robust herbs and my signature ingredient – allspice. While the beef is adjusting to room temperature it’s breathing in the herbs like an aromatherapy treatment.

Grilling the Prime Rib

The cooking method has 3 stages: slow cook, crust creation and rest.

How to Grill Prime Rib Roast

Slow Cook

For an uber-tender prime rib, you want to keep that slow warm-up going by grilling it at a low heat over indirect heat. We like 250F. Be sure to set the prime rib on the grill fat side up. This way, any fat juices will render back into the center of the roast.

You don’t want to cook it all the way at this temp. Aim for an internal meat temperature of 110F degrees. I recommend using a digital thermometer, like the ThermoWorks Smoke. It will alert you when your meat reaches 110F.

A 6-pound rib roast will take about 2 hours.

How to Grill Prime Rib Roast

Crust Creation

The best part of a rib roast is the herbaceous crust. To create this, you need to crank the grill heat up to 400F degrees.

Then, just keep on grilling until the internal temp reaches 135F. Remember to change your digital thermometer, so it alerts you when it’s ready.

How to Grill Prime Rib Roast

The Rest

Once you roast reaches 135F, pull it off the grill and let it rest for 30 minutes while you get the rest of dinner finished.

This step is so important. If you cut the prime rib right away, all of those magical juices will be lost on the cutting board. If you rest the beef, the juices will reabsorb back into the meat, which means every bite will juicy.

If you’re worried about your meat being cold when you serve it, don’t. Your meat is actually going to continue to rise in temperature 5-10 degrees during the resting period. If you’re still skeptical, serve it on heated plates.

How to Grill Prime Rib Roast

How to Please Everyone

I like my beef medium rare, but I respect that there are those who prefer their meat cooked longer. If everyone eating the roast likes their meat medium or medium well, go ahead and cook the meat longer.

If there are just a couple of folks who like their beef extra dead, cut their slice and throw it back on the grill, and cook it to their doneness preference.

Here are the cooking temps to help you out

Medium Rare 135F

Medium 145F

Medium Well 150F

Well Done 160F

How to Grill Prime Rib with Your Grill

Pellet Smoker

This is by far the easiest grill to use because you adjust the temp just like you would an oven. What makes it better than an oven though is that the heat is generated by wood pellets that add a smoky flavor. I use a combo of cherry and oak pellets.

With my FireCraft Q450, I adjust the temp just like I described above, and I use the grill’s included thermometer to monitor the meat temp.

Gas Grill

To create an indirect heat zone, turn on one burner and adjust it from low to medium until your grill registers at 250 degrees. To get the smoky grill flavor, use an Amazen Pellet Tube Smoker with cherry pellets. Place your meat on the opposite side of the grill and rotate it halfway through the cook.

When it’s time to raise the heat, turn the one burner to high. If the grill doesn’t quite reach 400, turn on another burner. You may need to rotate the meat during the hot part of the cook to avoid one side of the roast cooking faster than the other.

Charcoal Grill

Light your coals until they have a gray ash. Push them to one side of the grill. Adjust your grill vents, until your grill registers at 250 degrees. Add your meat to the side without coals. You can add wet wood chips to the coals for smoky flavor, or use hickory charcoal briquettes. When it’s time to increase the heat, adjust your vents. You may need to add more briquettes.

Big Green Egg

Light your coals and add the plate setter to diffuse the heat. Adjust the bottom and top vent, until the grill registers at 250 degrees. Add wet wood chips for added smoke. When it’s time to increase the heat, open both vents to increase air flow. You can also use a device like the Flame Boss to control the heat automatically.


I realize I may not have converted all of you to the grill yet. So good news – you can roast this in the oven, too. You just won’t get that same smoky flavor that you get on the grill. Follow the steps above, adjusting the temp from 250 to 400 and monitoring the meat temp.

sliced prime rib laying on white paper near grilled carrots

Grilled Prime Rib Roast

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef, grilled, prime rib, roast
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 6 hours
Servings: 12
Calories: 712 kcal
Author: Christie Vanover

Prime rib roast is probably the most luxurious piece of meat. When it's cooked following our technique, it melts in your mouth with an herbaceous crust.



  • 6 lb rib roast
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


  1. Combine the oil, garlic and spices in a bowl. Rub all over the meat. Let rest on the counter at room temperature for 2-3 hours.

  2. Heat the grill to 250F degrees with indirect heat.

  3. Place the roast on the grill, fat side up. Cook until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 110F degrees, about 2 hours.

  4. Raise the grill heat to 400F degrees. Grill until the internal temperature reaches 135F degrees, about 30 minutes. Remove from the grill. Let it rest 30 minutes before slicing.

  5. Slice and serve. For those who like their rib roast well done, throw their slice back on the grill until it reaches their preferred doneness.

Nutrition Facts
Grilled Prime Rib Roast
Amount Per Serving
Calories 712 Calories from Fat 567
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 63g 97%
Saturated Fat 25g 125%
Cholesterol 137mg 46%
Sodium 1264mg 53%
Potassium 515mg 15%
Total Carbohydrates 1g 0%
Protein 30g 60%
Vitamin A 0.9%
Vitamin C 1.5%
Calcium 2.4%
Iron 19%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Prime rib roast is probably the most luxurious piece of meat. When it's cooked following our technique, it melts in your mouth with an herbaceous crust.
By |2018-11-23T09:56:30+00:00December 11, 2016|


  1. Erwin December 23, 2017 at 4:41 am - Reply

    The recipe calls for olive oil. I don’t see where to use it in the cooking process. I assume the oil gets spread over the roast before the dry rub. I’m cooking a prime rib for Christmas dinner.
    Thank you

    • Christie December 23, 2017 at 6:54 am - Reply

      The olive oil is part of the rub. Mix it in with all of the spices. Enjoy. Merry Christmas.

  2. Terry March 2, 2018 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    Do you have an estimate for time on a much larger rib roast – like 13-15 pounds?
    Thank you!!

    • Christie March 3, 2018 at 1:38 pm - Reply

      Sounds like you know how to have a party. It will probably take 4-5 hours.

      • Terry March 5, 2018 at 6:39 am - Reply

        Thank you!!

  3. C Hofmann March 30, 2018 at 8:53 am - Reply

    We have two 5 lb roasts to put on the grill at the same time. Any thoughts or adjustments?

    • Christie April 4, 2018 at 8:22 pm - Reply

      You should only need to adjust the time by 30-60 minutes. The adjustment is needed because the cooler meat can bring the temp of your grill down. However, I recommend resting your prime rib at room temperature for 2-3 hours before you grill it. If you do that, the adjustment should be pretty minor.

  4. Walter Matera May 24, 2018 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    How about a pork standing rib roast with pork belly laid over it. Should work the same way, no?

    • Christie May 28, 2018 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      That’s quite a feast you’re planning. You’ll need to cook a pork rib roast longer than beef. Shoot for a temp of around 145. I don’t recommend laying the pork belly on the roast. Belly is best when cooked to about 200, but if you cook your roast that long, it will dry out.

  5. Milton Findley August 19, 2018 at 8:42 am - Reply

    The first time I used your method the roast turned out absolutely wonderful. I use a jerk seasoning as a dry rub, and of course, allspice is a big part of that. Today I am doing a 5 rib version in my Kamado Joe, and looking forward to it. I do the temperature control with a Flame Boss, and after set up, I grill from my easy chair.

    • Christie Vanover August 23, 2018 at 9:13 am - Reply

      I bet the jerk was a great twist. So glad the recipe worked well for you.

  6. Green Bay September 2, 2018 at 10:49 am - Reply

    Where can I get prime rib for 8 BUCKS A POUND?

    • Christie Vanover September 2, 2018 at 11:10 am - Reply

      Not sure where you live. I live in Vegas. One of the best times to buy prime rib is around Thanksgiving. Everyone is so focused on turkey that time of year, beef usually goes on sale.

    • mary curtis December 22, 2018 at 12:41 pm - Reply

      Aldi 5.99 per lb usda!!

  7. Lorraine Bloomer September 4, 2018 at 8:41 am - Reply

    are you are using a bone-in or boneless prime rib?

  8. Mike Haryett September 7, 2018 at 7:18 am - Reply

    Hi Christie,

    We were looking for a recipe for grilling prime rib. I came across your website and went with yours. We were having our family for dinner so we purchased a 7lb. prime rib. We live in Ontario, Canada. The cost was $90.00 so I DID NOT want to ruin an expensive piece of beef! We followed your instructions to a T. The prime rib was perfect!! My family loved it and we will all be using your recipe in the future. Thanks very much.
    Mike Haryett

    • Christie Vanover September 7, 2018 at 7:47 am - Reply

      Fantastic! It’s always a little scary to cook such an expensive cut. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Pat November 10, 2018 at 11:57 am - Reply

    Hey Christie, I’m a first time prime rib grilller. When you say “heat grill to 250 with indirect heat, does that mean to only turn on half the burners and put the meat on non lit half? Just trying to clarify. Can wait!! Thanks in Advance.

    • Christie Vanover November 10, 2018 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      Yes. That’s exactly right, if you’re using a gas grill. If you’re using charcoal, push the coals to one side, and put the meat over the non-coal side. If you’re using a pellet grill, the deflector plate makes the heat indirect. If you’re using a ceramic cooker, use the plate setter to diffuse the direct heat.

  10. john November 11, 2018 at 10:32 am - Reply

    about how long does it take to go from the 110 degree slow cook portion of the cook to the 135 degree 400 degree part of the cook??

  11. Chop November 20, 2018 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    When you say:
    Crust Creation
    The best part of a rib roast is the herbaceous crust. To create this, you need to crank the grill heat up to 400F degrees.

    Then, just keep on grilling until the internal temp reaches 135F.

    At what point do you do this(crank the heat up)? At the beginning or at the end?

    • Christie Vanover November 21, 2018 at 5:53 am - Reply

      First, you’ll want to cook the roast to an internal temperature of 110F degrees. Once it reaches that temp, then you’ll crank the heat up. Enjoy.

  12. Donny X Bui November 21, 2018 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    Two questions please:
    1) if i want Med Rare @ 135 and resting rises an additional +10deg shouldn’t I remove the meat @ 125 deg?

    2) I have heard of people crusting @ the beginning in the oven vs. at the end as you suggest. Are these two different techniques or is one a lessor approach?

    Thanks. Happy Holidays

    • Christie Vanover November 23, 2018 at 7:41 am - Reply

      If you prefer your meat more rare, you could pull it between 125-130F.

      When it comes to creating the crust, you can do either approach, but I prefer to crust at the end. 1) I feel like I can control the end temp better, and 2) I like the way the smoke works itself into the meat pre-crust.

  13. Calvin December 5, 2018 at 2:10 am - Reply

    Awesome recipe! I try this ribs with my family. It was delicious!

  14. Peggy December 17, 2018 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    I want to collect the drippings. Do you set a pan under the roast?

    • Christie Vanover December 19, 2018 at 9:09 pm - Reply

      Yes. You can set a pan straight under the grate and use those drippings for gravy.

  15. Kurt December 18, 2018 at 11:55 am - Reply

    When I’m doing the crust process do I take it off and wait for the grill to reach 400* or just leave it on the grill and turn it up? Also, do you rotate the prime rib at all or leave it as is? Thank you.

    • Christie Vanover December 19, 2018 at 9:11 pm - Reply

      I usually remove the prime rib from the grill and let it rest while the grill heats up to 400. You only need to rotate it, if your grill has uneven heat, or if you’re heat is coming from one side. For instance, if the charcoal is pushed to one side and the meat is on the other, rotating it will help with even cooking. If you use a pellet grill or Big Green Egg, no rotation needed.

  16. Rebecca Plascencia December 19, 2018 at 11:05 am - Reply

    Hi I am grilling a 15 lb boneless roast I’m just clarifying that I should remove the roast when It reaches 135 degree internal temp from the 400 degree temp grill. I’m feeding 25 people and I am nervous I’m going to blow it. Anything else I need to know? I’m removing from fridge at 6am according to you I should leave out for 3 hours prior. My meal will be served at 630 pm. Is that too early?

    • Christie Vanover December 19, 2018 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      Hi Rebecca. That’s correct. Once it reaches 110, remove it from the grill. Then, crank the heat to 400 degrees. Put the roast back on and cook to 135 (or longer if you prefer well done). Once it reaches your preferred doneness temp, remove it and let it rest. 6 a.m. would be too early. I recommend starting at 9 a.m. Let it rest until 11 a.m. to noon. Smoke it at noon for 4-5 hours. Crank the heat and smoke for another 30-60 minutes. Then, let it rest for 30 minutes. You got this!

  17. Tony Schimmel December 22, 2018 at 9:00 am - Reply

    Like rebecca I also am nervous, and I’m a griller.. this would be my 1st time with such large peice of meet.. I ordered a 17lb boneless for 17 people for Christmas Lunch.. my grill is connected to my homes gas so consistancy of heat is awesome. I just pay close attention to your timing somehow, we eat around 1pm and hoping all works out.. medium rare here we come.. I HOPE.. thanks for the recipes

    • Christie Vanover December 22, 2018 at 9:11 am - Reply

      You’re going to do great, Tony. Just be sure to keep the roast over indirect heat for the first part of the cook. If you put it in the middle and keep the side burners on, you won’t need to rotate it. If you put it to the left and keep the right burner on, you’ll want to rotate the roast midway through. My recipe is for a 6-pound roast, so you will need to cook it longer. You’ll probably be looking at about 4 hours over indirect heat. Main thing is look for the center part to reach 110 degrees. The outer parts will be more done. Another option is to slice that bad boy in half. That would speed up cook time a bit, if you need to.

  18. Joe E Skinner December 23, 2018 at 7:34 am - Reply

    I have grilled rib roasts for several years with mixed results. Your recipe sounds like it is much more fool proof than my “winging
    it” each year. I have a 10.5 pound roast that I would like to cook to medium-rare to medium. If I grill it to 110 degrees and allow about 3.5 hrs for that portion of the recipe, is that enough time? Thanks in advance. This sounds wonderful!

    • Christie Vanover December 25, 2018 at 11:48 am - Reply

      That should be just about perfect. It usually takes 15-20 minutes per pound to reach 110 degrees.

  19. Heather Morales December 24, 2018 at 10:10 am - Reply

    Planning to make this for Chrismas Eve! Just for clarification, isn’t it only “Prime Rib” if its prime, otherwise its a “standing rib roast”? That may explain the discrepancy in price. Choice Standing rib roast is $7-12/lb while Prime is $18-25 in my area. We scored a 2 bone prime rib roast at $18/lb and can’t wait for dinner!

    • Christie Vanover December 25, 2018 at 12:01 pm - Reply

      Prime rib doesn’t have to be USDA Prime. It’s cut from the primal rib section. But you’re right, a choice will cost less than the prime. I hope you enjoyed your Christmas Eve.

  20. Renee December 24, 2018 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    We have a really small grill, I was wondering if putting the roast wrapped in foil would help?

    • Christie Vanover December 25, 2018 at 11:45 am - Reply

      Foil will insulate it to help it cook faster, but it will also cause the crust to be more soggy. I think you should be fine with a small grill without the foil.

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