Simple Prime Rib of Beef

You know that scene from the Flintstones where they pull into the drive-thru and the server puts a giant side of dinosaur ribs on the tray attached to the car, and the meat is so big it tips the car over?

Yeah, that's what we had for dinner last week with our chocolate key lime pie.

I found a “recipe” for prime rib in the box a few weeks ago. It's barely a recipe, really: anything with only four ingredients, two of which are salt and pepper, hardly counts as creative kitchen cooking. But that was an added benefit as far as I'm concerned-- I didn't want to ruin a cut of meat that cost more than I usually spend on meat in a month, and with a food this pricey, simple is always better. (Plus, I had just spent about a hundred hours making a key lime pie by the time I started this, so I was stoked to have something a little simpler to make.)

Considering the clipping with this recipe dates from 1989, I'm not sure Eleanor ever had a chance to make it. She might have just saved the clipping because of the advertisement in the bottom corner for personalised Bingo chips with matching earrings (a highly Eleanor thing to have, by all accounts), I don't know. However, with a husband who loves red meat and rarely eats it because we don't often think about buying it, I figured our anniversary was as good a time as any to make something so over-the-top fancy. After all, prime rib, according to the recipe, is a 'traditional dish that celebrates everything bountiful and elegant.'

There's an incredible local butcher shop on our block where I knew I wanted to buy the prime rib, but... well... I get really nervous every time I have to go alone. It's a perfect storm of anxiety-producing stimuli in there: A) meat (which I know nothing about and can't convincingly pretend to understand), B) lots of small talk in thick Scottish accents which I've come to understand pretty well as long as it's not noisy, but C) it's always insanely noisy with a meat grinder going, wind whipping in the open door, and customers yelling jokes about sausages to the butchers.

Last time I went in alone was to buy a piece of pork back in the fall. I ended up stuck in there for twenty minutes trying to explain a crock pot to the poor butcher, who probably was just trying to make small talk. So this time I did my research: found that sometimes prime rib over here is called 'forerib,' and that it is technically a standing rib roast. I forgot to research quantities, though, so when the poor butcher offered me a single rib, I thought he was joking. It turns out, though, that one rib is plenty for two people (in fact, we ate it for two nights in a row, so I think you could pretty easily use a single rib for a dinner for four). It's not a cheap meal, but it is surprisingly easy and if you have something to celebrate but don't want to spend all day in the kitchen, this is a great option.

The Verdict:

5 spoons out of five. (Can I give it six spoons? Just this once?) Our rib was about a kilo (2.2 pounds), and it cooked in under half an hour. Sprinkled generously with pepper and sparingly with salt, studded with a dozen garlic cloves, it was the perfect, easy, celebratory dinner.

The Recipe:

Prime Rib

The Ingredients:

1 prime rib of beef (approximately 1 rib for every 2-4 people)
½ tbsp salt
2 tbsp pepper
12 garlic cloves
1 jar prepared horseradish


At least 3 hours before cooking, place roast in a dish on the counter to come to room temperature.
Sprinkle each side with salt and pepper.
Push the garlic cloves into the fat on each side of roast, as deeply as possible.
Cover tightly and let sit until time to cook.
Once meat is at room temperature, preheat oven to 400F/204C.
Transfer meat to a roasting pan (you can use the rack if you'd like, though I didn't bother) and cook 15 minutes per pound until internal temperature reaches 125F/52C for rare.
After removing from oven, allow to stand for 15 minutes before carving and serving with horseradish sauce.