Cooking a full-sized prime rib roast can be time-consuming due to its size and preparation requirements. Fortunately, you don’t have to reserve its preparation for special occasions because you can easily prepare a small one.
How should a small prime rib roast be prepared? The best way to cook a small prime rib roast is by using the closed-oven technique, in which it is cooked at high heat for a short time so that the exterior develops a flavorful, brown crust, and then left in the oven for two hours to achieve the desired internal temperature.
This article provides a detailed guide on how to cook the best small prime rib roast, including the different cooking times and temperatures for the various sizes.
What Is A Prime Rib Roast?
Prime rib is a traditional roast beef preparation made from the beef rib primal cut. It is typically roasted with the bone in and served with a simple sauce made from au jus, or the natural juices of the meat.
The term “prime” in prime rib roast denotes that the beef has been USDA graded as such. It is a standing rib roast if it is not labeled “prime,” and a ribeye roast if it is boneless.
The age of the cow from which the meat is taken, as well as the amount of fat in the meat’s edible sections, are what give prime rib roast its name.
Prime rib is tender, moist, and flavorful, and the intramuscular fat (also known as marbling) is responsible for its flavor and juiciness. The more marbling, the higher the grade of the meat! In terms of age, the cow must be between 9 and 30 months old to be considered prime.
What Size Of Prime Rib Should You Buy?
A full-sized prime rib weighs about 15 pounds and is made up of 7 ribs. Around 14 people could be fed with it, possibly even more, depending on how hungry they are.
You can make a small prime rib roast, which is both quicker and simpler to prepare, if you only want to serve a small number of people and do not want to deal with the massive amount of leftovers.
A small prime rib roast can range in weight from 2 to 8 pounds, with the smallest size being sufficient to feed just 2 people with some leftovers. Who cares if there are leftover prime rib sandwiches?
Preparing 1/3 to 1/2 pound of prime rib roast per serving is a reasonable estimate. You may assume a little bit more or less depending on your appetite and that of your guests.
How To Cook A Small Prime Rib Roast
The closed-oven method is ideal for cooking a small prime rib roast weighing 4-8 pounds. It yields an interior that is perfectly medium-rare and an exterior with a gorgeous brown crust.
Knowing the exact weight of the roast is essential for cooking a perfect prime rib roast with this method. Remember to write it down before you throw away the butcher paper! This method is great because you don’t need a meat thermometer, though you can if you want.
There is also no resting time, which may surprise those who are accustomed to resting their prime ribs after cooking. With this method, you can skip the resting time because the meat is resting while it is in the oven.
It is also worth noting that some oven models include cooling fans that are used to quickly reduce the temperature of the oven.
Because the closed-oven method cooks the prime rib roast with the residual heat from the turned-off oven, an oven with cooling fans may not be suitable. If your oven has this feature, we recommend cooking prime rib roast the traditional way rather than the closed-oven method.
Closed-Oven Method For Cooking A Small Prime Rib Roast
Here are detailed instructions for preparing a small prime rib roast in a closed oven. Unwrap the prime rib roast the night before cooking and store it uncovered in the refrigerator. This will cause the surface to become dry and brown when roasted.
Remove the roast from the refrigerator three hours prior to cooking and place it on a sheet pan at room temperature.
At thirty minutes prior to roasting, preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and liberally season the meat with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Calculate the cooking time, which will be discussed in a moment.
When the oven is ready, place the roast, fat side up, on a rack-equipped roasting pan.
If you are uncertain and anxious about the cooking time, you can insert a meat thermometer into the meat’s deepest portion.
Place the meat in an oven that has been preheated and roast it for the time specified above.
At the end of the allotted time, turn off the oven and leave. Do not open the oven door!
Remove the prime rib roast from the oven after 2 hours, carve it, and serve it immediately.
If you used a meat thermometer, you would find that the internal temperature is 130 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the ideal medium-rare.
Approximate Cooking Time For A Small Prime Rib Roast
Multiply the roast’s weight (in pounds) by 5 minutes to get the total “active” cooking time at 500°F. Multiplying the weight of your roast by 5, you get the “active” roasting time of 20 minutes if it weighs 4 pounds. Multiplying 4.5 by 5 yields an approximate cooking time of 23 minutes for a roast weighing 4.5 pounds.
The timeframe is also relative to your desired degree of completion. Cooking times will vary depending on whether the roast is desired rare, medium-rare, or well done.
How To Make Prime Rib Au Jus?
Au Jus (pronounced oh-ZHO) is a straightforward sauce typically served with prime rib roast. It is thinner than gravy and has a flavor that is extremely concentrated. It is prepared by combining the roast’s juices with aromatic vegetables.
Assuming you have just finished cooking a prime rib roast (using the traditional method), you will use the meat juices and the browned bits from the bottom of the roasting pan to make this delicious sauce.
Here are detailed instructions for preparing au jus to accompany prime rib:
Remove the roast from the pan and pour the majority of the remaining fat into a jar. It can be refrigerated for later use to impart a rich, meaty flavor to soups, stocks, and pasta.
Place the roasting pan on the stovetop and add carrots, onion, and celery that have been finely chopped.
Cook on high heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly, until the vegetables begin to brown and the majority of the liquid has evaporated. Take care not to burn anything.
Add approximately 1.5 cups of beef stock and cook for another minute over high heat.
Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits.
Transfer everything to a large saucepan with an additional 1.5 cups of beef stock.
Allow it to simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by approximately one-third.
The liquid should be strained using a sieve.
For a finer strain, cheesecloth can be used to line the sieve.
Allow it to rest for a few minutes so you can remove any fat that rises to the surface.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve warm alongside prime rib. Enjoy!
Mistakes To Avoid When Cooking Prime Rib Roast
Prime rib is an expensive cut of meat that should only be prepared on special occasions — regardless of size or cooking method, you don’t want to ruin it! Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid.
Cooking The Roast Cold
One of the biggest cooking mistakes you can make is cooking cold meat. The outer layer of chilled meat will become overcooked because it will take longer to cook and will be exposed to heat for a longer period of time.
The size of prime rib cuts, especially large ones, makes this error more noticeable because it takes longer for the extra weight to reach the desired internal temperature.
A cold prime rib will affect the weight-to-cooking-time ratio when using the closed oven method, and if you use the traditional method, you’ll just get an overcooked roast.
Allowing your prime rib to warm up before roasting it is the solution. The length of time the roast needs to rest at room temperature increases with its size.
Seasoning It Too Early
Seasoning a prime rib is essential, but doing so the night before or so before is not a good idea. The reason for this is that the longer the salt sits on the surface of the meat, the more liquid it absorbs and the less moist your meat becomes, which is undesirable.
Keeping this in mind, the best time to season your prime rib is when it is at room temperature before roasting. It’s also worth noting that no amount of seasoning, no matter how long you leave them on, will penetrate beyond 2 millimeters into the roast, especially the larger ones.
Poking Holes Into The Prime Rib
A meat thermometer is the ideal tool for determining when a prime rib is fully cooked. The problem occurs when it is pierced too frequently, leaving the roast with an excessive number of holes from which delicious juices leak.
When roasting a prime rib, inserting a meat thermometer and leaving it there while the meat cooks works best. Your roast is prepared when the thermometer reads the desired internal temperature.
In this manner, you can perfectly cook a prime rib roast without turning it into a pincushion. You can use the closed-oven method, which doesn’t need a meat thermometer at all, for a small roast.
What Can You Serve With Prime Rib Roast?
Prime rib roast is a delectable dish that is commonly served during the holidays.
You can prepare it to your liking and serve it with your preferred side dishes.
Here are some tasty side dishes to go with your prime rib roast:
Mushrooms with garlic butter
Baked asparagus with cheese
Potatoes baked twice
Horseradish cream sauce
Risotto with mushrooms
Pudding from Yorkshire
What Can You Do With Prime Rib Leftovers?
Whenever a prime rib roast is prepared, there are nearly always leftovers. What can you do with them? How can leftover prime rib roast be utilized?
From sandwiches to nachos to pasta, there are countless options! Here are some of the best leftover prime rib roast recipes:
Prime rib open-faced sandwiches
beef tenderloin stroganoff
Soup made with leftover prime rib and barley.
Prime rib quesadillas
Leftover prime rib chili
Penne pasta with prime rib scraps
Prime rib tacos
How To Store Prime Rib Roast
The prime rib roast will keep well in the refrigerator for three to five days. Keeping it in the freezer for a year or more ensures its freshness. Just make sure it’s well-wrapped to keep out freezer burn-inducing air and moisture before you put it in the freezer.
Prime rib is best when served immediately after cooking. However, if you must store leftovers, you can do so in the fridge for up to seven days, or in the freezer for up to six months. The roast can be stored whole; if there is any remaining au jus, simply drizzle it over the top before storing to keep the meat juicy and tender.
We thought you might have a few more questions now that you know how to prepare a small prime rib roast and some of the most typical mistakes to avoid.
What is the difference between prime rib and ribeye?
Prime rib and ribeye are both derived from the same primal cut of beef. The difference in flavors is due to how they are cooked. Prime ribs are roasted whole at high and low temperatures. Individual slices of ribeye are grilled quickly over high heat.
Why is my prime rib tough?
The best way to prepare a prime rib roast is rare or medium rare. If the internal temperature exceeds 140 degrees Fahrenheit, all the fat will render the meat tough, dry, and chewy. If you prefer your meat medium, medium-well, or well-done, we recommend considering alternative meat cuts.
What is the difference between bone-in and boneless prime rib roast?
There are both bone-in and boneless options for prime rib. While a bone-in rib roast is easier to carve and cooks more quickly, a boneless rib roast has the advantage of protecting the meat from drying out and overcooking.
Ask your butcher to remove the bones and tie them to the back of the roast so you can enjoy the best of both worlds. After cooking, untie the bones and discard them before carving.