Prime Rib Cooking Times

Hans Dekker

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As you look over a couple of prime rib recipes you'll notice a wide range of prime rib cooking times. Some recipes call for a cooking time of one hour and some recipes say that the roast should be cooked for six hours. Very confusing! Well, there's a reason for this discrepancy - prime rib cooking times depend a lot on the cooking temperature and the size of the roast.

There are two basic methods for cooking prime rib roasts - high temperature and low temperature. Each method has its advantages and there are people who swear by a one cooking process or the other. Prime rib cooking times are mostly determined by whether you are cooking the meat at high temperatures or low temperatures.

Some people love the slow cooking methods that is used in smoker barbecues. It can't be denied that smoking brings out wonderful flavors in the prime rib and produces some of the juiciest roasts imaginable. The low temperature of smoker barbecues means that prime rib cooking times can be extended to five or six hours.

On the other hand, there are those who swear by cooking the prime rib in a hot oven. This method reduces prime rib cooking times to the minimum while searing the exterior of the meat so that it contains the juices. When placed in a 500° oven, a 12 pound roast will cook in less than an hour.

This fast cooking method, however, depends on the roast staying in the warm oven for at least one more hour after the heat is turned off. During this time, the meat is still cooking, so you could say that this method requires prime rib cooking times of three hours.

No matter which way you cook the meat, you have to check the interior temperature to make sure that it is cooked all the way through. A good-quality meat thermometer will tell you the temperature of the roast and you might have to extend the prime rib cooking times by an hour or two.

Hans is author of Steaks, Seafood and Barbeque guide at


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