Tender Prime Rib Roast with Mushroom and Bacon Sauté

Prime rib is a cut of meat that’s perfect for special occasion feasts in more ways than one. Served in supple, thick slices that are marbled with fat, it’s a decadent and impressive main course. Prime rib is also really easy to prepare, which means you can “wow” your guests and still enjoy the party. They don’t need to know you only spent about five minutes prepping the meat before shoving the roast in the oven and letting it do its thing.

Letting a standing prime rib roast do its thing means you season it with simple spices and then mostly get out of the way. The fat covering the top of the roast will melt slowly as the meat cooks, keeping it moist and the ripples of fat within will give the meat tons of flavor. Your job is to adjust the oven temp so the outside gets crispy and the inside stays pink and to stab the meat every once in awhile with a meat thermometer so you know when to pull it out.

If you want your prime rib to be pink throughout, which many people do, you need to pull it out of the oven at 125 F. The meat will be hot, but have a juicy-bloody quality that means each bite will be tender, fatty and moist. If you can’t handle meat that rare, you can pull your prime rib roast out of the oven at 135 and you’ll have a rare, juicy center surrounded by meat that’s not quite so bloody. It’s a little sacrilegious to eat prime rib this way, but the truth is, it’s still unbelievably delicious. So eat your meat the way you want to – the one thing you can’t mess with is the outer crust.

If red meat is served rare to medium rare, a flabby crust just won’t do. A crispy, caramelized, salty crust that contrasts with the soft interior meat is essential. You can sear the meat on the stove then cook it at a low temp for a long time to reach the goal of a crunchy exterior and soft middle, or you can be a little more aggressive (and let’s be honest, lazy) about it and let the oven take care of everything.

Cranking the heat up to 450 F for 30 minutes will take care of the outside. It will become crispy, crackling and deeply browned. Then dropping the temp down to 375 F will take care of the middle in a relatively short amount of time. Your holiday dinner will be cooked to perfection before you know it. A luscious slab of prime rib rippled with buttery fat and served alongside a savory and earthy mushroom and bacon sauté will make your dinner party or holiday feast a night to remember.

Standing Prime Rib Roast

A standing rib roast is comprised of the seven ribs between the chuck and the loin. The larger the roast is, the more ribs will be attached, making it look more impressive. The roast is called “standing” because the attached ribs provide a platform of sorts that the meat stands on while it cooks.

Prime rib is the name of the cut and does not necessarily mean you are getting USDA Prime meat. Most standing prime rib roasts are “choice” quality. You can special order a USDA Prime prime rib, which has more fat covering the roast and marbling the meat, although be prepared to pay top dollar.

As a general rule, buy 1 pound of roast per person. This allows for thick slices and leftovers.

After you cut the rib bones off the cooked roast, they are the perfect, although messy, appetizer. Gnaw the meat off immediately, or smear a little mustard on the bones and broil until crispy.


For a 3 – 4 pound standing rib roast, rub the entire outside with:

  • 1 1/2  teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

For a 6-8 pound standing rib roast, add another teaspoon of each seasoning.

Mushroom and Bacon Saute

3-5 servings


  • 2 strips of bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 4-6 sprigs fresh thyme


Two hours before cooking, remove the roast from refrigeration.

Preheat oven to 450. Position rack in bottom of oven.

Combine salt, pepper and paprika and rub all over the roast. Place the roast, ribs down, on a rack in a roasting pan.

Cook for 30 minutes then drop heat to 375 F. Continue cooking at this temperature until meat reaches 120 – 125 F degrees (or higher, for meat that is less rare). As a guideline, assume that once you turn the heat down the meat will need to cook 15 minutes for every pound. However, be careful, because in the last 15 minutes the temp can go from rare to medium quickly, especially if the roast is small.

Let the roast rest for 20-30 minutes before carving.

While the roast is resting, heat the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat. After a few minutes add the shallot then the mushrooms. If the bacon is not rendering enough fat, add a little olive oil to the pan. Saute until the mushrooms are soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh thyme.

Slice the bones away from the roast. Cut the roast into 1/2 – 1-inch slices. Serve the mushrooms bacon sauté on the side.

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41 thoughts on “Tender Prime Rib Roast with Mushroom and Bacon Sauté”

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  1. This looks like a wonderful recipe, but I’m afraid you’ve gotten the order wrong when cooking. If you want the best prime rib you need to cook it low and slow, and THEN seer it at high heat. This gives you the crispy, tasty crust with a nice pink center that goes all the way to the edge, and no band of grey between the pink and the crisp. Serious Eats broke it down one of their wonderful food lab articles:


  2. For big chunks of meat, it’s time to talk about smoking that meat! I love my smoker and while I can make some awesome fish in it, it really is great or big slabs of meat like prime rib, Tri-tip, who and while birds.

    Besides, what’s more primal…using an oven, or cooking over wood? Wood gives it so much more flavor!

  3. Technically, “Prime Rib” is prime grade beef, if sold in a supermarket. As grass fed beef is not graded as such, it is usually sold as a standing rib roast.

    When I order my first cow half, I’m probably going to get the standing rib roast, because that’s the only way I can afford it!

    1. Actually the difference is if it has a bone or not. Has nothing to do with where you purchase the meat. Prime rib is more than one serving with the bone removed, standing rib roast has the bone intact, Rib eye steam is one serving of prime rib cooked individually. Good call on the half cow and keeping the bone intact. Makes for longer cooking and more flavor.

  4. That does have some rich marbling… yummy!! If we were having the Christmas party this year then I would quite possibly help my mom make this. However it is not… maybe my bro and I will grab a rib roast and make this on Sunday?

    Looks awesome as do all recipes on Saturday published here at MDA 🙂

  5. Hey, I just made this last night, as a matter of fact! A side of garlic-ginger-bacon mashed cauliflower worked wonders with it.

    This is very close to my family’s secret recipe, by the way! Almost too close…

  6. I’ve been looking for a grass fed prime rib for months now. Unfortunately, my Whole Foods doesn’t sell them. Where do you guys typically find them? Local farms? Online? And what’s a good price per pound?

    If there happens to be anyone in the Ann Arbor, MI, area reading this and knows of a place, let me know please!

    1. I just bought a 4-bone (6 lb) aged, standing rib roast at the Whole Foods in Pasadena, Ca (one on the West side)…$17/lb is not cheap ….but going to taste great.

  7. Have you heard of The Meat House? It’s a great place to get grass fed organic meats of all kinds.

    Thanks for sharing looks delicious!

  8. Looking at this recipe and pictures reminded me of the conversation I had with my wife early this morning. She loves to watch the cooking shows like Hells Kitchen, Iron Chef, etc where it is a contest to be crowned the winning chef. My idea is for Mark Sisson to run a contest like this. Beachbody.com might have more subscribers but they do not really promote the primal diet.

    A competition that promotes cooking primal would be great for our community. I watch these shows with my wife sometimes and am always thinking how I would change many of the things they do or not even go that route. Like the cook-off secret ingredients so many times are something like crackers or bagels or bread crumbs, etc. It would be so cool to see those some special vegetable, fruit, meat, or seed instead. Hope either Mark or some other Primal community member has the clout to pull this off. I think there is a sizable enough market that would make it successful.

    1. I agree! And it would not just be a target for the Primal/Paleo community. All the gluten free, non-processed foods people too.

      I often wonder if there are any restaurants in the US that fall under our guidelines, or close to it. In the right market I bet it would do well. Have a menu of real foods, identifyable ingredients, simply cooked high quality ingredients….

      Wish I had the capitol right now, I would consider openining one in Seattle.

  9. Alright, I admit I am a bit of a health nut but I do love a good prime rib. My husband smoked one on our “Big Green Egg” a few weeks back and it was fabulous. Hey, even us health nuts like to indulge now and then.


    1. what do you mean you are a health nut BUT you love a good prime rib?? do you know what site you are on??

  10. One pound per person? Sounds good in theory, but I’d be apt to polish that whole rack off on my own!

    Just picked up 50 lbs. of local grass fed today with a sweet rib roast in the mix. This recipe couldn’t have been more timely. Thanks!

  11. This looks delicious. I had a lot of trouble committing to eating Primal until I got the cookbook and realized how simple it is to make delicious recipes. My problem now is I don’t have as much free time to cook.

  12. I bought one of these yesterday to have on Christmas. When I was still married and all the kids were home I used to cook a prime rib so big that it would almost not fit in the oven. Then yesterday I thought, “why not get one for just me?” I can gnaw on the bones for many days.

  13. Prime rib, bone in = #1 on my favorite list. I don’t cook it very often but I like it med. rare. If we have guests that like their meat a little more done ( I agree, sacrilege) I keep a little skillet with some seasoned au jus simmering in it. Just drop a slice in for a minute and let it go to the desired degree of doneness. I totally agree that if the fat on the crust isn’t crispy, it takes away from the meat.

  14. i saw this on my facebook homepage right next to an ad for ‘mouthwatering vegan recipes’. Prime rib wins!

  15. Thrilled to see this here. We also are having prime rib for Christmas. We’ve never even tried making our own before. GREAT to find such a yummy recipe to guide our first attempt. Thanks!

  16. Hi Mark,
    I cooked a prime rib for Thanksgiving using a different method and got *perfect* results.

    I let the meat sit at room temp for 6 hours.

    Next, I the prime rib in a preheated 200F oven and removed it at 2 degrees below the desired internal temperature.

    I let the meat rest under tin foil for one hour.

    When everyone was almost ready to eat, I put the meat in a preheated 550F oven for 8 minutes.

    Cooking the meat this way will ensure an evenly distributed pink color throughout but a nice crisp on the outside. The meat will actually be less juicy if you braise it and then slow-cook it. Anyway, the meat was so tasty. You should try this method 🙂

    1. I also wanted to add that since the meat is slow-cooked at such a low temperature, the internal temperature of the meat won’t rise much (maybe 2 degrees) while resting it under the foil.

      Here is the website I found the information. From now on, the prime rib at our house will always be cooked to perfection.


      One more thing… after the meat is braised at 550F, it should be sliced up and eaten immediately to prevent any more cooking. The meat will still be tender and juicy since it has rested but have a nice crisp on the outside.

    2. I am wondering how long it takes to cook a roast to an internal temperature of 120 in a 200 degree oven? I have two roasts that are 6+ pounds each…?

      1. Definitely use a good meat thermometer to monitor the internal temp. That is a must.

        It took 6 hours to cook a 4lb prime rib with an internal temp of 150F (my parents do not like their meat blood-red, sadly). I heard that some steakhouses will slow-cook a whole prime for 14 hours and then braise it.

        At 150F, the meat was nice and pink. It was a compromise I guess :-).

        For two 6-lb roasts, definitely start cooking them early in the morning. It would be better if they are done a couple hours before the guests arrive rather than 2 hours later. When the guests are about ready to eat, put them in a 550F oven and braise. Immediately cut the roasts in to slices and serve.

        Also, make sure to set them out for at least 6 hours at room temp before putting them in the oven.

        This is a slow process, but it is so worth it!

  17. Brigitta, I just typed a length response only to find that mine was almost identical to yours.

    Are you a Serious Eats reader?

    1. Hey Patrick,
      Yeah sorry about that, I didn’t read every reply carefully enough 🙂

      I actually just looked it up for thanksgiving and stumbled upon Serious Eats. The prime rib came out freaking fantastic.

  18. Thanks to your post, I have made a formal request on Apple’s website to look into drool-proof keyboards. Wow, that looks tasty.

  19. Brigitta,

    They have lots of great info on their site. I’m actually going to attempt cooking rack of lamb in a water bath per SE tomorrow night.

    You basically just pour 130 degree water in a large cooler and then submerge the rack in a vacuum sealed back for an hour or so. When medium rare throughout, you remove the rack and sear in a hot skillet. Sous Vide on the cheap!

  20. I made this on Christmas and it turned out great! Very tender and succulent. The bacon lends the mushrooms quite a bit of flavor. And it’s not complicated to make, either.

  21. I did this recipe over the Xmas holiday. It is great. I have tried other rib roast recipes but this was the best. The cooking time was perfect for my 3 lb roast. I ate juicy leftovers from it for 2 days!