Prime rib just screams the holidays. It’s always been a family tradition of mine to make prime rib for Christmas Eve, and it’s always the food highlight of my year. The meal I dream about all year round. Even so, I decided I was going to kick it up a notch. I was going to master the prime rib and make an unrivaled roast that my family and guests would rave about for years to come.
Deciding that I was going to sous vide the prime rib was easy. It is truly the only way to guarantee the meat is tender, juicy and perfectly cooked all the way through. Deciding how to season the prime rib was a little more difficult. After some experimentation and test runs, I finally figured it out. I created salty, garlicky and herbaceous compound butter that perfectly compliments the flavor profile of the prime rib. This butter compound is all the salt and flavor the prime rib needs for epic taste. Furthermore, coating the roast in this butter amplifies the Malliard reaction in the oven, which creates a picture-worthy sear.
Add sous vide prime rib and garlic herb compound butter together and you have a fool-proof method of making unforgettable prime rib. Now take this knowledge and become the prime rib master that will be cherished by your family and guests for many moons.
Time and Temperature
We found that cooking the rib roast at 56C/133F for 8 hours is the perfect combination. Leaving the roast in for 8 hours breaks down the connective tissue (collagen), which results in an extremely tender roast. Also, cooking it at a temperature of 133F is the sweet spot for that perfect edge-to-edge beautiful rosy color. Just make sure you have a reliable sous vide that accurately regulates the temperature of the bath or your results may vary (check out the Anova or Joule). If you want to explore other time and temperature options, check out our cooking guide here.
To French or Not to French
“Frenching” is a culinary technique that involves exposing the rib bones by cutting off meat and fat from the bone side of a roast. Frenching is generally used to beautify a dish and make it look fancier. However, for this recipe frenching makes sense since you are trimming away excess fat in advance that you would end up cutting off later. Plus the prime rib looks absolutely stunning frenched. If you want to be adventurous and learn a new skill, try frenching the prime rib yourself at home. Just make sure your knife is real sharp so you can effortlessly carve this heavenly piece of meat. I recommend the E5 electric knife sharpener for the job. If frenching isn’t for you, just ask your butcher and they will be happy to do it for you.
Sous Vide Machine – This one is obvious. To cook sous vide, you’re going to need a device to precisely regulate the temperature of the bath water. The two best sous vide machines in the game right now are the Anova Precision Cooker and the Breville Joule. The main difference between the two is that with the Anova you can control the device both manually and with a mobile device, and with the Joule you can only control the device by using your mobile device. Either way, both sous vide machines are top class and you can’t go wrong with either choice.
12-quart Container – Although you can use a basic stockpot for your sous vide cooking needs, I highly recommend buying a large plastic container. They are inexpensive and spacious, so you won’t have to worry about cooking a big roast in a small pot. I recommend a 12 quart Rubbermaid container, as it is BPA free, sturdy, and large enough for just about anything you will be cooking.
Container Lid – If you are going to buy a plastic container, I highly suggest buying a compatible lid for it. When you sous vide for a long duration, the heat of the water causes evaporation. With a lid, it eliminates a majority of the evaporation so you can cook for 72 hours care-free.
Baking Rack Pan – Having a quality baking rack pan for this recipe is essential. Setting the prime rib on the baking rack is key because all the juices and drippings fall down into the pan, which allows the prime rib to get an excellent sear in the oven. Also, these drippings can be used to make the best gravy you’ve ever had. USA Pan offers the best quality and price, which is why it is our favorite pan brand.
Check out our full list of recommended gear here.
Sous Vide Prime Rib Roast
- 5 -7 lb prime rib roast
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1 Tbsp Lawry's seasoning salt
- 1 Tbsp black pepper
Set sous vide machine to 56C/133F.
Salt the rib roast to taste. Put the roast in a freezer bag, and remove the air through a vacuum sealer or the displacement method. Drop prime rib in the bath for 8 hours.
Mix together softened butter, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and Lawry's seasoning salt together in a bowl until the compound butter is spreadable.
Remove bag from bath. Take rib roast out of the bag and thoroughly pat dry. Let the roast rest and cool down for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven for 475F. Evenly coat garlic herbed compound butter on the entire prime rib. Place rib roast on a baking rack pan and cook for 15 minutes.
Remove rib roast from oven. Let rest for 5 minutes. If it is a bone-in roast, carefully carve off the bones making sure not to cut into the roast. Carve the prime rib into slabs and enjoy this heavenly piece of meat. *Pro tip - brush the excess butter and garlic mixture from the pan onto each piece before serving.