Easy Standing Prime Rib Roast with Cheater Jus and Horseradish Cream

Happy New Year! I hope the beginning of this year finds you and yours happy and healthy.

I haven’t posted in a little while. I’d like to blame being on night shift at my “real job”; I’d like to blame Assassin’s Creed Rogue for the PS3; I’d like to blame fear that I don’t have anything interesting to say. I’d like to blame these things, but I can’t. No matter the reason, there’s no good excuse! I haven’t posted because I made a conscious decision to do other things; like sleep, game, etc. So here I am with a new post and a fresh start to the new year!


Beautifully rosy!

Beautifully rosy!

This standing rib roast – also called a prime rib roast – is ridiculously easy, and so delicious! I’ve been a stickler for not calling a standing rib roast a prime rib roast, because I always thought that prime referred only to the USDA grade Prime, and most beef sold in grocery stores is Choice (or sadly, Select – stay away from Select if you can!).  However, I recently learned that a prime rib roast refers to primal.  Butchers break down whole sides of beef into primals, and a standing rib roast is taken from the rib primal.  There are lots of opinions about what kind of roast to buy; like seeking out dry aged beef, or asking the butcher to cut your roast from ribs 6-9, etc.  I don’t worry about any of that.  I can only afford prime rib when it’s on sale, and I take what I find from Safeway.  A couple times a year, they drop their roasts down to about $6.99 a pound, and this is when I pounce!

The only thing I insist on is a bone-in roast.  The butchers at my Safeway actually cut the bones away from the roast, then tie them back on.  I love this method and will always ask that it be done if it isn’t already.  You get all the flavor and insulation from the bones, and the benefit of using them in lieu of a roasting rack, but none of the hassle of cutting the bones away after the roast is done.  When choosing your roast, count on one pound of bone-in per person.  The beauty of this method is it doesn’t matter what size roast you get.  This method works with any size roast, with no changes.  Seriously.  No matter the size of your roast, you are going to have beautiful, perfect, rare to medium-rare beef.

I like to start this roast several days ahead of time.  I salt it liberally and place it, uncovered, on a rack in the refrigerator about 2-3 days before I cook it.  Now, I’m sure you’ve heard you shouldn’t salt your meat ahead of time; that this draws the moisture out of the beef.  This is true.  But what you may not know, is that left to sit, the salt begins to work with the muscle fibers and is actually drawn back into the meat.  You’re now left with well-seasoned beef, ready for you to cook to juicy perfection.

Because I really like to let the flavor of the beef shine through, I don’t use a lot of different seasonings.  I use my Everything Salt, which is a perfect blend of salt, pepper, and garlic.  It’s a wonderful base seasoning and really allows the flavor of the meat to stand front and center.  It’s also very easy to add to, too.  Start with the Everything Salt and then add crushed rosemary for lamb, crushed fennel seed for pork, sage for chicken, the possibilities are endless.  The recipe makes a lot of Everything Salt, and you’re certainly not going to use all of it here.  I put some into little 4 oz tins and gave them as stocking stuffers.

Because of the method we’re using to roast the prime rib, there are almost no drippings left over with which to make the jus.  I use (gasp!) McCormick’s powdered Au Jus mix, prepared according to package directions.  What little drippings I am left with get scraped up with some of the prepared jus and poured back.

The horseradish cream is easy, too and is best prepared a day ahead to let the flavors meld.

Mmm, look at that beautiful salt crust!

Mmm, look at that beautiful salt crust!

Easy Standing Prime Rib Roast

  • Servings: dependent on the size of your roast
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for the roast:
1 standing prime rib roast, counting on 1 pound of bone-in roast per person (my picture is of an 8.77 pound roast with 3 bones)
Everything Salt*

for the jus:
2 packages McCormick Au Jus powdered mix
5-6 cups water
pan drippings

for the horseradish cream:
1 (8 oz) container sour cream (I use light sour cream, or Greek sour cream if I can find it)
2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
kosher salt, to taste


for the roast:
Salt the top of the roast heavily with Everything Salt.  Place on a rack in a baking sheet and leave, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.  Remove from the fridge at least one hour before roasting.

Pre-heat the oven to 375.  Pat dry the roast with paper towels and re-apply the Everything Salt, covering the top of the roast.  Place the roast, ribs down, in your roasting pan.  There is no need for a roasting rack as the ribs do that job for you.  Place on the middle rack of your oven and roast for one hour.  Turn the oven off and walk away for 3, yes three, hours.  No matter how tempted you are by the smells wafting from the oven, DO NOT open the oven door!  A half hour before you’re ready to eat, turn the oven back up to 375 to reheat the roast.  Take out of the oven and remove the roast to a rimmed baking sheet.  Tent with foil and let sit for about 20 minutes.

meanwhile, for the jus:
While your roast is in the oven for the final half hour of roasting time, prepare the jus according to package directions.  If you want a full 6 cups of jus, prepare one package at a time, using the 3 full cups of water the directions call for.  Pour the first batch into a serving vessel, rinse your pot and prepare the second batch.  If you want to prepare both packages at once, only use 5 cups of water.  I’m not sure what the science is behind it, but if you use 6 cups of water at once, it will taste too diluted.  Keep the jus warm (I usually just pop the serving vessel into the microwave and keep the door closed).  Once you’ve removed the prime rib from the roasting pan, pour off most of the fat.  Add some of the prepared jus to the pan.  With a wooden or silicone spoon, scrape up any fond from the bottom of the pan.  Pour this back into the rest of the jus and stir well.

for the horseradish cream:
A day before your dinner, mix all ingredients well in a food storage container and refrigerate. Before serving taste, and add more horseradish if desired.

*Everything Salt: Mix together 1 cup kosher salt, 1/4 cup garlic powder and 1/4 cup ground black pepper (freshly ground, if possible).  Store in an airtight container.

To Serve

Cut the kitchen string away from the roast, remove the bones.  You can cut the bones into single servings for guests to gnaw on, or save for another use (someday I’ll share a Deviled Bones recipe!).  Slice the roast into desired thickness, about 1/2 inch to one inch slices.  Serve with the jus and horseradish cream on the side.  I like to serve with a potato dish and roasted vegetables; I don’t have any set sides, it’s usually something different each time.