Smoked Standing Rib Roast

I’ve been itching for a reason to get the smoker going for the first time this year when it hit me that I’d never smoked any beef – only pork and chicken. So chunk o’meat in hand, the plan was laid.

As much as I love pork, I’ll be honest. I really love beef. I mean REALLY. For years now, one of my favorite things to cook (and indeed the most requested thing on holidays), is a dry-aged standing rib roast. For those of you not so addicted to all things cow, this is essentially “prime rib”. Prime rib is a standing rib roast of “USDA Prime” grade. I can’t afford “Prime”, so I buy “Choice”. “Choice rib” sounds stupid, so this a standing rib roast.

So, to the plan. If you’ve read anything else on this blog, you already know that I prefer things that are simple, as long as it’s good. Normally, I’d dry-age a roast before cooking (simple), but I didn’t have the time for this one. (For the record, I use Alton Brown’s dry-aging method – is there another one?).

Prep, was simple – I left the roast on the counter for a couple of hours before cooking (internal temp came up to about 45º – if your meat is too cold, you can end up with a roast that’s raw inside and overdone on the outside), and an even coating of kosher salt and cracked black pepper was applied.

About 45 minutes before cooking, I got the smoker ready (I use a large, offset Brinkmann, but any smoker that you can control will do). I won’t get into the mechanics of smoking – that’s another article, but I do use only lump charcoal and natural wood in a basket and start the fire using the Minion method (a good Google subject if you’re really bored).

A temperature probe goes into the thickest part of meat, and another probe is set at level of cooking grate.

I was shooting for medium rare – somewhere between 130º-137º. Since I intended to finish in the oven (remember, smoking is done between ~ 220º – 250º – you won’t get much of a crust), I removed the roast from the smoker at 118º.

So simple, and absolutely amazing. So good that I did an 11-pounder the next weekend for a friend…


  1. Have never, ever heard of a smoked rib roast. Of course, smoking makes everything better. Looks great; will have to give it a try when I can afford beef!

  2. Re: dry aging: Cooks Illustrated has a version, but it’s basically “place roast on rack in fridge, leave for 3-5 days”. No paper towels, humidity checks, etc. They trim the hardened crust off before roasting.

  3. Nice! What kind of wood did you use? I bought a rib roast on sale and put it in freezer hibernation for trying out with a smoker insert I’d just got for my Weber kettle, and am now waiting for the right occasion to thaw it out.

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