Gabriel Woods
Published by Gabriel Woods
Last Updated On: July 18, 2023

As a dedicated follower of the carnivore diet for over a decade, my passion for smoking meat has led me on a quest to discover the ultimate smoked prime rib recipe.

I’ve spent hours pouring over expert pitmaster tips and cooked countless pounds of rib roasts until I perfected the recipe.

Here’s how to make smoked prime ribs roast step-by-step, including my tips and tricks.

Recipe Overview

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours, plus 30 minutes of rest time
  • Total Time: 6 hours and 40 minutes
  • Number of Servings: 10


Raw rib roast
  • 10-pound prime rib roast
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary


a smoked prime rib roast in an oven
  1. Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees.
  2. Trim the prime rib while the smoker preheats. If you have bone-in prime rib, and the bones aren’t cut away, cut down the rib bones to separate them from the meat. Don’t cut through, but stop at the bottom of the ribs, so the ribs and the meat can open like a book. Trim excess fat or silver skin from the top of the prime rib.
  3. Make the rub. Take out a mixing bowl, and beat butter, garlic cloves, rosemary, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper until all the ingredients are well mixed. Another option is to run the meat with olive oil and then with the seasoning mix so it sticks well.
  4. Rub the mixture over the prime rib. Make sure the meat is completely covered on all sides.
  5. Place the beef rib roast on the smoker, fat-side up. Close the lid and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 110 to 120 degrees. Remove the entire roast from the smoker and cover with foil. Turn up the smoker temperature so it reaches 400 to 450 degrees.
  6. Put the roast back on the smoker and reverse sear to get a crust. Smoke until it reaches your desired internal temperature. It’s best to cook it medium to medium rare so it remains juicy.
  7. Place the roast on a cutting board, and let it rest for half an hour so that the juices can redistribute.
  8. Carve and serve.

Recipe Notes

Rib roast on a plate

Here are some tips and tricks when you smoke prime rib:

  • Put a water pan in the smoker if you have a stick burner. You don’t need it if you have a pellet grill.
  • You should remove the bones from the rib roast before smoking. Tie the roast with twine for aesthetics. You can leave it in and remove it just before serving. It won’t affect the final result.
  • Leave the standing rib roast at room temperature before smoking. This helps bring the uncooked prime rib to room temperature so it cooks more evenly and absorbs more smoke.
  • Buy a leave-in meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, and ensure you don’t overcook the meat. It’s a more reliable option than an instant-read thermometer.
  • The meat will continue to cook when you remove it from the heat. You should remove the smoking prime rib five to ten degrees below your ideal cooking temperature.
  • Trim the fat cap, but don’t remove it completely because the fat melts and gives flavor to the rib roast.
  • Keep in mind bone-in roast takes longer to cook than boneless rib roast.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 931
  • Total Carbs: 2 g
  • Protein: 62 g
  • Fat: 102 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Net Carbs: 0

Choosing the Right Rib Roast

Different types of rib roast

You choose rib roast by choosing different meat grades. According to the USDA, there are three grades to choose from - Prime, Choice, and Select [1].

  • Prime - Has more marbling, which means more flavor, tenderness, and moisture. This is the most expensive cut.
  • Choice - Also good quality, but has less marbling compared to Prime. It’s less expensive than Prime.
  • Select - Is leaner than the above grades. It doesn’t have as much marbling, so it lacks juiciness and flavor.

“Beef is graded in two ways: quality grades for tenderness, juiciness, and flavor; and yield grades for the amount of usable lean meat on the carcass.”

- U.S. Department of Agriculture

Overall, if you have the budget, go for the Prime cut.

However, you’ll also get a perfectly cooked rib by buying Choice, so you don’t really need to spend a fortune for a perfect Prime rib.

You can also choose between bone-in or boneless prime rib roast.

You can use either in prime rib recipes, but keep in mind you’ll have to trim the bones before or after smoking if you get the bone-in.

However, bone-in has a slight advantage over boneless rib because the bones protect the meat from direct heat.

How Much Prime Rib to Get Per Person

Rib roast being cut

Get one pound of prime rib per person. This means a ten-pound roast can feed ten people.

One pound per person ensures you’ll have enough meat after trimmings and cooking losses.

Also, this is the best amount of meat per an adult person with a healthy appetite. If you’re feeding kids, you can lower the amount by checking how much children usually eat.

Keep in mind this is a lot of meat per person, so you’ll probably have leftovers, and you can make prime rib sandwiches.

Pro tip: If you have bone-in, use the number of bones as a guide. For example, when you slice smoked prime rib into pieces, cut where the bones are.

Each rib eye weighs around three to four lbs, so this is enough to feed three to four people per bone with sides.

The Ideal Temperature for Smoked Prime Rib

The temperature to smoke prime rib depends on the level of doneness you want.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Rare - 120 to 125 degrees
  • Medium - 130 to 135 degrees
  • Medium rare - 140 to 145 degrees
  • Well done - 150 degrees

Note: It’s best to cook prime rib to medium rare to retain fat in the meat instead of completely rendering it out.

Keep in mind that this is a very delicate and tender cut. In fact, it’s right after tenderloin in terms of tenderness, so you have to be careful not to overcook it.

How Long Does it Take to Smoke Prime Rib Roast

Rib roast being sliced

It takes about 35 to 40 minutes per pound to smoke prime ribs at 225 degrees to medium-rare.

It takes about 30 to 35 minutes per pound to smoke at 150 degrees.

This is the estimate for a straight smoke, from start to finish, with turning up the heat at the end to get a crust.

Also, how long it takes to smoke a prime rib depends on several factors, such as the cooking temperature, how big the roast is, and what kind of smoker you have.

Generally, a 6 lbs roast takes about five hours to smoke at 225 degrees.

Related Articles:


Is Prime Rib Good Smoked?

Yes, prime rib is good smoked. It’s a great choice for a holiday meal. Slow-smoking prime ribs have an excellent smoky flavor with an outside crunch. Make sure to use a prime rib rub for the best results.

How to Slice Smoked Prime Rib?

You can slice smoked prime rib in two ways. The first way is to slice between the bones, so you have a sliced prime rib with a bone in each serving. The second method is to cut the bones from the meat and discard them before serving. Run a large knife above the top of the bones, and cut the meat into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces.

Do You Wrap Prime Rib When Smoking?

Yes, you wrap prime rib when smoking. Wrap the meat in aluminum foil to overcome the stall, and return it to the smoker to finish cooking.

Have You Tried This Smoked Prime Rib Roast Recipe?

The smoked standing rib roast is a delicious meal when you want tender, flavorful, and juicy meat.

Get Prime grade beef if you're feeling extra indulgent, but keep in mind Choice also tastes amazing when perfectly cooked.

Make sure to use the prime rib seasoning for the most flavor and best results.

Now that you know exactly how to make an amazing prime rib, all you need is quality meat. ButcherBox has a wide selection of beef cuts, all of which are grass-fed and grass-finished.

Their animals are sustainably sourced and responsibly raised without any hormones or additives. Check out ButcherBox by going to our homepage to learn more about their offerings.


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