What is Prime Rib?


Mention prime rib in the UK and what might instantly come to mind are some amazing pork belly ribs cooked low n slow? However Prime Rib, which is beef, must be one of the most famous dishes in the USA, but you see it very little on UK menus if at all?

Even the recent opening of Smith & Wollensky in London, the famous American Steakhouse chain which originated in New York, does not feature the Prime Rib in the usual American form seen in most USA steakhouses. The more famous at least UK wise Hawksmoor offer Prime Rib, but it's served more like Cote de Beouf on the bone as a joint to share, it normally comes carved and it is amazing, but it's not like the Prime Rib served across the USA.

What is the more usual form of Prime Rib in the USA? It's more akin to English roast beef, that is a 10kg joint of Rib Eye is roasted medium rare over wood and allowed to rest. It is then cut into 12oz slabs (or bigger) rather than the usual UK style of thinner slices. Primarily Prime Rib and Rib Eye are from the same part of the animal, it's the fact that Rib Eye is cut into steaks ready for grilling, frying or barbecue, the Prime Rib is the joint of the Rib which is roasted as the whole and then sliced into the slabs after resting and roasting, for further reading there's a great piece written on the Steak University site about the differences.

Prime Rib Roast

It's normally served with what the Americans would call Jus, but it's just a really good gravy made with the clarified juices of the rib, cooked with vegetables then strained. Other simple accompaniments include mash or baked potato, green beans or creamed spinach and nearly always a side of creamed horseradish.

From my personal point of view, Prime Rib is one of my favourite food experiences when visiting the USA. The umami flavouring of the crust and the softness of the interior meat makes for an amazing meal that just oozes American food culture, in my opinion it knocks the socks off fillet steak, for flavour and texture. 

I would really like to see more Prime Rib on UK menus, so our Prime Rib night is a celebration of this American institution. As we cook meat low n slow over hickory, I've been doing a little research and development cooking this joint medium rare for several hours after marinating in a spiced rub first. We've found that a rub of cumin, smoked paprika, garlic, mustard, onion & sugar, basted with cider vinegar worked the best.

The experimentation has gone really well and we did some outside catering for a group of 30 recently and cooked two joints in our travelling smoker. The feedback was unbelievable many commenting on the fact it was the best beef that they had ever had. There was some leftovers of it so I had to make a sandwich the next day in toasted sourdough with pickled onion, tarragon mayo, comte cheese, pickles and mustard.

Prime Rib Left Overs Sandwich

If you would like to join us for out first Prime Rib night we're holding it on the Friday 16th November, we'll be using 30 day matured local Dexter Beef with accompaniments and some starters to wet your appetite first for a dish that is normally $30+ in the States and sides extra, we're offering it at £19.95 for two courses as we really want this dish to take off in the UK. Be the first to rave about Prime Rib. The only question is should it come with a Yorkshire pudding also? 😉