Standing Rib Roast

standing rib roast

Although some of the terms associated with a standing rib roast can confuse even the biggest connoisseurs, the quality of this meat is worth educating yourself about.

It's Prime Time

There is sometimes a bit of confusion when the word "prime" is used in regards to beef. This is because prime is a grade and the shortened version of the word "primal," which is a basic cut. The four grades of beef, listed in descending order, are:

  • Prime
  • Choice
  • Select
  • Standard

You will almost never see standard at the market because it is usually used in an institutional capacity. There are even grades lower than standard, which are commercial, utility, cutter, and canner, but the consumer will never see these grades available at all. In general, the higher the grade of beef, the more expensive. But, variations exist in each grade so a high quality choice grade will be close to prime while a lower quality choice grade will be closer to select.

When referring to cuts rather than grades, the word "prime" or "primal" means the very basic cut before the meat is separated into the smaller cuts that you will find at the supermarket. The primal cuts of beef are (in no particular order):

  • Chuck
  • Rib
  • Short loin
  • Sirloin
  • Round
  • Flank
  • Short plate
  • Brisket/Shank

Just as a note, the term "sirloin" does not refer to the legend that a king at one time enjoyed the cut of meat so much that he knighted it. A cute story, but false. It actually refers to the fact that the sirloin comes after or is below the loin. Think of it in this way: a person's name consists of a first name and a last name, often referred to as name and surname, so you would have the loin and sirloin.

Prime rib is the cut of meat that is used for a standing rib roast. Without separating the ribs, the cut is trimmed and the unnecessary bones are removed. If the ribs are cut down into individual cuts, they are then called rib eye steaks. The rib section consists of the ribs numbered from 6-12. Depending upon how many people you are feeding, the standing rib roast can be as few as two ribs or as many as seven. Restaurants that offer standing rib roasts will usually cook all 12 ribs.

Seasoning the Standing Rib Roast

Don't be tempted to overseason your standing rib roast. This is a very tender and tasty cut of beef that will do well with the minimum amount of seasoning.

Standing Rib Roast

There are several different ways to cook a standing rib roast from the extremely slow roasting method sometimes used by large restaurants to the more moderately quick method. The slow cooking method is much safer done by professionals in a commercial kitchen where experience and equipment can guarantee a safer cooking environment. Since the slow cooking method keeps the meat in a low heat environment, this method has a very good chance of encouraging the growth of bad bacteria if attempted at home. A more moderate heat and somewhat faster cooking method is the safest bet for a good meal that is bacteria-free.

Ask your butcher to remove the chine bone, feather bones, and excess fat. You should also ask the butcher to trim the bones down to about 7-inches as well, which will make carving the roast before serving easier. This serves about 10 people.


  • 1 3-rib roast (about 9 pounds)
  • Flour to coat rib roast
  • 1 cup salt
  • ¼ cup pepper
  • ¼ cup garlic powder (optional)


  1. Take the roast out of the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for at least one hour, but no more than two hours.
  2. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
  3. Place the roast in a roasting pan with a rack fat side up.
  4. Rub the roast with flour.
  5. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder mix.
  6. Place a tent of foil over the roast very loosely.
  7. Cook the roast for 90 minutes.
  8. Turn off the oven but do not open it.
  9. Let the roast sit in the oven for one hour with the door closed.
  10. Let the roast rest for ten minutes before carving.
  11. This method will give you varying degrees of doneness from medium rare to medium well.
  12. You might want to save the bones for a deviled bones recipe.


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Standing Rib Roast