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Standing Rib Roast - Montreal Steak Rub


  • Buy the small end (ribs 10-12) of a standing rib roast.
  • Have the butcher tie the roast, or tie it yourself at each bone.
  • Leave the bones intact for better moisture retention and flavor.
  • Apply Worcestershire sauce and Montreal Steak Seasoning, refrigerating overnight.
  • Smoke at 325-350°F.
  • Remove from cooker 5-10°F below the final internal temperature desired.
  • Cover loosely with foil and let rest 30 minutes before carving.
Montreal Steak Rub beef rib roast
Montreal Steak Rub beef rib roast
Sliced beef rib roast
Sliced beef rib roast

This standing rib roast was inspired by a recipe described by Mike Scrutchfield on The BBQ Forum in 1996. It has great flavor and uses just two simple ingredients that may already be in your pantry.

Here are some pictures I took when I prepared this recipe using the Weber Bullet on January 27, 2002.

As on any of the pictures to view a larger image.

Three-Rib, Small-End Standing Rib Roast

Beef rib roast - ribs 11-13
Photo 1

This is a three-rib USDA Choice standing rib roast cut from the small end (ribs 10-12), weighing 5.8 pounds. The butcher tied the roast for me, so there was no prep required.

  • When buying a bone-in rib roast, figure on 1 to 1-1/4 pounds pre-cooked weight per serving.
  • Buy a roast with the rib bones attached. They provide better moisture retention and flavor, and act as a natural roasting rack.
  • Tie the roast at each bone, as shown in this photo. This prevents the outer layer of meat from pulling away from the rib eye. Place the roast bone-side down. Cut a length of kitchen twine, loop it around the roast parallel to the first bone, bringing the two ends to the top of the roast. Pull snug and tie with whatever kind of knot you like, then repeat at each bone.
  • Don't bother cutting the ribs off and tying them back on before cooking. They're easily removed once the roast is cooked.

To learn more about standing rib roasts, see the Standing Rib Roast Selection & Preparation article.

This video demonstrates how to tie a roast. Click on the video to play.

Season The Roast

Rubbed rib roast
Photo 2

About Worcestershire SauceThis recipe is simplicity itself and comes from a December 1996 post by Mike Scrutchfield on The BBQ Forum. Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Rub the meat with Worcestershire sauce, then apply a heavy sprinkling of McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning. This rub consists of coarse salt, black pepper, dill seed, coriander seed, red pepper, garlic, and other seasonings. It's available in the spice aisle at most supermarkets.

Photo 2 shows how the roast looked after the application of Worcestershire sauce and rub.

Wrap tightly in Saran Wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, remove the rib roast from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature while you fire-up the cooker.

Select The Smoke Wood

You don't want to overpower a standing rib roast with too much smoke or by using a smoke wood with a flavor that's too strong. I recommend oak, apple, cherry, or a mix of these, and use them sparingly.

I chose three medium-sized dry oak chunks. This will be enough wood to provide adequate smoke during the relatively short cooking time.

There is no need to soak the wood or remove the bark before use.

Fire-Up The Cooker

Firing the cooker
Photo 3

Fire-up the cooker using the Standard Method—one full Weber chimney starter of hot Kingsford Charcoal Briquets in the charcoal bowl, followed by another full chimney of unlit Kingsford, allowing all coals to become fully lit before cooking.

If you have two chimneys, you can fill and fire both simultaneously.

I used Weber hardwood charcoal briquettes for this cook, which is no longer sold in the United States.

Foil Empty The Water Pan

Cover the inside and outside of the water pan with wide, heavy duty aluminum foil. Place the pan inside the cooker, but leave it empty.

Smoke The Rib Roast

Roast goes into the WSM
Photo 4

When all the coals are covered with gray ash, assemble the cooker and place the roast bone-side down on the top grate. Insert a probe thermometer in the center of the roast to monitor the internal meat temperature during cooking.

Place the lid on the cooker. Add the smoke wood to the hot coals.

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Set the three bottom vents to 100% open. Open the top vent fully and leave it that way throughout the entire cook.

Adjust the bottom vents as necessary throughout the cooking process to maintain a temperature of 325-350°F measured at the lid.

Cook the rib roast to 5-10° below the final internal temperature you want to achieve. Residual heat in the meat will cause the internal temp to rise 5-10°F during a 30 minute rest after cooking.

There's no need to baste or turn the meat during cooking.

I chose 134°F as the temp at which I would remove this roast from the cooker. After resting, the final temp would rise to about 140°F. This is a bit more done than some people prefer for a rib roast. A final internal temperature of 120-125°F will result in rare meat with some medium-rare and medium meat at the ends of the roast.

Estimated cooking time for a 3-bone rib roast is 13-18 minutes per pound (this roast took about 20 minutes per pound).

Here's how the cooker and internal meat temperatures went during the two hour cooking process.

Time Lid Temp Meat Temp Vent 1 % Vent 2 % Vent 3 %
1:35pm - 44 50 50 50
1:45pm 389 46 50 50 0
2:00pm 333 50 50 50 50
2:15pm 340 64 50 50 50
2:30pm 338 73 50 50 50
2:45pm 337 89 50 50 50
3:00pm 327 102 50 50 50
3:15pm 325 113 100 50 50
3:30pm 328 129 100 50 50
3:42pm 325 134 100 50 50

Note that the vent percentages represent the way I set the vents at the time indicated.

Rest, Carve & Serve The Roast

Roast after rest period
Photo 5
Beef ribs
Photo 6
Sliced beef rib roast
Photo 7
Close-up of beef rib roast
Photo 8

After two hours of cooking, this roast reached 134°F.

Place the roast on a rimmed baking sheet pan, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest 30 minutes before slicing. This allows the meat to finish cooking and for the juices to redistribute and stabilize within the roast. Photo 5 shows the roast after the rest.

Alternatively, you can hold the roast at serving temperature for up to an hour by wrapping it tightly with two layers of foil and placing it in an empty cooler.

To carve, remove the twine and roll the roast onto its side so the bones are pointing straight up. Using the bones as a handle, cut downward close to the bones using a sharp boning knife or an electric carving knife to remove the bones. A picture of cutting the bones from a standing rib roast can be found in the Prime Rib - Herb Crusted article.

Photo 6 shows the rib bones cut into individual portions.

Next, place the roast flat on the cutting board and carve slices 1/2" thick or to your liking. Photos 7-8 show the results.

In my cooking log, I wrote that the meat looked dark and rich, not burned. There was a 1/8" smoke ring, and the meat was very moist throughout. It had a rich aroma and intense flavor. The smoke flavor was perfect. And of course, the meat was naturally tender, as you'd expect from a standing rib roast.

More Standing Rib Roast Links On TVWB

Updated: 12/31/2016

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