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Standing Rib Roast - Montreal Steak Rub


  • Buy the small end (ribs 10-12) of a standing rib roast.
  • Remove the fat cap and tie the roast at each bone.
  • Apply Worcestershire sauce and Montreal Steak Seasoning, refrigerating overnight.
  • Smoke at 225-250°F to an internal temperature of 125°F for medium rare.
  • Move the roast to a preheated 500°F oven and sear exterior for 5 minutes.
  • Cover loosely with foil and let rest 15 minutes before carving.
Applying Montreal Steak Rub to USDA Prime rib roast
Applying Montreal Steak Rub to USDA Prime rib roast
Slice of beef rib roast
Slice of 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 December 24, 2016. This recipe was first published in December 2002 based on an earlier cook on January 27, 2002.

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

Video: Standing Rib Roast - Montreal Steak Rub

Here's a video in which I talk you through the process of making this standing rib roast. Click on the video to play.

Purchase & Prepare A Three-Rib, Small-End Standing Rib Roast

USDA Prime three-rib standing rib roast in packaging
Photo 1
Rib roast unwrapped, bone side up
Photo 2
Rib roast unwrapped, fat side up
Photo 3
Trimming off part of the fat cap
Photo 4
Pulling off part of the fat cap
Photo 5
Pulling off another area of fat cap
Photo 6
Fat cap removed
Photo 7
Removing seam of fat and sinew
Photo 8
Trimmed standing rib roast with removed fat on the side
Photo 9
Tying the roast with twine
Photo 10

This is a three-bone USDA Prime standing rib roast cut from the small end (ribs 10-12) of a whole roast and weighing 8.19 pounds. You'll notice the butcher did a half-hearted job at frenching the bones for a better presentation. The roast was sold with the fat cap is intact, which is typical, and many times I've cooked rib roasts with the fat cap intact. For this roast, I removed it because a) it doesn't render well during cooking, b) I don't enjoy eating it, and c) I'd rather have a nice, crusty, meaty outside edge that's seasoned with rub.

Photos 3-6 show how I trimmed and pulled the fat cap off the roast; Photos 7-9 show how I trimmed a vein of fat and sinew under the fat cap. Once trimmed, I tied the roast at each bone.

  • 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, act as a natural roasting rack, and are good to eat.
  • After trimming fat, tie the roast at each bone. This prevents the spinalis dorsi muscle, also known as the "rib eye cap", from separating from the outer edge of the roast during cooking. Tying also keeps the roast in a round shape for more even cooking. 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

Tied roast with seasoning and Worcestershire sauce
Photo 11
Worcestershire sauce applied to roast
Photo 12
Applying Montreal seasoning to roast
Photo 13
Rubbed standing rib roast
Photo 14
Close-up of rubbed standing rib roast
Photo 15
Roast wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in Ziploc bag
Photo 16

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 12 shows how the roast looked after applying the Worcestershire sauce. Photos 14-15 show how the roast looked after applying the seasoning.

Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and/or place in a Ziploc bag 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

Two chunks of oak smoke wood
Photo 17

Use 2 chunks of dry oak wood. Each chunk should be about the size of your fist. Pecan, apple, or another mild fruit wood can be used if oak is not available.

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

Fire-Up The Cooker

Estimating depth for probe thermometer placement
Photo 18
Roast on sheet pan with probe thermometer inserted in center
Photo 19
Firing the cooker
Photo 20
Hot coals spread over unlit charcoal
Photo 21

When you pull the rib roast out of the refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap and insert a probe thermometer into the center of the roast. Photo 18 shows how I measured to the center of the roast with the probe, holding my fingers against the surface to mark the depth, then inserted the probe into the top center of the roast until my fingers touched the surface again (Photo 19).

Cover the outside of the water pan with wide, heavy duty aluminum foil and place it in the middle cooking section.

Fire-up the cooker using the Minion Method—fill the charcoal chamber about 1/2 full with unlit Kingsford Charcoal Briquets, nestle the smoke wood chunks into the charcoal, and use a Weber chimney starter to light 30 briquettes, spreading the hot coals over the unlit charcoal and wood.

Insert the middle cooking section into the charcoal bowl and fill the water pan from above with hot tap water. Put the top cooking grate in place, then place the roast bone-side down on the grate. Place the lid on the cooker.

Smoke The Rib Roast, Then Sear In Oven

Roast goes into the WSM
Photo 22
ThermoWorks Smoke probe thermometer measures meat and pit temps
Photo 23
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Set the top vent 100% open and leave it that way throughout the entire cooking session. Start with all three bottom vents 100% open. As the cooker approaches 200°F, begin to partially close all 3 bottom vents to maintain 225-250°F. Adjust the bottom vents as needed to maintain this temperature range throughout the cooking process.

Cook the rib roast at 225-250°F until the internal meat temperature is 10°F below the final internal temp you want to achieve. See Standing Rib Roast Selection & Preparation for a chart of doneness internal temps.

Move the roast to a rimmed baking sheet pan and place it in a preheated 500°F oven for 5 minutes to sear the exterior surface. Remove the roast from the oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let the meat rest for 15 minutes before serving). Residual heat in the meat will cause the internal temp to rise 5-10°F during the rest and the juices will redistribute and stabilize within the roast.

Alternatively, after searing 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.

For this roast, I cooked the meat to an internal temp of 125°F for medium rare, then seared it for 5 minutes and rested it for 15 minutes before serving.

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

Estimated cooking time for a 3-bone standing roast is 30-40 minutes per pound.

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

Time Lid Temp Meat Temp Vent 1 % Vent 2 % Vent 3 %
2:00 pm - - 100 100 100
2:30 pm 285 37 50 50 50
2:45 pm 275 40 50 50 50
3:00 pm 275 43 25 25 25
3:15 pm 267 49 25 0 0
3:30 pm 250 56 25 0 0
3:45 pm 231 69 25 0 0
4:00 pm 226 77 25 0 0
4:15 pm 220 88 25 0 0
4:22 pm 213 93 100 25 0
4:30 pm 230 98 100 25 0
4:45 pm 243 105 50 25 0
5:00 pm 235 112 50 25 0
5:15 pm 227 118 50 25 0
5:30 pm 237 123 50 25 0
5:37 pm 237 125 50 25 0

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

Rest, Carve & Serve The Roast

Removing twine after meat resting
Photo 24
Slicing bones off the roast
Photo 25
Slicing bones into individual ribs
Photo 26
Interior view of cooked standing rib roast
Photo 27
Close-up of interior view of standing rib roast
Photo 28
Slice of standing rib roast
Photo 29
Prime rib on a plate with au jus and corn casserole
Photo 30
Thinly sliced prime rib sandwich
Photo 31

After searing, remove the roast from the oven and cover loosely again with foil. Let the meat rest for 15 minutes before carving.

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. Click here to see the cutting process as a GIF.

Next, place the roast flat on the cutting board and carve slices 1/2" thick or to your liking. Cut the bones into individual pieces and serve them along with the roast...or save them for yourself!

I served this prime rib with au jus and a side of corn pudding (Photo 30). The next day, it was thinly sliced prime rib on a toasted roll with garlic butter and creamy horseradish sauce (Photo 31).

Portion and Freeze Leftovers

Packing leftovers with FoodSaver
Photo 32
Close-up of sealed FoodSaver packages
Photo 33

Even with a three-rib roast like this one, you're likely to end up with leftovers. I like to slice the leftover roast into serving portions and vacuum pack each portion in FoodSaver bags. These can be frozen for months then thawed and reheated gently in boiling water right in the bag, or at 20% power in the microwave on a plate covered with plastic wrap. It tastes almost as good as the day you originally cooked it.

More Standing Rib Roast Links On TVWB

Updated: 02/13/2019

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