Why Choose a Prime Rib Roast?

Prime rib is also known as rib roast and standing rib roast. It is not the same thing as a rib eye steak, although rib eyes are cut from the same part of beef. Prime rib recipes sometimes call for the roast to stand as it cooks, meaning that the ribs would face up, and this is how it came to be known as a standing rib roast. It can also be cooked with the ribs down, however.

Prime rib is an excellent choice for a holiday or other special occasion meal for as few as two or three, or as many as 15 people. It can be purchased with between two and seven ribs depending on the size needed, and generally the formula for estimating how far a prime rib roast will go is one rib for every two people.

The small end is a better cut of prime rib, and shoppers can ask the butcher specifically for this cut of the roast. This simply means that the cut is made from ribs 7 through 12. The butcher can also slice the meat along the bone and tie the bone to the roast. This permits the flavor of the bone to enhance the roast during cooking while allowing for ease of bone removal when the roast is finished.

The primary advantage of a prime rib roast is that it is almost always a tasty cut of meat that leads to a successful main dish. The disadvantage is its expense particularly given that the “prime” of its name no longer refers to the exclusive USDA grade. Many cuts of meat sold as prime rib are likely today to be Select or Choice grade rather than Prime, which refers to only 2 percent of meat sold and is often a level of quality found only in restaurants. Prime rib roast may simply be too expensive if a large group needs to be fed, and sometimes a different cut such as tip sirloin makes an adequate substitute.

At its best, however, there is simply no dish quite like the prime rib roast, and it is an excellent centerpiece for a special meal.