Whether you are looking to impress your mother-in-law or show off your culinary prowess to your friends and family, serving prime rib is a good choice for a special dinner. The large, juicy hunk of meat is a striking sight at the dinner table. For the best results, choose a USDA prime grade of beef, which is the highest grade of meat you can buy. If you buy the prime rib frozen, thaw it out before cooking. A well cooked prime rib will have your friends and family marveling at your culinary skills.
Place the frozen prime rib in a pan and put it in the refrigerator at least a full day before you plan to cook it to ensure that it thaws out completely. Two to four hours before cooking, place the prime rib out on a kitchen counter so that it can come to room temperature. The exact time it will take to come too room temperature will depend on the size, so use your best judgment.
Trim any excess fat off the prime rib, but leave a thin layer of fat about one inch thick, which will impart flavor on the beef.
Secure the rib bones to the bulk of the meat with cooking twine. Tie strips of the cooking twine around the meat and in between the bones of the rib part, so that the meat is held together with several pieces of string.This will prevent the meat from falling off of the bone as it is being cooked and will also help to keep it moist.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Pat the prime rib with paper towels to remove any moisture.
Smear butter on the cut ends of the prime rib. Season the rib with fresh ground black pepper and if you want, kosher salt. Opinions are divided on whether to salt the meat before cooking, which some believe dries out the meat. You have the option of salting before, or waiting until after the prime rib is cooked and letting individuals salt their own slices of meat.
Place the ribs in a stainless-steel roasting pan rib side down. The pan should be at least three inches deep.
Stick a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat and place the ribs in the oven for 15 minutes at 450 degrees F. The high temperature will sear the outside of the meat for a crispy skin.
Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F to complete cooking. Baste the roast with its own juices every half an hour and cook to your desired doneness. Beef is rare at about 120 degrees F, medium-rare at about 125 to 130 degrees and 140 to 145 for medium-well. To prevent overcooking, remove the roast when the temperature is about 10 degrees from your desired level of doneness.
Cover with aluminum foil and let sit for 10 to 20 minutes. The temperature will continue to rise another 10 degrees, and the juices will redistribute throughout the meat, making it juicy.
Carve the prime rib into individual pieces and serve immediately.