How Much Rib Roast Per Person?

Nicole Austin

Prime rib is an obvious entertaining choice. But it's less obvious how much you need, or how to choose and prepare one masterfully.

Prime rib roast is a classic favorite for fall and winter holidays or dinner parties, and is a beloved comfort food for cold, cozy nights at home.

How Much Rib Roast Per Person Photo

What is Prime Rib?

This large cut of beef is juicy and moist, and often served with a flavorful au jus to complement the natural taste.

Also known as a standing rib roast, prime rib is usually served bone-in.

Prime rib is cut from the primal rib section of the animal, and ribeyes are steaks cut from the prime rib.

A whole roast weighs anywhere from 12 to 16 pounds.

Prime rib does not designate the quality of meat, as the word “prime” may imply.

Rather, this is the name of the cut itself.

Why Do People Make Prime Rib for Holidays?

Chances are, you've seen this main course make an appearance somewhere during the holiday season.

Prime rib has a large eye of meat in the center, which means it is tender, juicy, and marbled with fat.

This means that the prime rib is tender, juicy, and very flavorful because this area of muscle is not heavily used.

Most novice cooks can follow recipe directions for prime rib and create a high-quality dinner that pleases guests and has a sophisticated feel to it without any issues.

That's just one reason a ribeye roast is popular for a holiday meal like Christmas dinner or a great choice for a different special occasion or large family sit-down dinner.

Consider some ideas for holiday sides to go with it!

How to Choose Prime Rib

Prime rib is available at a grocery store or butcher shop.

Some cuts of meat are too large for the amount of people you are serving at your dinner party, and these can be cut at the store for the proper serving amount for your needs.

You can request portions of the set of ribs based on your preferences, as well.

Ribs 6-9 are also known by different names, such as the chuck end, second cut, or blade end.

These are closer to the shoulder and contain more fat.

Ribs 10-12 are called loin end, small end, or first cut, and they are leaner and more tender.

Prime rib is sold bone-in or boneless. A local butcher can remove the bones if requested.

Prime Rib Photo

How Much Prime Rib Per Person?

The rule of thumb for rib roast is either one pound of boneless roast per person or one rib for every two diners.

When ordering from a butcher, you can request either by pound or number of ribs.

To determine how many ribs to buy for your specific dinner preferences, you must first decide how many guests you are expecting and what cut or preparation of roast you will serve.

Bone-in roast and boned & tied roast will weigh the same amount per serving, and boneless rib roast will weigh slightly less.

Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow:

  • 3-4 adults: 4 lbs bone in/boned & tied, 3 lbs boneless roast
  • 4-5 adults: 5 lbs bone in/boned & tied, 4 lbs boneless roast
  • 5-6 adults: 6 lbs bone in/boned & tied, 5 lbs boneless roast
  • 6-7 adults: 7 lbs bone in/boned & tied, 6 lbs boneless roast
  • 8-10 adults: 10 lbs bone in/boned & tied, 8 lbs boneless roast
  • 10-12 adults: 14 lbs bone in/boned & tied, 11 lbs boneless roast

What Oven Temperature Do You Cook Rib Roast?

If you want a detailed guide, here's how to cook prime rib. Below, we have a quick summary of some key points.

The length of time you cook rib roast depends on the doneness you are looking to achieve.

Cook rib roast at 350°F for the best results and use the following guide for prime rib cook times:

Rare: 15-16 min per pound, to internal temp of 125°F

Medium Rare: 16-17 min per pound, to internal temp of 130-135°F

Medium: 18 min per pound, to internal temp of 140°F

Medium Well: 19 min per pound, to internal temp of 150°F

Well Done: 20 min per pound, to internal temp of 160°F

Use an instant-read thermometer to check internal temperature. Do not poke the meat too often.

Wait until you are within 20-30 minutes of your estimated cooking time before inserting the meat thermometer for the first time or you may drain too many of the natural juices that will keep the meat moist.

Insert at the thickest section of the roast, away from bones if there are any in your roast.

Allow to rest for 15-20 minutes after being removed from the oven before slicing and serving to retain moisture and flavor.

Prime rib is usually served rare or medium rare.

Cooking a prime rib past 140°F can cause the fat to melt out of the cut, which can make it tough, dry, and too chewy.

How Much Rib Roast Per Person Picture

Is the Small End or Large End of a Rib Roast Better?

The small end of a rib roast is closer to the loin, and the large end is closer to the chuck.

This means that the small end is more tender, and generally more desirable.

Larger roasts are easier to cook, and you will want to select a roast that has not been trimmed much or at all.

It is recommended to only trim fat or meat that is hanging off the cut.

What is the Average Cost of a Prime Rib Dinner?

You can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $50 per pound of prime rib.

In general, prime rib roast costs about 25% more per pound than choice beef cuts.

Prime rib roast is desirable because it is known for being delicious, juicy, flavorful, and tender.

Many people look forward to indulging in rib roast at holiday dinners or special occasions.

Prime rib is also an expensive cut of meat because it is in great demand, particularly in the fall and winter months.

This means they are limited in number, making them more expensive.

While eating out for dinner at a restaurant, prime rib is less expensive than ribeye because it saves time and money to prepare a large amount of meat at once than it does to prepare individual steaks.

Prime Rib Image

How Long Can You Keep Uncooked Rib Roast in the Fridge Before Cooking?

Purchase a high-quality cut of rib roast, and season it well with kosher salt, black pepper, and any desired spices.

Some people like it with fresh rosemary or a little horseradish sauce.

Let it rest uncovered on a rack on the refrigerator after purchase.

You should plan to cook a prime rib roast after resting it in the fridge sometime between overnight and four days.

Should You Sear a Rib Roast?

Searing a rib roast in what is called a “reverse sear method,” or searing the meat after cooking it rather than before, will result in a juicier meat.

While some claim that searing first will hold in juices, this hasn’t been proven to be the case.

At the end of cooking, when the meat is relatively warm and dry from cooking slowly in the oven, add high heat for a perfectly cooked prime rib.

Turn the temperature up to 500°F for a few minutes until the meat is browned, giving you a thin flavorful crust on your exquisite roast.

Nicole is a self-published author of fiction novels, and a lover of food and spending time in the kitchen with her six children. She lives in coastal Maine where she loves exploring new recipes especially those that can save time, money and wow a crowd.

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