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Prime Rib on a Charcoal Grill

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Learn how to make a delicious prime rib on a charcoal grill! For this recipe, the rib roast is coated with an amazing herb rub, cooked slowly over low heat, and served with a creamy Dijon sauce. Trust us when we say it’s heavenly!

prime rib on a charcoal grill

If you’re looking for an impressive and delicious main course for the holiday, then cooking a prime rib on a charcoal grill is a great choice. With the right preparation and smoking technique, you can achieve a perfectly juicy and flavorful medium-rare roast.

Creating the smoke

Add wood chips or chunks to the charcoal to infuse additional smoky flavor into the prime rib. Over the years, we’ve experimented with this technique and found that the best woods (at least to our palates) are Mesquite, Cherry, and Pecan wood

Equipment, time, and doneness

  • Charcoal grill: Since this technique uses charcoal, you’ll need a charcoal grill for this recipe. If you have a Traeger, Camp Chef, or another type of pellet or electric smoker, consult our Pellet Grill Prime Rib recipe.
  • Fuel: Have enough charcoal to get you through a 3-hour cooking time. It’s always a good idea to have a little extra.
  • Drip pan: You will need an aluminum drip pan to set under the roast as it cooks. That way, you can catch all those fantastic drippings to make a flavor-packed gravy. 
  • Meat thermometer: Have a reliable meat thermometer or temperature probe handy so you can pull your prime rib roast off the grill at the right moment.
prime rib ingredients
derrickriches.com

Prime rib ingredients

  • 1 4-5 bone rib roast (bone-in roasts are much more flavorful, and you can save the rib bones to snack on later!)
  • 3-4 cups mesquite wood chips (or wood of choice)
  • 1 aluminum drip pan (for collecting those drippings)
  • Butter-Herb Prime Rib Rub (contains olive oil, butter, garlic, and more)
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt (for pre-salting the roast)
  • Optional: Prime Rib Injection Marinade

How to make prime rib on a charcoal grill

  • Trim off any hanging bits of fat or meat from the rib roast. 
  • Salting the rib roast: Apply 2 tablespoons of kosher salt evenly to roast. Place on a large platter and store uncovered in the refrigerator anywhere between 45 minutes to 12 hours.

Setting up your charcoal grill

  • Soak wood chips in water for 1 hour.
  • Set up a two-zone fire on your charcoal grill. That means banking all the hot coals on one side (direct heat zone) and leaving the other side empty (indirect heat zone). We will be cooking the rib roast over indirect heat.
  • While the grill is heating, prepare the butter-herb rub. Apply evenly to the pre-salted rib roast. Let roast stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before placing on the grill.
  • Add wood chips to the fire and let the smoke billow for a minute or two .

Smoking a Prime Rib

  • Set the standing rib roast on grill grate bone-side down, and place an aluminum drip pan filled with 1 cup of water directly underneath. Cook for 2 1/2-3 hours, adding fresh wood chips as need for the first hour. Watch for flare-ups. We recommend a internal temperature of 130 degrees F or medium-rare.
  • Once the roast is cooked and has developed a nice outer crust, remove it from the grill and place it onto a clean cutting board. Loosely tent roast with aluminum foil, and let the prime rib rest for 20-30 minutes before carving.
  • Note on gravy: If you are collecting the drippings to make a beef gravy, be aware that they might be rather smoky. I recommend using some of the drippings supplemented by a good-quality beef stock.

Carving a Prime Rib

  • Tip the roast so that the end of the rib bones are facing upward. Refer to the photo for guidance. Using a sharp knife, slice downward and separate the rib bone pieces from the rest of the roast. Save the bones to snack on later! 
  • Next, slice the prime rib into 1/2″ thick slices and serve with sauce and your favorite sides.

Optional Dijon sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard (substitute with whole grain mustard or prepared horseradish)
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon dry ranch dressing mix
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • Combine sour cream, 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, whole milk, green onion, and ranch dressing in a bowl. 
  • Serve on top of sliced prime rib or on the side. If you’d rather skip this step, then serve the roast with gravy or horseradish sauce.

Side Dishes for Prime Rib

Yorkshire Pudding

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

Corn Pudding

prime rib on a charcoal grill

Prime Rib on a Charcoal Grill

This delicious prime rib is coated with a fantastic herb rub and cooked low and slow. Serve this tender beef roast with a flavorful side sauce or gravy, and your favorite sides.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American BBQ, Fusion
Keyword: prime rib on a charcoal grill, rib roast recipe, smoked rib roast
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8 People
Calories: 625kcal
Author: Derrick Riches and Sabrina Baksh

Ingredients

  • 1 4-5 pound rib roast
  • 3-4 cups mesquite wood chips
  • 1 aluminum drip pan
  • Butter-Herb Prime Rib Rub
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt for pre-salting the roast
  • Optional sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard (Substitute with whole grain mustard or prepared horseradish)
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon dry ranch dressing mix
  • 2 green onions finely chopped

Instructions

  • Trim off any hanging bits of fat or meat from the rib roast. Apply 2 tablespoons of kosher salt evenly to roast. Place on a large platter and store in the refrigerator anywhere between 45 minutes to 12 hours, uncovered.
  • Soak wood chips in water for 1 hour.
  • Set up a two-zone fire on your charcoal grill y banking all the hot coals on one side (direct heat zone), and leaving the other side empty (indirect heat zone). We will be cooking the rib roast over the indirect heat.
  • Prepare the butter-herb rub. Apply evenly to the pre salted rib roast. Let roast stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before placing on the grill.
  • Add pre soaked wood chips to grill 5 minutes prior to adding the roast.
    Set an aluminum drip pan filled with 1 cup of water directly underneath the grates where the roast will go.
    Set rib roast on the grates.
    Cook for 2 1/2-3 hours, adding fresh wood chips as needed during the first hour of cooking.
    We recommend a doneness temperature of 130 degrees F or medium-rare.
  • Once cooked , remove rib roast from grill and place it onto a clean cutting board. Loosely tent roast with aluminum foil, and let the meat rest for 20-30 minutes before carving.
  • While roast is resting, prepare optional sauce. Combine sour cream, Dijon mustard, whole milk, green onion, and ranch dressing in a bowl. (see notes for recipe mesaurements).
    Serve on top of sliced rib roast or on the side. If you'd rather skip this step, then serve roast with gravy and horseradish sauce.

Notes

Creamy Dijon Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard (substitute with whole grain mustard or prepared horseradish)
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon dry ranch dressing mix
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • Combine sour cream, 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, whole milk, green onion, and ranch dressing in a bowl. 
  • Serve on top of sliced rib roast or on the side. If you’d rather skip this step, then serve the roast with gravy or horseradish sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 625kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 300mg | Potassium: 300mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 70IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg

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