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Prime Rib on a Pellet Grill

Making a smoked Prime Rib on a Pellet Grill is a breeze, and it produces amazing results! There’s nothing quite like a perfectly cooked prime rib roast to elevate any special occasion. Our comprehensive recipe guide will guide you through selecting the right rib roast and sharing Pitmaster tips and techniques.

Prime Rib Pellet Grill Recipe

Prime rib is the king of all holiday meals, and with rising beef prices, you’ll want to make the most of your investment. Using a pellet smoker is the easiest way to make a smoked prime rib roast. You can apply this recipe to a stick burner unit if you do not own a Traeger or electric smoker. Please see our Kettle Smoked Rib Roast Recipe if using a charcoal grill like the Big Green Egg or Weber Kettle.

What is prime rib?

The prime rib roast, or standing rib roast, is one of nine primal beef cuts. Most rib roasts have between 3-7 bones and are known for being well-marbled, juicy, and tender, with a rich beefy flavor. However, not all prime rib are prime-grade. Two choices are available on the market, with Prime grade being the more expensive option. You can source these amazing prime ribs from Snake River Farms or from a grocery store, local butcher, or wholesale store like Costco. Don’t forget about choice grade, which has great marbling and wonderful flavor. You can also purchase aged prime rib and bone-in or boneless roasts. 

Equipment, Fuel, and Time:

  • Equipment: Besides your pellet grill, you will need an instant-read thermometer, aluminum foil, a disposable drip pan, and fuel, or in this case, pellets (or hardwood if using a stick burner grill).
  • Wood Suggestions:  Pecan, Apple, Cherry, Oak, or Hickory. Use milder wood like pecan or apple for less smoke flavor and woods like oak or hickory for more robust smokiness. You can combine mild and rich woods as well. We used pecan wood for this recipe and found it provided the perfect smokiness to suit our tastes.
  • Note on Fuel: Ensure you have enough fuel to get through the entire cooking time! Trust me. It is stress-inducing to run out, especially when smoking a high-ticket item like a prime rib!
  • Time: Most recipes call for a cooking temperature of 225 degrees F. We swear by 250 degrees. At this temperature, plan on 25-30 minutes per pound (or 3 1/2 hours for a 7 pound bone-in roast) to reach an internal temperature of 130 degrees F (or medium-rare) in the thickest part of the roast. We recommend pulling it at 125 degrees if you plan on broiling or reverse-searing the pellet grill prime rib at the end of cooking time. 
prime rib temperature guide

What to plan for:

  • Meat: How much meat will you need for your guests? Plan on 3/4-1 pound per person. A 7-pound roast should adequately feed 7-8 adults. 
  • Flavoring: Our prime rib on a pellet grill calls for a simple SPG rub; however, you can add fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme. We recommend mixing it with the SPG and using about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to create a paste. Apply it anywhere from 2-4 hours before cooking time.
  • Injection Marinade: If you would like to enhance the beefy flavor of your smoked prime ribs, we recommend using our prime rib injection marinade. This is particularly important when making a large roast.
  • Resting: For best results, rest the roast for 30-40 minutes before carving. Doing this will allow you to prepare your side dishes and gravy.
prime-rib-with-ingredients
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Ingredient list

  • 1 bone-in prime rib roast, about 7-9 pounds
  • Olive oil
  • SPG rub (kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic), or favorite bottled rub for beef
  • Optional: Prime Rib Injection Marinade
  • Butcher’s Twine
  • Aluminum Drip Pan
  • Aluminum Foil
  • A reliable meat thermometer

Trimming and Prepping a Prime Rib

  • We recommend using a bone-in beef roast, as the rib bones insulate the meat as it cooks. You can opt for a cut and tied standing rib roast or one still intact. Most butchers will gladly separate the bone from the eye of the roast and tie it back together with butcher’s twine. Please refer to this video if you’d like to do it yourself.
  • Trim the fat cap on the top of the roast to 1/2″ thick. Some cooks prefer to reduce it to 1/4″ thick, but we don’t recommend trimming more.
  • Optional injection marinade: Complete this step before seasoning the surface of the roast. See notes section in the recipe card below.
  • Brush the roast with olive oil. Apply the SPG rub evenly to the roast. Cover with plastic wrap and place it into your refrigerator for 2-4 hours. No longer. Remove the roast from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for at least 45-60 minutes before placing it into the smoker.
seasoned pellet grill prime rib
derrickriches.com

Smoking Prime Rib on a Pellet Grill:

  • Prepare your grill or smoker for 250 degrees F. 
  • Once your grill is up to temp, place the prime rib roast directly on the grill grate, bone side down. Close the lid, and cook for 3-3 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches between 125-130 degrees F.
  • Carefully remove the roast and place it in a disposable aluminum drip or smoker-safe pan.
  • Increase the heat of your pellet grill to 450-475 degrees F. It might take several minutes for it to reach the optimal temperature.
  • Place the pan with the roast back into your pellet grill (or smoker), close the lid, and let it go for 5 minutes until a nice crust forms on the roast. You can also do this in your oven using the broil setting.

Resting and Carving:

  • Remove the roast from the grill, place on a clean cutting board, and loosely tent it with foil. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • To carve: If you have pre-cut and tied the roast. Remove the string and rib section. Carve the eye of the meat into 1/2″ thick slices.
  • If you did not pre-cut the roast, slide a sharp knife between the rib and meat section (as shown below) to separate the bone from the meat. Follow the direction of the bone for clean removal. Don’t forget to save those ribs and the au jus. The ribs make a delicious snack, and those juices make a fantastic homemade gravy!
  • Serve your sliced prime rib with gravy or prepared horseradish.
  • Store leftover prime rib in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Freeze in vacuum-sealed bags for up to 3 months. Reheat in the oven or on your stovetop in a buttered skillet.

Sides for Prime Rib on a Pellet Grill

Prime Rib Pellet Grill Recipe

Prime Rib on a Pellet Grill

Try this Prime Rib on a Pellet Grill for the best rib roast you've ever had. Pair with your favorite side for a delicious holiday meal!
4.87 from 15 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: holiday recipes, pellet grill recipes, prime rib, prime rib on a pellet grill, rib roast
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 692kcal

Equipment

  • Pellet Grill
  • 1 Aluminum Drip Pan 9 x 9
  • aluminum foil
  • butcher's twine

Ingredients

Rub:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons SPG Rub

Instructions

  • Trim the fat cap on the top of the roast to 1/2" thick. Some cooks prefer to reduce it to 1/4" thick, but we don't recommend trimming more.
    Optional injection marinade: Complete this step before seasoning the surface of the roast. *See notes*
    Brush the roast with olive oil. Apply the SPG rub evenly to the roast. Cover with plastic wrap and place it into your refrigerator for 2-4 hours. No longer. Remove the roast from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for at least 45-60 minutes before placing it into the smoker.
  • Prepare your grill or smoker for 250 degrees F.
  • Once your grill is up to temperature, place the prime rib roast directly on the grill grate, bone side down. Close the lid, and cook for 3-3 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches between 125-130 degrees F.
  • Carefully remove the roast and place it into a disposable aluminum drip pan or a smoker safe pan.
  • Increase the heat of your pellet grill to 450-475 degrees F. It might take several minutes for it to reach the optimal temperature.
  • Place the pan with the roast back into your pellet grill (or smoker), close the lid, and let it go for 5 minutes until a nice crust forms on the roast. You can also do this in your oven using the broil setting.
  • Remove the roast from the grill and loosely tent with foil. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • To carve: If you have pre-cut and tied the roast. Remove the string and rib section. Carve the eye of the meat into 1/2" thick slices.
    If you have not pre-cut the roast, slide a sharp knife between the rib and meat section to separate the bone from the meat. Follow the direction of the bone for clean removal. Don't forget to save those ribs. They make a delicious snack! Serve your sliced prime rib with gravy or prepared horseradish.
  • Store leftover prime rib in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Freeze in vacuum-sealed bags for up to 3 months. Reheat in the oven or on your stovetop in a buttered skillet.

Notes

If using an injection marinade, do keep in mind that this will add a little extra salt to your prime rib. To mitigate this, use a low sodium beef base like Minor’s.

Nutrition

Serving: 8g | Calories: 692kcal | Protein: 31g | Fat: 62g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 28g | Cholesterol: 137mg | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 501mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 3mg

Try some of our other pellet grill recipes:

Check out our Best Holiday Recipes for the Grill and Smoker!

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4 responses to “Prime Rib on a Pellet Grill”

  1. 5 stars
    I’m doing 25lbs on my pellet bbq for the Regional Skeet and Trap shoot today Thanks so much for your help

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