Prime Rib on a Pellet Grill

Cooking a Prime Rib on Pellet Grill is a straightforward process that produces amazing results! It wouldn’t be the holidays without a mouthwatering smoked prime rib roast. You can use a commercial rub for this recipe, but I recommend making our SPG (salt, pepper, garlic).

The prime rib roast is the king of all holiday meals, and with rising beef prices, you want to make sure that your investment yields the best results. Using a pellet grill is probably the easiest way to achieve smoky prime rib goodness. If you do not own a Traeger or other pellet grill, you can apply this recipe to a stick burner grill. Please use our Kettle Smoked Rib Roast Recipe is using a charcoal unit like the Big Green Egg or the Weber Kettle.

Prime Rib Guide

A prime rib roast, or standing rib roast, is one of nine primal beef cuts. Most rib roasts contain between 3-7 bones, are well-marbled, juicy, tender, and have a nice beefy flavor. However, not all prime rib is prime-grade. There are two choices available on the market. The Prime-grade is typically more expensive but well worth the money. You can source these amazing prime ribs from Snake River Farms. This does not mean that you should overlook choice-grade rib roasts, as they also contain decent 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 a 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 that it provided the perfect level of smokiness to suit our tastes.
  • Note on Fuel: As always, 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 lb bone-in roast) to reach an internal temperature of 130 degrees F (or medium-rare). 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

All About the Meat:

  • Meat: How much meat will you need for your guests? Plan on 3/4-1 pound of meat 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 also 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.
  • Resting: For best results, rest the roast for 30-40 minutes before carving. Doing this will give you a chance to get your side dishes ready, and don’t forget about the gravy! 
prime-rib-with-ingredients

Prime Rib on a Pellet Grill Ingredient list:

  • 3-4 bone prime rib roast, about 7-9 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons SPG rub or rub of choice
  • Butcher’s Twine
  • Aluminum Drip Pan
  • Aluminum Foil

Trimming and Prepping a Prime Rib

  1. 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 that is still intact. Most butchers will gladly separate the bone from the eye of the roast and tie it back together with butcher’s twine. If you’d like to do it yourself, please refer to this video.
  2. 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 than that.
  3. Slather 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 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

Smoking Prime Rib on a Pellet Grill:

  • 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.

Resting and Carving:

  • 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 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. 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.

What to Serve with Prime Rib on a Pellet Grill:

Holiday Rib Roast on a Pellet Grill

Prime Rib on a Pellet Grill

5 from 2 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: 350kcal
Author: Derrick Riches and Sabrina Baksh

Equipment

  • Pellet Grill

Ingredients

  • 1 3-4 bone prime rib roast about 7-9 pounds

Rub:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons SPG Rub
  • butcher's twine
  • 1 aluminum drip pan
  • aluminum foil

Instructions

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 8g | Calories: 350kcal | Protein: 9g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg

Try some of our other pellet grill recipes:

Prime Rib on a Pellet GrillPrime Rib on a Pellet Grill

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