grilled prime rib

Holiday Grilling: Prime Rib on the Grill

Few sights are as impressive as a whole, bone-in prime rib carved table-side with a certain amount of fanfare and a great bottle or two of wine.

This Grilled Prime Rib recipe was created for SABER Infrared Grills by Chef Chris Koetke. 

There are few sights as impressive as a whole, bone-in prime rib carved table-side. You can’t serve it without a certain amount of fanfare and a great bottle or two of wine. It is the focal point of a festive and celebratory dinner. Most of the time, a prime rib is roasted in the oven. There is nothing wrong with cooking it that way, but when it is roasted on a grill, it develops a set of deeper, richer and smokier flavors. And while it is cooking on the grill, your neighbors will be insanely jealous as it smells powerfully delicious and completely mouth-watering!

As with all things on the grill, there is a technique to it. It is very important that you follow these techniques as you don’t want things to go wrong. After all, the meat is expensive and it is the main event of your important dinner. At the same time, don’t be afraid of it! The techniques are not all that difficult to master. Given that it is a large piece of meat, remember that it takes time to cook it—a lot of time. So, plan for it and don’t be in a hurry. Be patient, hang out around the grill and enjoy some munchies, some great beer, or a glass or two of your favorite wine.

There are many ways to flavor prime rib. My personal preference is to keep it simple and let the meat speak for itself (although, this is not to discourage you from experimenting a bit). At the same time, it is important to put on enough seasoning—and especially salt. The fact is that it is big piece of meat, and the only seasoning will be on the outside of it. So, don’t be bashful. Another important seasoning tip happens just before you serve the roast. Take a moment to season each slice of the cooked prime rib. This will improve it because the center of the meat has no seasoning. This is a great time to use your special finishing salts and freshly ground black pepper.

seasoned prime rib

Grilling a prime rib requires indirect heat, which means that the heat source is off to the side of the meat and not directly underneath it. This is where the accurate zone cooking of the SABER Grill is essential. It is easy to heat up portions of the grill as needed. The rules for cooking a great prime rib on your SABER are:

  • Only heat the portion(s) of the grill next to where the prime rib is.
  • Keep the lid closed while cooking. This keeps the heat and smoke in.
  • Maintain a temperature inside the grill of 300-350° F.
  • Cook the prime rib to your desired temperature, keeping in mind that a roast of this size will have a lot of carry-over cooking (more on this below).
  • Let the rib rest for 30 minutes in a warm place before serving. If you slice it too soon, the juices will stream out of the roast, which will greatly diminish the quality of the final product.

grilled prime rib


  • 1 bone-in prime rib, approx. 16 lbs*
  • 3 Tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon dried thyme leaf
  • Wood chips for smoking

*Cooking a prime rib with the bone in will always produce a superior roast. If you are unable to get a bone-in roast, it will still give you a delicious result—but, remember that it will cook faster by perhaps 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size. At the same time, if a whole rib is too much, you can certainly roast a half rib, but keep an eye on it as it will cook faster than the whole piece.


  • Coat the prime rib well with salt, black pepper, paprika, and thyme. Do not season the actual ribs, though—just the meat.
  • Preheat only the zones of the Saber® grill where the prime rib will not be placed. When the grill reaches 400° F, place the prime rib—rib side down—on the zones that are not heated. Place a handful of wood chips or chunks on the heated portion of the grill so that they smoke. Close the grill.
  • For the next 3 or so hours, keep an eye of the grill temperature so as to regulate it at around 350° F.
  • Add wood chips or chunks every 20 or so minutes. This will give the prime rib an irresistible smoke flavor.
  • The doneness for the prime rib is gauged by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the deepest part of the roast. I like to remove the roast from the grill when it reaches an internal temperature of 120-125° F. This will result in a rare-to-medium-rare roast. (130-135° F will give you a medium roast and 140-145° F will result in a well-done roast.)
  • Let the roast rest in a warm place for 30 minutes. Resist the urge to cut into it. During this critical resting time, the meat will relax, the juices will redistribute themselves evenly throughout the meat, and the internal temperature of the roast will rise (which is also called carry-over cooking).
  • To slice the roast, simply slice down toward the rib bones using a long, thin knife. When you hit the rib bones, make another slice that is parallel to the bones so as to free the meat. Sprinkle with some finishing salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve.
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