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Rotisserie Prime Rib Roast, Reverse Seared on a Gas Grill

Today, we’re cooking a big rib roast on my gas grill’s rotisserie.

Big means four bones or more of the prime rib – up to the entire seven bone rib section.

We’re going to use a trick that all good food scientists recommend – the reverse sear. We cook the roast low and slow to 110°F, then finish with a blast of heat, bringing the roast to medium-rare and giving it a browned, crisp crust. The reverse sear gives us a perfectly cooked roast, medium rare all the way through, and keeps the juices in the roast where they belong.
Why? If you’re interested, see my long-winded post about it earlier this week.

Here’s why…perfect pink

A gas grill makes this easy – especially one with an infrared rotisserie burner. Set the grill up for indirect low heat, with a drip pan in the middle, and the outer burners set for a grill temperature of 250°F. Cook the roast to 110°F (or as close as you can get), then turn the outer burners to high, turn the rotisserie burner to high, and blast the roast with heat for fifteen minutes, until it has a beautiful browned crust and reaches an internal temperature of 120°F. Rest for 15 minutes, carve, serve, and wow your guests with a perfect, medium-rare prime rib.

My “Prime Rib” disclaimer:

Technically, this is a beef rib roast, not prime rib. That is, unless you can afford to pay for USDA Prime graded beef. I did this – once – and it was fabulous. It also cost $16.99 a pound for a five bone roast, weighing 16 pounds. (My wallet still screams thinking about it). Since then, I look for Choice rib roasts with a lot of small streaks of fat inside the muscle (aka “well marbled”). I can usually find them between $6.99 and $9.99 a pound.

Special thanks to my butcher, Mike at Sherman Provision. He put up with multiple roast requests because I had to test this technique against a “high and fast” roast. And, for the record, his roasts are both well marbled and inexpensive.

Recipe: Rotisserie Prime Rib Roast, Reverse Seared on a Gas Grill

Equipment:

Set for 250°F
At 1 hour
At 2 hours
At 2 1/2 hours. Time to sear!

 

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Rotisserie Prime Rib Roast, Reverse Seared on a Gas Grill


  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8-12
  • Category: Rotisserie
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Rotisserie Prime Rib, perfectly medium-rare edge to edge.


Ingredients

  • 4 bone (10 pound) semi-boneless beef rib roast (semi-boneless means ask the butcher to cut off the chine bone, but leave the rib bones.)
  • 2 tablespoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1 1/2 tablespoons Maldon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Dry brine the roast: The night before cooking, season the roast with the salt and pepper. Put the roast in a baking dish, using the bones as a rack to lift it off the bottom of the dish, and refrigerate overnight. One hour before cooking, remove the roast from the refrigerator.
  2. Prepare the grill: Set the grill up for rotisserie cooking at low heat (250°F). For my Weber Summit, this means removing the grates, turning the two outer burners (burners 1 and 6) to medium, and leaving the infrared rotisserie burner off. Then I put my drip pan in the middle, over the unlit burners, and let the grill preheat for ten to fifteen minutes.
  3. Spit the roast: While the grill is preheating, truss and spit the roast. Truss the roast in between each of the bones, pulling it into into a tight cylinder. Run the spit through the center of the roast, slightly towards the bone side to balance out the bones. Secure the roast to the spit with the spit forks.
  4. Cook the roast: Put the spit on the rotisserie and start it spinning. We’re cooking the roast until it reaches an internal temperature of 110°F for medium-rare. (Cook to 100°F for rare, 120°F for medium.) This will take about 2 1/2 hours, but the time will vary – go by temperature, not by time. Check the temperature of the roast after 1 hour of cooking (it should be about 50°F , then again after 2 hours of cooking (it should be about 90°F). At that point, start checking every fifteen minutes – you want to get as close to 110°F as you can, without going over (I quit at 108°F – close enough). As soon as the roast reaches 110°F, turn the grill to high heat. On my Summit, I turn the outer burners up to high, then light the infrared rotisserie burner and set it to high. Sear the roast on high for 15 to 30 minutes, until it is well browned on the outside, and the internal temperature measures 120°F for medium-rare. (115°F for rare, 130°F for medium).
  5. Rest, carve and serve: Remove the spit from the grill. Be careful – the spit is rocket hot. Immediately remove the roast from the spit, transfer to a platter, and remove the twine. Cover the roast with foil and rest the roast for 15 to 30 minutes before carving. To carve, cut the bones away from the roast (I save them for myself – chef’s treat). Slice the roast into 1/2 inch thick slices and serve.

Notes

If you don’t have time to salt the roast overnight, you have two choices.[br]1. Salt at least one hour before cooking: Salt the roast one to two hours before cooking, and rest at room temperature until it is time to grill. An hour will give you enough time to get a bit of the dry brine effect. [br]2. Salt right before cooking: If you’re within an hour of cooking, salt the roast right before you truss and spit it for the grill.

Notes:

  • You can reverse sear on a charcoal grill – start the grill out low and slow, then add a chimney full of lit charcoal at the end for the blast of high heat. I wouldn’t bother, if I were you. Charcoal burndown gives you low and slow naturally, starting high, then cooling off as it burns, and finishing the roast on low heat. It’s not quite the food scientist approved method, but it’s close enough, and it is less fussy. Check out my Rotisserie Prime Rib Roast recipe for charcoal grill setup.
  • About cooking times. The weight of the roast doesn’t matter – the thickest part of the meat determines how long it will cook. Butchers size rib roasts by the number of bones you want; an entire rib roast has seven bones. Below two bones is a thick steak, so we won’t talk about that here. Two bone roasts, about 4 pounds, are taller than they are wide – they cook more from the heat on the sides of the roast, and take less time to cook – start checking their temperature at 30 minutes, and expect them to take about an hour to get to 110°F. Three bone roasts are about as wide as they are tall, and cook from all directions. Start checking after 45 minutes, and expect them to take an hour and a half to get to 110°F. 4 bone or larger roasts, up to the entire seven bone rib roast, all cook in about the same time – the roast is now wider than it is tall, the heat has to work its way in from the sides, and adding extra width will not slow that down. They take about 2 1/2 hours to cook to 110°F. (All timings are approximations. Please use an instant read thermometer to be sure, because if you’re going to go through all this effort, don’t you want to know what’s going on in that roast?)

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts

Rotisserie Prime Rib Roast (Charcoal grill setup)
Rotisserie Beef Tenderloin with Shallot Herb Butter and Horseradish Sauce (Use the horseradish sauce with any beef recipe)
Rotisserie Boneless Ribeye Roast with Garlic Crust
Click here for my other rotisserie recipes


Check out my cookbook, Rotisserie Grilling.

Everything you could ask about the rotisserie,
plus 50 (mostly) new recipes to get you cooking.

It’s a Kindle e-book, so you can download it and start reading immediately!


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24 Comments

  1. John K. says

    Awesome Mike! The great folks at Sherman have a nice rib roast aging for me that I will cook on Christmas. I think I will do this reverse sear technique. What’s the point of having the Summit if I don’t do such things?!?! Thanks for the tasty posts, and inspiration. Happy holidays to you and yours….

  2. Jeremy W. says

    Mike – I have the Summit as well. Curious what the range temperature shows for you with just burners 1 & 6 on (no infrared as in Step 2). It’s below 20 degrees as I type here in NJ, and wondering if I should adjust for this. Going to combine this reverse sear with the herb crust today…can’t wait! Thanks, Jeremy

  3. Jeremy W. says

    Ended up doing yesterday and technique worked perfectly. The herb crust was indescribably good. Thanks for your efforts and Happy 2014!

    • Brian Tague says

      Mike,
      I am preparing our own “roast beast” for Christmas dinner today and very much looking forward to following your recipe Word for Word, on your reverse-sear rotisserie ribs roast. Especially since I had such tremendous luck with your rotisserie directions on the turkey, for Thanksgiving. So, in the user comment section (Jeremy W 27Jan14) a “herb crust” was mentioned, but I do not see any of that mentioned in your write up above. I would be very anymore about this, if only for future preparations. Thanks so much for all of your great ideas!

  4. hey Mike, gonna make rotisserie prime rib this thanksgiving. The butcher already cut off the bones then tied them back on. Wanted to know your thoughts regarding rotisserie-ing with the bones removed for more even cooking? I think that the bones may cause a lot of uneven cooking not to mention an unbalanced rotisserie that I’d have to spend more time fidgeting with.

  5. Dan,

    I have a slight preference for cooking bone-on, even if they’ve been cut away and tied back on. I *think* the roast cooks a little slower, and a little more evenly, but there isn’t any food science to back me up on that. The main reason I prefer bone-on is I like to gnaw on the bones. 🙂

    That said, there’s nothing wrong with a boneless roast, either. Normally, I’d say it is easier to carve, but since your bones are already cut off, that’s not much of a difference.

    Here’s what I do with a boneless ribeye roast:
    https://www.dadcooksdinner.com/2011/12/rotisserie-boneless-ribeye-roast-with.html

    And, here’s my bone-in ribeye roast. I prefer the crust on the roast from the first method, but the second gives you medium-rare edge to edge: https://www.dadcooksdinner.com/2009/12/rotisserie-beef-prime-rib-roast.html
    https://www.dadcooksdinner.com/2013/12/rotisserie-prime-rib-roast-reverse.html

    Good luck, and happy Thanksgiving!

    Mike Vrobel

    DadCooksDinner.com

  6. Mike I noticed that in your pictures of the reverse sear prime rib roast the truss twine is outside the forks. Do you still truss before it is on the spit and secured with the forks? Looking forward to trying my first reverse sear!!

    Happy holidays!

    David
    Dsteinmetz

  7. I didn’t do that on purpose – it’s caused by two things.

    1. I used a more complicated trussing approach than I usually do – I ran a trussing string around the length of the roast, looping it through each string. (which, frankly, didn’t affect the trussing much.)

    2. The curve of the bones lifts the string away from the body of the roast, and I happened to run my spit fork so that it was outside of the bones instead of inside the roast. I trussed the roast, then spit it – but happened to catch the fork inside of the twine, so it looks like it was intentionally tied there.

    And, funny you should ask about this – see the video I posted today for a full demonstration of how I truss a rib roast: https://www.dadcooksdinner.com/2014/12/video-how-to-rotisserie-rib-roast.html

  8. Thanks Mike. Do you suggest that I try the reverse sear method or the straight sear from the video for my first rib roast rotisserie adventure?

  9. Fred says

    Perfect Fathers Day dinner. Splurged and bought a”Prime” boneless rib roast at Costco. Followed the directions and had a fabulous dinner. Our guests couldn’t believe we made this ourselves. We added some Rosemary and garlic to the rub and it was exquisite. Will definitely follow this recipie again.

  10. David Silveira says

    Can you cook it without the infrared cooker just the rotisserie?

  11. David Dickerson says

    Thanks for the guidance, I’ll give it a try this afternoon. And very timely, I just got the book, The Food Lab, and was reading about reverse sears and prime rib. Serious Eats says it’s correct to call a roast prime rib even if it’s choice grade.
    Page down to the Guide to Prime Rib box, and click on the 4th bullet under Identification and Shopping, http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/12/food-lab-guide-to-prime-rib.html

  12. dan lemp says

    How do you sear the prime rib without a sear heat pad on the back of the bbq? We will rotisserie the roast on a gas grill.

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