How Much Prime Rib Per Person for an Unforgettable Barbecue

When it’s the holidays or a special event, prepping the perfect dinner for your guests is a goal many homeowners strive towards. You want to dress the table with a polished course, one that will equally be satisfying to the fill.

The prime rib meets the criteria of both a tasty and classy dinner option. How much prime rib per person? You’ll soon have the answer to this and more with our handy guide. You can agree that nothing could go more sideways than a group of guests walking out unfulfilled!

What Part is the Prime Rib?

If you’ve heard of a rib eye then you may already be familiar with the prime rib. It’s because the two are sourced from the same part of a steer. That is between the chuck (includes the neck, shoulder, and blade) and the loin area.

This particular cut happens to be one of the 9 primal cuts of a cow and an expensive one, we must add. It is prized for being an underused muscle and as such, it tends to have a soft, smooth texture. You will find a generous amount of marbling therein, the fat component behind the buttery meat.

To be more precise, the prime rib is cut from underneath the spinal muscle in the two sides running down the rib section. A full prime rib roast consists of rib six to twelve, but you could buy smaller variations of as little as two ribs.

As far as flavor goes, the prime rib is unmatched because it combines all the elements for a perfect BBQ- meat, fat, and membrane. Cooked right, you’ll have your family and guests licking their fingers.

Buying a Prime Rib

Luckily, there are plenty of outlets and merchants who trade the steak. You could find a good prime rib in your local supermarket or butcher shop. And if you like to skip the preparation part and get right into digging in, have it ordered from a high-end restaurant.

Beware though that you might be set back a couple of bucks depending on the grade level, a fair price to pay for a juicy piece. If you decide to order from online stores, then ensure you’re dealing with certified vendors and get ready to dig deeper into your pockets because of shipping expenses.

When buying a roast rib there are a few things you need to consider. There’s the option of bone-in or without. With the first, you’ll have a more engaged task carving the roast itself and this could be time-consuming if you’re preparing in bulk. But not just that, a larger quantity is needed to compensate for the bones, or else you’ll have less than enough meat. But if you choose to go boneless where the beef is already separated, you could go a less couple of pounds to feed your guests and still be on the safe side.

Second thing, because the ribs spread wide, buying a prime rib cut closer to the chuck comes with more fat compared to that in the rear loin. Fat is good for BBQ but if it gets too much it’s going to be an ugly sight on your plates. Most of the time inedible. If you’re unsure, ask your butcher for advice as to what portion works better.

How Much per Person

Now onto the most sensitive part; getting the measurements right. There’s not a one-size formula for this because again prime ribs differ in weight depending on the size of the cow. You’re going to need your sixth sense to some extent, and maybe an app.

But as a baseline, the quantity will largely depend on two things. Whether the roast rib will be served in as the main dish or side dish and two, is it boneless or bone-in? In the case where you’re serving the main course with bone-in, estimate about one pound per person. This figure can drop to half a pound if the roast rib is just one element of a variety of dishes.

To break it down further, a singular rib may suffice two grown adults, maybe three if it’s really a fat healthy cow. Based on this calculation, a full prime rib roast consisting of 7 ribs can feed approximately 12 people give or take.

Unless in special cases, this strays far from the average quantity we see purchased for home BBQs, which tends to revolve around a four-bone rib. And from this, you can expect to feed maybe 6, 8, adults. But you should know only half of these will have a bone to nibble on.

If by looking at the roast rib you have second thoughts it’s going to be enough, better scale-up. Better safe than sorry and besides, you can always store leftovers in the refrigerator for the future. It might even taste better!

Finally, if your crowd will consist of small kids or light eaters, factor this in the decision-making. Like we said, your intuition is going to help you a great deal so don’t ignore it!

Tips to Making the Perfect Prime Rib BBQ

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Season Generously

It’s a no-brainer that to get the best flavors you must introduce some condiments. Traditionally a dry seasoning of kosher salt and black pepper is a good start but you could add just about anything else you like. For the seasoning to stick on, it pays to drizzle a bit of olive oil both on the inside and outside before layering on your ingredients.

Bring on the twines

Contrary to what you may think, this is not just for looks. Butcher knots help to keep the beef from pulling apart during the cooking process. This way you end up with a neat clean roast, one that is easy to carve when done, but most importantly one that will cook evenly.

Be sure to double tie the knots just for firmness. With a standing rib, pass the twines between the bones, and if boneless, space out the knots about one and a half-inch thick apart.

If you have separated back ribs, have the bones tied to the beefy part and let them serve as a rack for when the roast goes into the grill.

Smoke or Grill

Pro-tip, before setting anything on your cooker, measures the beef against the size of your unit. It should be at least twice the size of your roast. If not, trim the roast to portions.

With a smoke box, go gentle on the smoke amount. Aim for thin whips and keep the temperatures under control. You could mix wood flavors for a better taste, and soak them beforehand.

Grilling is the better option and will likely guarantee a crispy outside fused with the golden pink inside. You will need an instant-read thermometer, to gauge the level of doneness, and a great deal of patience.

Keep in mind that when the roast is ready there’s going to be a temperature spike as it sits. You want to have an allowance for this by pulling out the roast before it hits the perfect temperature. For a rare about 120F is good, medium-rare-130F and medium 140F.

Letting the roast rib sit for a while enables it to soak up the juices before carving. Give it about 15-30 minutes. Proceed to collect the dripped oils and flash the ribs again before plating it up for the final touch.

At this point, you’re done with the tough work! All that’s left is to carve the roast with a long knife, serve, and Bon appetit!

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