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Smoke-tisserie Prime Rib

Smoke-tisserie Prime Rib

Prime rib may be the most expensive hunk of meat you’ve ever invested in. Surprisingly, preparing it is monastically simple. This recipe uses two live-fire cooking techniques, smoke-tisserie roasting and direct grilling over a wood fire. The wow power is off the charts and the taste is out of this world.

I’ve been spit-roasting prime rib as the English do their roast beef for decades. The idea of smoking a prime rib came to me while I was preparing for my show, Project Smoke. The combination of the sanguine beef, the salt, the seasonings, the fat, and the smoke flavor — it’s off the charts incredible.

I keep the seasonings simple — no elaborate marinades and no elaborate rubs to keep the focus on the beef.

Serve with a side of Wood-Grilled Asparagus.


More Smoked Recipes for a Crowd:



Smoke-tisserie Prime Rib

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Serves 20 to 25, likely with leftovers
  • Method: Spit roasting over wood, then grilling over wood
  • Equipment: Grill: Kalamazoo Gaucho or other wood burning grill with a sturdy spit; Fuel: Oak logs


  • A 7-bone prime rib (about 22 pounds); can be scaled down for smaller groups
  • Coarse salt or smoked salt
  • Cracked or coarsely and freshly ground black pepper
  • Onion powder and/or garlic powder (optional)
  • Hot red pepper flakes
  • Dried oregano
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or as needed
  • Smoked Jus (optional)

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Generously—and I mean generously—season the prime on all sides with salt and pepper (and onion or garlic power if using—with prime meat I generally don’t bother), red pepper flakes, and dry oregano, rubbing the seasonings into the meat. Drizzle the olive oil over the roast and rub it into the meat as well.

Step 2: Meanwhile, set up your wood-burning grill for spit-roasting as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Build a substantial fire and let it burn down to glowing, medium-hot coals (about 400 degrees). Thread the roast on the spit and secure with the prongs. Fit the spit into the motor and spit cradle.

Step 3: Smoke-roast the prime rib until the exterior is sizzling and darkly browned and the internal temperature of the meat is about 100 to 110 degrees (1-1/2 to 2 hours) when read on an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the center of the roast.

Step 4: Transfer the prime rib to a large cutting board. Replenish the fire. (You’ll want medium-high heat.) Using a sharp knife, slice the prime rib into 7 large steaks. (You might need a cleaver to chop through the bones.) If desired, salt and pepper both sides of the steaks. Arrange the steaks directly on the grill grate. Sear for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature of each steak is 120 to 125 degrees (for rare) on an instant-read meat thermometer.

Step 5: Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bones to loosen the eye of the prime rib. Save the bones to gnaw on later, or parcel them out to deserving guests. Then slice the meat into 1/4 inch slices.

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