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In Fall 1995 I followed a gorgeous fiance, Anna, to Boston. While our relationship didn’t survive (perhaps a cramped one-bedroom with 106″ of snow that year?), I have since given thanks to her for introducing me to New England.

I was new in being a managing Chef then and the next year found myself up in New Hampshire. I spent fourteen years, most of them in NH and Maine; mostly as Executive Chef of independent casual fine-dining operations.

While there is a lot of great culinary art around the country, in northern New England the weekend prime rib is still “King” on many good restaurant menus. Over those fourteen years, I ate a significant share of prime rib from many restaurants.

As a Chef, I have never really believed in keeping recipes secret. I’ve always felt that openly sharing good recipes pushed the growth of the industry. Having said that, I kept two recipes close to the chest: my versions of Venison Osso Bucco and my Prime Rib. So here’s my gift to anyone who wishes for it. It’s my favorite way to roast a prime rib.

Saturday Night Lightly Smoked Prime Rib


  • One good sized bone-in prime rib of beef (preferably from Silvies Valley Ranch, available from Nicky USA)
  • Fresh garlic, minced
  • Black pepper, coarsely crushed
  • Sea Salt (truffled, preferably from Secret Stash Salts)
  • Fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • Olive Oil (not virgin)
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Angostura Bitters
  • A-1 Sauce
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Fresh Horseradish, minced
  • Bay Leaves

Equipment & Other

  • Plastic Wrap
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Two 2-Inch Deep Roasting Pans
  • Wire Grate (fits inside the roasting pan)
  • Four old ramekins
  • Cutting Board
  • Chef Knife
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Wood Chips for Smoking
  • Some long skewers

Preparing this recipe will take 24 to 72 hours and involves a wet-rub marinade; the longer you let the beef marinade, the better the flavor becomes. For a great presentation, I’ve frenched the bones, but this isn’t necessary for an “oooh” display.

1. Prepare all the mise en place using the cutting board and knife. Combine the garlic, rosemary, pepper, horseradish and salt in the mixing bowl. Reserve the onion, carrot, celery and bay leaf for the cooking process on the day of service.

2. Add the vinegar, olive oil, Worcestershire, A-1 Sauce and Bitters to the mixing bowl and combine well. The mixture should have the consistency of a wet mud. Rub the rib thoroughly with the rub, working it into the folds and crevices. Wrap the rib tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 72 hours or longer, although in a pinch you can let it marinade for six hours before proceeding.

3. On the roasting day, pre-soak the woodchips for about thirty minutes in water and then drain. Lightly pan-spray the inside of one roasting pan. Put the four ramekins (these are risers/supports) equi-distant inside the roasting pan. Place the woodchips in and around the risers. Place the wire rack on the risers. Unwrap and put the roast on the wire rack and insert the skewers into the top of the roast. Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil as a tent, slit a few holes in the highest point (to allow smoke to escape slowly).

4. Over the most minimal flame possible, put the roasting/smoking pan. Let the smoking process begin and after about thirty minutes start maintaining an eye on the process. You want to bring the internal temperature of the rib to about 60 degrees F.

5. Just prior to the rib reaching 60 F – lightly pan-spray the other roasting pan and pre-heat an oven to 375 degrees F. Put the mirepoix of onion, carrot, celery and bay leaf in this pan. When the rib reaches 60 F, remove the rib on it’s wire rack from the smoking pan and place it directly on the mirepoix. Transfer this second roasting pan with rib to the hot oven.

6. Finish the roast in the hot oven to your desired doneness. Remember that the rib will continue cooking after you remove it from a hot oven, so I always pulled it when it reached 110F – to get that rare center.

7. Let the roast rest, in the pan for about ten to fifteen minutes after pulling it from the oven. If you like, you can pull the rib on its wire rack away from the mirepoix and use the mirepoix as a flavoring ingredient for a sauce.

After years of serving this to the traditional and fine residents of New Hampshire and Maine, I learned that flash-grilled steaks, cut from the leftover roast, are simply awesome. The smoked flavor mellows further when steaks are flash-grilled.

I like to serve this with fresh or pickled horseradish, fluffy mashed potatoes and maple-roasted carrots and parsnips.