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The Best Smoked Prime Rib

The Best Smoked Prime Rib

Mix it up this holiday season by serving this smoked prime rib recipe, coated with a killer Prime Rib Rub and served with a flavorful Prime Rib Au Jus, Horseradish Aioli or Horseradish Sauce for Prime Rib.

USDA Prime Rib Roast is covered in garlic and herbs, and smoked low and slow, to create a perfectly seasoned crisp crust to compliment the buttery interior.

Check out our Prime Rib headquarters page for all things Prime Rib, including our Prime Rib Sandwich recipe and prime rib sauce recipes! Need prime rib side dish ideas? Check out our list of What To Serve with Prime Rib.

Other beef recipes, perfect for the holiday season or special occasion: Sous Vide Ribeye, Smoked Beef Tenderloin, Sous Vide Prime Rib, our highly rated Garlic Prime Rib Recipe, Smoked London BroilInstant Pot Roast Beef or Beef Wellington Recipe. We even have a Smoked Ham recipe or Smoked Rack of Lamb if that’s your jam.

Many of you have made our 5-star Melt-in-your-Mouth Prime Rib Recipe and asked for a Smoked Prime Rib version. Not one to disappoint, we mixed together a huge batch of our favorite Prime Rib Rub and went to work. Our Smoked Prime Rib Rub Recipe is the same as our Oven Roasted Prime Rib Rub recipe. It’s a classic and a keeper. 

How To Smoke A Prime Rib

Four steps separate you from a perfectly cooked smoked prime rib.

Step 1.  Season the roast up to 4 days in advance. This serves as a nice dry brine.

Step 2. Smoke the prime rib roast between 225-250.

Step 3. Remove the roast and let it rest for 20 minutes or more.

Step 4. Carve and enjoy!

Best Wood For Smoking Prime Rib

It would be a sin to overpower the beautiful beef flavor with a heavy hit of smoke. The smoke should compliment the prime rib, not dominate it. As such, stick with a mild wood such as apple wood, cherry wood or even oak. 

Recipe Tips

Tip 1. Select a “USDA Prime” rated prime rib. Even though it’s called “Prime Rib” the name is misleading. There are 3 different quality levels: Prime, Choice and Select. If your budget can swing it, always go for the USDA Prime Rated Prime Rib. Choice is a decent option, and much less expensive, however it won’t quite measure up to the buttery goodness of the USDA Prime rated steak. 

Tip 2. Always use a thermometer. You want to cook based on temperature not time. Our go-to digital thermometer is the Thermaworks Dot. It never fails.

Tip 3. While not mandatory, we like to bone and tie our Prime Rib so it’s easier to cut after being cooked. If you’re not sure how to do this, watch this You Tube video. It’s incredibly easy to do.

Tip 4. Depending on what’s available to you and your budget, you can either make a smoked prime rib with the bones or a smoked boneless prime rib. The flavor won’t be affected if you go with boneless, however, many folks like to keep the bones on to act as a buffer between the grill grate/heat and the meat. Totally up to you. The recipe instructions stay the same.

Tip 5 – Use the leftovers to make Sancocho Dominicano or Skillet Steak Fajitas!

Tip 6 – Make smoked asparagus at the same time to cut down on cooking time.

Tip 7 – Leftovers? Reference our How to Reheat Prime Rib for ideas!

Tip 8 – Find a roast on sale using our “Prime Rib For Sale” tips.

Prime Rib Temperature Chart

Cook prime rib by temperature not time. Here are the “final doneness temperatures”. Your “pull from the heat” temperature will be 5-7°F below the temperatures called out below. Download our free Temperature Chart For Prime Rib and/or Beef Temperature Chart Printable!

Rare 120-129°F

Medium Rare 130-134°F

Medium 135-144°F

Medium Well 145-154°F

Well Done 155-164°F

How Long To Smoke Prime Rib

It takes about 40 minutes per pound to reach an internal temperature of 130 degrees F when smoking at 225 degrees F.  Depending on the size of your roast, here’s a good guideline to calculate your roast’s cooking time:

4 Pound Roast = approx. 2.6 hours

6 Pound Roast = approx. 4 hours

8 Pound Roast = approx. 5.3 hours

10 Pound Roast = approx. 6.6 hours

TIP- to speed up the cooking time, you can set your smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit instead of 225. It will take approx. 30 minutes per pound vs. 40 minutes per pound. The above time does not include the 20 minutes of resting and any searing you opt to do before serving.

How Much Prime Rib To Serve Per Person

Your best bet is to buy .75 lb – 1 lb per person. We always go with 1 pound per person to ensure everyone grubs down and leaves full. We love having leftovers to make Instant Pot Bone Broth

Do you Smoke Prime Rib Fat Up or Down?

Place the prime rib roast directly on the grill grate, fat side up.

Side Dish Ideas

Sous Vide Asparagus
Air Fryer Baby Potatoes
Air Fryer Artichokes
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Sous Vide Carrots
Sous Vide Corn on the Cob
Air Fryer Mushrooms
Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
Instant Pot Mushrooms in Garlic Butter Sauce
Sautéed Mushrooms
Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese

What Wine Pairs With Prime Rib

Wine – Bordeaux, Riojo, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec

Beer – Brown Ale, Porter, Stout, Amber Ale

Our Smoked Prime Rib recipe will quickly become a family favorite and a new holiday staple. Nothing beats a crispy seasoned exterior that compliments a buttery interior. Eat up!

Want more smoked recipes for the holiday season? Check out our Smoked Turkey and Smoked Turkey Wings!

A smoked prime rib roast with one slice cut off laying on a black cutting board. A glass of red wine is setting next to the cutting board.

Smoked Prime Rib

Mix it up this holiday season by serving this smoked prime rib roast. USDA Prime Rib is coated in garlic and herbs, and smoked low and slow, to create a perfectly seasoned crisp crust to compliment the buttery interior.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Christmas Dinner, Father's Day Dinner, Grilled Beef, Grilled Meat, Holiday Dinner, Prime RIb, Smoked Beef, Smoked Meat, Thanksgiving Dinner, Valentine's Day Dinner
Servings: 8 People
Calories: 1128kcal
Author: Darcey Olson
Cost: $150


  • 1 4-Bone Prime Rib, (8-10 lb.) (*Note 1)
  • 3 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 Batch Prime Rib Rub


  • Coat the prime rib with olive oil and then generously coat the roast with the Prime Rib Rub. Store in the refrigerator. This can be done up to 4-days in advance.
  • Pre-heat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place the prime rib directly on the grill grate, fat-side up. If using, insert your thermometer into the center of the roast to monitor the temperature as it smokes. Place the lid on the smoker. Smoke until the internal temperature reaches 5 degrees UNDER your desired doneness temperature (for example, if you want a final temp of 135, pull the meat off the smoker at 130).
  • Remove the roast to a large cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest for 20 minutes.
  • OPTIONAL STEP: To sear the exterior, heat your grill or oven to 400 degrees F while the roast is resting. Place the roast on the grill and sear on each side for approx. 1-2 minutes. If using the oven, it should only take about 2-3 minutes. You just want to crisp up the exterior, not continue to cook it.
  • Remove the bones and twine (if not using a boneless roast). Carve and immediately enjoy.


Note 1 - Double the Prime Rib Rub recipe if you're getting a 7-bone prime rib. The cooking time will increase due to the increased size. 
It takes about 40 minutes per pound to reach an internal temperature of 130 degrees F when smoking at 225 degrees F. 


Serving: 1Slice | Calories: 1128kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 101g | Saturated Fat: 41g | Cholesterol: 219mg | Sodium: 162mg | Potassium: 802mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Recipe Rating

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Debra M Falagan

Tuesday 21st of December 2021

I am planning to use your recipe for our Christmas dinner Do you have great au jus that does not require wine?

Darcey Olson

Wednesday 22nd of December 2021

Absolutely! This post has two versions, one DOES NOT include any wine.