This smoked prime rib is a beef roast coated in garlic and herb butter, then slow smoked to tender, melt-in-your mouth perfection. The ultimate meal for a special occasion.

Whenever I want to impress my guests, I serve a roasted turkey, a glazed ham or this amazingly delicious smoked prime rib. This prime rib is one of the best things I’ve EVER eaten!

Smoked Prime Rib Recipe | Easy Prime Rib | Smoked Beef | Holiday Prime Rib #primerib #beef #smoker #dinner #dinneratthezoo #christmas #thanksgiving #lowcarb #keto Smoked Prime Rib Recipe | Easy Prime Rib | Smoked Beef | Holiday Prime Rib #primerib #beef #smoker #dinner #dinneratthezoo #christmas #thanksgiving #lowcarb #keto

A smoked prime rib roast cooked to medium rare on a serving platter.

Prime rib is one of the most luxurious cuts of meat you can buy. That being said, it’s also one of the most expensive meats, so it’s often reserved for special occasions. Prime rib is typically cooked in the oven, but once you try smoked prime rib, you’ll never go back to any other preparation method. It’s just that good!

How do you choose a prime rib?

You will likely have two choices at your store, either a bone-in or boneless prime rib. I always recommend purchasing the bone-in prime rib, I think it’s more flavorful and the bones serve as a built-in roasting rack for the meat. You’ll want to ask your butcher for a three bone prime rib roast, and ask for the chuck end rather than the loin end. That will ensure that you get the very best cut of meat.

How do you smoke prime rib?

The first step is to season your meat. I make a garlic and herb butter which is slathered all over the surface of the prime rib. I used a combination of thyme and rosemary for the herbs, but other great choices are parsley and sage. The roast then goes into the smoker until it cooks to the desired level of doneness. I personally like my prime rib around medium rare for maximum flavor and tenderness.

I cook my prime rib in a disposable aluminum pan. This helps to keep clean up to a minimum, and the pan also collects all the buttery juices that come off the meat, which you can spoon onto your prime rib before serving.

Butter, garlic and herbs in a mixing bowl.

What is the best wood for smoking prime rib?

You want to choose a wood with a light flavor so that it won’t overpower the meat. I used apple wood, which imparts a mild, slightly sweet flavor. Cherry wood is also a great choice.

An uncooked prime rib roast.

How much prime rib per person?

You’ll want to plan on one pound of prime rib per person. I used a three rib roast which was about 6 1/2 pounds total to feed 6 people.

A prime rib roast coated in garlic and herb butter.

How long do you cook prime rib?

I smoke my prime rib at about 250 degrees F. At this temperature, it takes approximately 30 minutes per pound to cook. This roast was in the smoker for 3 1/2 hours before it reached the desired medium rare temperature.

When is smoked prime rib done?

The best way to tell when your prime rib is done is to insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the meat to check the temperature. I use a digital thermometer that stays in the meat as it cooks so that I can continuously monitor the progress of my roast. The correct temperature range for prime rib is as follows

  • Rare: 120-125 degrees F
  • Medium Rare: 130-135 degrees F
  • Medium: 135-140 degrees F
  • Well Done: 145 degrees F or higher

You’ll want to pull your prime rib from the smoker when it reaches a temperature that is 5 degrees less than your desired ending temperature. After the roast comes out of the smoker, it gets covered with foil for 15 minutes and the roast will continue to cook that extra 5 degrees during the resting period. The roast in these photos was pulled from the smoker at 125 degrees F.

Slices of smoked prime rib garnished with fresh herbs.

How do you carve a smoked prime rib?

The first step is to turn the roast upright to remove the bones. Use a sharp knife to cut against the curve of the bones to remove them all in one piece. After the bones have been removed, you can carefully cut your roast into slices for serving. I typically cut my slices about 3/4 inch thick but you can cut your roast thicker or thinner if you prefer.

A slice of prime rib over mashed potatoes with green beans on the side.

What do you serve with prime rib?

I typically serve an assortment of classic holiday side dishes with my prime rib such as

This smoked prime rib is seriously one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. The smoke flavor is infused into every bite and the meat is so incredibly tender. You will not be disappointed if you make this recipe, it’s going to be on my holiday table every year from here on out!

5 from 14 votes

Smoked Prime Rib

AuthorSara Welch
A smoked prime rib roast cooked to medium rare on a serving platter.
This smoked prime rib is a beef roast coated in garlic and herb butter, then slow smoked to tender, melt-in-your mouth perfection. The ultimate meal for a special occasion.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time3 hours 20 minutes
Total Time3 hours 30 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Serves 6


  • 6 lb bone in prime rib roast
  • 6 tablespoons butter softened
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced rosemary leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat an electric smoker to 250 degrees F. Load the smoker with cherry or apple wood.
  • Place the butter, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Rub the butter all over the roast. Place the roast in a disposable aluminum pan.
  • Place the roast in the smoker. Cook until a thermometer registers desired level of doneness (I like to cook to 125 degrees F). 
  • Remove the roast from the smoker and cover with foil. Let stand for 15 minutes. The roast will continue to cook during this time and the temperature will rise another 5 degrees. 
  • Remove the bones from the roast. Cut into slices and serve immediately with the pan drippings.


Calories: 451kcal | Protein: 20g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 167mg | Potassium: 334mg | Vitamin A: 350IU | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 2.2mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

Learn more about Sara

Related Posts

Free Bonus

5 Secrets to Meal Planning + Free Toolkit!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This is the recipe to use! First time smoking Prime Rib at home and this was a hit! I did cheat and use a store made run from TX.