We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving last night and this Herb Crusted Prime Rib was definitely the star of the show. It’s coated in a compound butter with plenty of herbs and reverse-seared on my Traeger Grill for 2 hours to develop a delicious wood-fired flavour. To finish, I seared it in a screaming hot cast-iron skillet and basted with plenty of the rendered butter and meat juices. It was insanely delicious and everyone loved it!
How to Reverse Sear
Reverse searing is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Instead of searing the herb crusted prime rib first and finishing it in the oven, you slowly raise the internal temperature of the rib roast in a low-temperature grill or oven (anywhere between 225F and 275F) before searing it over very high heat. You can then finish it over a grill or in a cast-iron skillet to develop a crust.
I’ve explained the process before, but I don’t mind going over it again here with this herb crusted prime rib. I should also mention that this method can be used for everything from your favourite steak, a rack of lamb, thick-cut pork chops, or a whole tenderloin.The practical applications of the reverse-seared technique is actually very far-reaching.
In theory, reverse searing works similar to a sous-vide, which entails cooking foods in an oxygen-free environment (usually a vacuum-sealed plastic bag) under a temperature-controlled water bath. The heat of the water is regulated to precise degree by a circulator. Until recently, sous-vide circulators were very expensive. More affordable options are now available but I have yet to bite the bullet and purchase one for myself.
I often refer to reverse searing as the “Poor Man’s Sous-Vide” because it doesn’t require any fancy or expensive equipment. You can reverse-sear in your oven but for the absolute best flavour, I highly recommend a Traeger Grill. It is an total game changer and by far the easiest grill I have ever used – bar none. Seriously, it can’t be beat.
Both methods (sous vide and reverse searing) result in very evenly cooked proteins. As you can see in the images, the rib roast is cooked medium-rare from edge to edge with very minor grey spots (which occur from the searing process).
What You Need to Reverse Sear
- Meat Thermometer. This really won’t work unless you have a meat thermometer. For accuracy, I recommend getting a digital one like this Lavatools model.It’s affordable and accurate. Unless you’re cooking in a professional setting, there is absolutely no need to get an expensive one. You’re better off spending that extra coin on a grass-fed, organic rack of lamb.
- A Cooling Rack + Sheet Pan Combo: You want air circulating around the meat so that it cooks evenly on all sides. This is easily achieved by placing it on an oven-safe cooling rack set over a sheet pan. Ideally, you want to make sure that the size of the cooling rack corresponds to that of the baking sheet beneath it, like this one.This will help with easy clean up because when your done cooking you can simply fill the baking tray with hot, soapy water and submerge the inverted cooling rack in it to ease off grease and any hardened pieces of meat/fat.
- A Carbon-Steel of Cast-Iron skillet:If you don’t have a grill to sear the meat after it has slowly roasted in the oven, the next best thing is a carbon-steel or cast-iron skillet. I always recommend this Lodge model for cast-iron because it’s inexpensive and really is the best bang-for-your-buck pan you can buy. For carbon-steel, Made In has recently released a great one that I’ve been using for a few months now.
Herb Crusted Prime Rib - Reverse-Seared, Paleo
- 4.5-5 pound prime rib roast 2 bones
- Kosher salt
- ½ cup room temperature butter
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
- freshly-cracked black pepper
- Pat prime rib dry with paper towel and generously season all sides with salt. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours to overnight.
- When ready to cook, remove prime rib from fridge and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Pat dry with paper towel.
- Preheat Traeger or oven to 250F.
- In a bowl, combine the butter, parsley, rosemary, thyme and sage. Mix until incorporated.
- Evenly spread the mixture on all sides of the rib roast. Generously season all sides with black pepper and place the roast on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet.
- Transfer to the Traeger or bottom rack of your oven and cook until the internal temperature reaches 120F (assuming you like your meat medium-rare), approximately 2 hours for a 5 pound roast. If using a Traeger, insert the meat probe into the thickest part of the roast for an accurate temperature reading.
- Preheat a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the rib roast along with 2 tablespoons of the rendered butter reserved in the baking sheet. Cook 60 seconds, using a large spoon to continuously baste the roast as it sears in the skillet. Flip and cook an additional 60 seconds, continuing to baste. Repeat on all sides until a crust develops on the outside of the meat and the internal temperature of the roast reaches 135F.
- Transfer to a carving board and let it rest 10 minutes before carving.