Salt Crusted Prime Rib

Salt Crusted Prime Rib

From La Caja China Cooking, 2010

The traditional preparation for a standing rib roast is to rub the outside of the roast with salt and seasonings and slow-roast with dry heat. In the United States, it is common for barbecue purists to apply smoke to the uncooked rib roast at low heat for 2-3 hours before dry roasting.

In the United Kingdom, Yorkshire pudding is frequently served as a side dish with prime rib

½ C coarsely ground black pepper
2/3 C kosher salt
2 head of garlic, peeled
1/4 C fresh rosemary
2 Tbs smoked paprika powder
½ C olive oil
1 – 5-6-pound prime rib roasts (6 bones).

In a food processor, combine the salt, pepper, garlic cloves, rosemary and paprika, and process until fine. Add the olive oil and pulse to form a paste. Pat the rib roast dry with a paper towel or napkin.

Place the prime rib roast on a cutting board, bone-side up and rub with 1 tablespoon of the salt paste.

Pack the salt paste all over the fatty surface of the roast, pressing to help it adhere. Let the prime rib stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

Insert meat thermometer so tip is in thickest part of beef, not resting in fat or touching bone.

La Caja China Prime Rib

(See below for oven roasting instructions)

Place disposable pans beneath the Caja China rack to catch the drippings, tent ribs loosely with foil, fire up your smoke box (I use oak), and close the roasting box.

Add 16 lbs. of charcoal for model #1 or 20 lbs. for model #2 or Semi-Pro Box, divided into two piles, and light up.

At 30 minutes, spread coals over surface. Cooking time starts now.

At 1 hour (cooking time), lift the lid and quickly baste the roasts, and re-tent with foil. Dump excess ashes, close La Caja China and add another 10lbs of unlit coals.

After 2 hours (cooking time), – baste again, remove the foil, and close the box to brown the top of the roasts.

Cook until rib roasts reach an internal temperature of 120 degrees F. Then remove the foil and brown 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Remove the roasts from La Caja China, cover with aluminum foil, transfer the roasts to a large carving board, and let the meat rest for 30 minutes

Remember, the rib roast will continue to cook as it sets. The temperature will rise from 125 degrees F to 130-135 degree internal temperature (medium rare) at 15 to 20 minutes.

If allowed to rest as long as an hour, the temperature will rise even higher.

Carefully lift the salt crust off the meat and transfer to a bowl. Brush away any excess salt.

To remove the roast in one piece while keeping the rib rack intact, run a long sharp carving knife along the bones, using them as your guide.

Carve the prime rib roast 1-inch thick and serve, passing some of the crumbled salt crust as a condiment.

This recipe can be doubled or tripled with very little additional roasting time.

For Oven Roasting:

*Add 2 Tbs mesquite liquid smoke to the wet rub.

Preheat the oven to 375 degree F.

Place rubbed and rested roast on a rack in the pan with the rib side down and the fatty side up. Roast for 1 hour.

Turn off oven. Leave roast in oven but do not open oven door for 3 hours.

About 30 to 40 minutes before serving time, turn oven to 375 degrees F and reheat the roast.

Important: Do not remove roast or re-open the oven door from time roast is put in until ready to serve.

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Filed under In The Box Recipes, Off The Grill

7 responses to “Salt Crusted Prime Rib

  1. Looks awesome! Cooking one for Christmas.

  2. Kelly Ryan

    Hi Perry – this looks awesome, thanks. Question – when you put the roast in LCC, are they ribs up or down? The recipe I saw had me start with the rib bones facing up, then turning the roast after the first hour. By this recipe, the roast stays in the same place throughout the cooking process? I’m making 30 lbs of prime rib for christmas and and I want to get it right! Thanks and Merry Christmas!

  3. Kelly,

    Okay, two things –

    RE: Flipping a prime rib roast. I’ve never done this myself, nor do I really see any reason to. There’s nothing to cook on the bone side, nor any appreciable amount of fat to melt and drip through the meat. That’s why, IMO, you’d get more bang for your buck by keeping it fat-cap up, so you get as much of that yummy self-basting as possible.

    The other reason not to flip, specifically in the first portion of this recipe, is that when roasting in La Caja China, you want to leave the lid closed until the meat has finished cooking, and is ready to brown.

    Secondly – Your question, above just happens to be…THE 1,000TH COMMENT ON THIS BLOG!!! WOO-HOO!!!

    Please visit and choose any one of my books, cookbook or otherwise, and let me know, below, which one you’d like.
    Then email me at perry (at), with your shipping address, and I’ll get it into the mail to you today!

    Congratulations, and thanks for being a part of our crazy blog!


  4. Bob

    mmmm, If Santa got my hint I should have the cookbook for Christmas. Prime rib sounds great in the LCC. Of course I need a LCC. Is the LCC insulated or is the plywood the insulation that retains the heat? Doesn’t the plywood get hot enough to burn?

  5. Bob,

    No worries, Santa and I are tight…lol!

    The plywood is metal lined, and the firepan sits on metal rails. Also, this is “low-and-slow” cooking, so the internal temps never get much higher than 250-300. The grilling output, however, can exceed 700 degrees, hence the metal rails.


  6. Looks great, Perry. I like the herb paste/wet rub you use, especially once the fat renders and mixes with it. Perfect for an au jus.

  7. Bob

    Got the cookbook and some remote read thermometers from Santa! After looking into LCC pricing with shipping I decided to try to build my own roasting box. I was pricing materials online and at Home Depot/Lowes when I stumbled into an aluminum diamond plate mid-size truck box on clearance at HD for $62. (regular $250) I built an insulated plywood box around it. (cooking interior base is 51x20x12) Going to rivet some 2″ aluminum angle to the top to contain the ashes and give it a test firing with some chickens.

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