Classic Standing Rib Roast
Ingredients (Quantities are for a two-bone roast, with the three-bone amounts in parentheses):
  • 2 (3) teaspoonskosher salt
  • Scant (heaping) teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper
  • 2 small (large) cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 two- or three-bonerib roast with bones, preferably USDA Choice, 4 to 7 pounds
  • 11⁄2 (2) pounds small new potatoes
  • 1⁄2 (3⁄4) cup hot unsalted chicken, beef or veal stock, or water
Time Estimates

Prep time: 30 min

Cook time: about 3 hours

Total time: 3 hours, 30 min


  1. Combine the salt, pepper, and garlic and rub the mixture all over the roast. Place bone side down in a roasting pan large enough to hold the roast and the potatoes, and set aside for 30 minutes to 2 hours at room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 500˚F. Scatter the potatoes in the roasting pan. Add the roast, place in the oven, roast 15 minutes, and then (without opening the oven door) reduce the oven heat to 325˚F. Reset the timer for 15 minutes per pound for a roast that is rare in the center. Meanwhile, prepare the base for the Individual Spinach Soufflés.
  3. When the timer goes off, check the roast with an instant-read thermometer; you are looking for an internal temperature of 120˚F for a medium-rare roast, 115˚F for rare. (It will go higher as it sits out of the oven.) When the roast reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the oven and set it aside, loosely covered with foil. Reset the oven to 375˚F and proceed with the soufflés.
  4. When the soufflés are in the oven, transfer the roast to a carving board with a channel to catch the juices (or, lacking that, a smallish board set in a rimmed sheet pan). Transfer the potatoes to a serving dish. Pour out the clear fat from a corner of the roasting pan, keeping any dark brown juices that settle to the bottom. Add the stock to the pan and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom. If your roasting pan is flameproof, heat it on top of the stove while you deglaze it; otherwise, scrape the contents into a small saucepan and simmer until reduced slightly.
  5. To carve the roast in the classic manner, stand it up on one end and hold it steady with a fork while you slice horizontally to the bone, then slide the knife along the bone to free the slice. A less classical but somewhat easier technique is to set the roast on the cutting board in the same position in which it roasted, then tip it up on its large side to expose the bones; carve down along the bones to free the whole rib eye from the bones, then lay the roast back down and slice the meat crosswise. Offer the first slice to the guest who likes meat closer to medium.


6-8 (8-10) servings

Good to know

So you owe two other couples a dinner. Assuming they all eat meat, there’s nothing simpler yet more impressive than a big hunk of roast beef. And if you’re going to serve roast beef, you might as well go all the way and serve a standing rib roast.

Go to the best butcher shop in town, the one that sells Certified Angus or other USDA Choice beef, and plan to drop a couple of twenties just for the meat. It will still work out cheaper than taking all those folks out for a “prime rib” dinner. Your beer budget will also go a lot farther at retail than at restaurant prices.

Butcher terminology varies, but for the least waste and the easiest carving, ask for a small end rib-eye roast with bones. This is the most severely trimmed version of rib roast, basically the “eye” or main rib muscle with a minimum layer of fat and just the rib bones (no backbone or “chine”) attached. You get the flavor and moisture benefits of a roast cooked with the bones, but very little waste.

Among my family and friends, a two-bone rib-eye roast weighing about 4 pounds, the smallest you are likely to find, will feed six amply and eight modestly. If you know you are cooking for big appetites, bite the bullet and get a three-bone roast, which will provide lots of leftover roast beef for sandwiches, even after serving eight to ten. The meaty ribs can be reheated with your favorite barbecue sauce to serve one or two. The quantities given here are for a two-bone roast, with the three-bone amounts in parentheses.

Which beer should I drink with this?

Porter, stout, or pale ale.

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From The Microbrew Lover’s Cookbook, Copyright © 2002 by Jay Harlow. Used by arrangement with Jay Harlow.

Photo: KevinThoule/Flickr