How Much Prime Rib Per Person So No One Goes Hungry

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It’s hard to beat a perfectly cooked Prime Rib as the centerpiece of any special occasion.

Prime rib is an expensive cut of meat, so you don’t want to buy more than you need. You also don’t want to be a stingy host and not serve enough.

So how much prime rib do you need per person?

We’ve created this guide to help you serve the perfect amount of prime rib so no one goes hungry and everyone gets their fair share.

How much prime rib per person?

The classic rule of thumb for buying prime rib is one pound per person raw.

If you buy a bone-in prime rib you can use the number of bones to estimate, although the amount of meat peat animal can vary by quite a lot. A good rule of thumb is to allow for two people per bone.

So a three 3-bone prime rib will comfortably feed six people.

3-4 adults4 lb3 lb
4-5 adults5 lb4 lb
5-6 adults6 lb5 lb
6-7 adults7 lb6 lb
8+ adults10 lb8 lb
serving estimates for bone-in and boneless prime rib roast

The one pound per person rule is for raw prime rib and allows for some shrinkage during cooking, and for the fat and gristle people will cut off.

trimmed prime rib on wooden chopping board
A 3-bone prime rib can comfortably feed 6 adults.

When served as part of a large holiday buffet with several other dishes, you could get away with .75 pounds per person.

If you’re cooking a meal heavy on carbs and starches, you can go a little lighter on the prime rib.

If you can get a bone-in cut, you can slice it so that every person gets a whole piece with the bone attached. This will be much more than a pound per person, so I would only recommend this when feeding a hungry crowd.

What to look for when buying prime rib

When buying prime rib, look for a cut with a large ‘eye’ of meat in the center, surrounded by lots of well-marbled muscle and a thick fat cap.

Prime rib is notoriously well-marbled, and it’s that intercostal fat that gives it such a wonderful flavor.

You should purchase a prime rib roast that is larger than you anticipate needing. Once cooked, the meat may shrink by as much as 20%. Buying a little larger will allow for an optimal amount to go around without anyone’s plate coming up short.

The best prime rib I’ve ever tasted was from Snake River Farms, which sells American Wagyu.

Tip – The word “Prime” doesn’t have anything to do with the USDA prime meat grading you might be familiar with.

Where does prime rib come from?

The cut known as prime rib comes from the upper part of the cow’s chest, called the “chuck.” One of the reasons that prime rib is so popular is that it’s a relatively fatty and well-marbled cut of meat, and fat means flavor.

That beautiful marbling is what gives prime rib its extraordinary flavor

Prime rib is best known for its abundance of beefy flavor, which means it pairs really nicely with other rich flavors such as red wine or horseradish sauce. It also has an incredibly tender texture. Of course, this will vary depending on how you cook the meat (e.g., roasting vs grilling).

What’s the best way to cook prime rib?

Once you’ve got your prime rib, there are many different ways to cook it. One of the most popular methods is roasting in an oven.

My favorite method is to smoke prime rib and finish with a sear on a grill or pan until crispy and browned on both sides.

Smoked prime rib recipe

If you’re cooking this dish on a grill, set up indirect heat so that your roast cooks evenly all around.

Check out our recipe for the perfect smoked prime rib roast for all the details.

If you have any leftovers you can always reheat your prime rib.

Preparing the perfect prime rib

Prime rib can a tricky dish to cook and portion out properly, but if you’re ready for the challenge, then our guide gives you all the information you need to make sure everyone gets their fair share of this amazing cut!

Be sure to also try our prime rib rub for an excellent seasoning option.

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