Prime rib is a barbecue classic that spruces up any holiday table.
Smoked on a spit and slathered in garlic herb butter, this simple and easy rotisserie prime rib is one of my favorite things to cook.
Keep reading for the ingredients and step-by-step instructions, and be sure to check out the video I shared on my Dead Broke BBQ Channel.
Rotisserie Prime Rib
Prime rib (also known as standing rib roast, boneless rib roast, or beef rib roast) is a large beef cut from a cow’s spine, spanning seven rib bones.
There’s a reason rotisserie prime rib is one of my favorite things to cook. The juices continuously baste the meat as it rotates. You can adopt this recipe on a regular smoker, or try our smoked prime rib recipe.
The rotation also ensures you get a perfectly smoky bark. So, in the end, you have a tender and juicy prime rib full of flavor.
I used USDA Prime Prime Rib. Why the double prime? Well, Prime rib is a meat grade, while the prime in prime rib is because it’s cut from the primal muscle.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Prime rib– I’m not messing around, so I’m using a USDA Prime boneless prime rib roast.
- Avocado oil – I use this to make the rub stick, but olive oil works just as well.
- Kosher salt – you want a coarse salt like kosher or sea salt, not table salt.
- Rub – I’m using Prime Time Buttery Beef Rub, but you can also use our homemade prime rib rub recipe.
- Garlic herb butter sauce – fresh thyme and rosemary, butter, and garlic.
Equipment you’ll need
- Grill with rotisserie attachment – I’m using my Santa Maria Grill from Lone Star Grillz.
- Boning knife
- Cutting boards
- Butcher’s twine
- Wood chunks
- Heatproof gloves
- Instant-read thermometer
- Cast-iron pan – I sit this on the grill grate to make my garlic butter sauce.
- Basting brush
- Aluminum foil
How much prime rib per person?
We have a guide on how much prime rib per person, as there are several factors to consider. But the basic answer is one pound per person raw.
How to make Rotisserie Prime Rib
Remove the prime rib from the packaging and pat it dry with paper towels.
Next you want to trim the fat. I follow the line and cut down the lengthwise seam. I regularly make beef tallow from these fat cuts.
Then, you can trim any excess fat. It’s also important to carefully remove the silverskin so the rub sticks to the meat. But around the edges, you can leave a little on for flavor.
Flip it over, and on the rib side, I don’t remove a lot as you can eat that tender fat.
Next, you want to take some butcher twine and tie it around to tighten up and shape the prime rib. It’s essential to keep it tight to help it cook evenly and preserve the nice shape. You want to space them out across the prime rib.
I’m not fancy; I just ensure each tie is tight and secure. You can cut those excess strings off, too.
3. Dry brine and season
Now, it’s time to add some flavor!
Add a good layer of Kosher salt and, for best results, leave on a wire rack in the fridge uncovered overnight. This dry brining method helps the salt work into the meat for better flavor while also drying out the exterior, which helps you get a better crust.
If you don’t have time, you can skip to applying the rub, but if you plan ahead it’s worth doing.
I like to remove a few hours before I start cooking, so it has time to come up to temp a little.
Start by rubbing in some avocado oil (you can use any oil or Worcestershire sauce) so the rub has something to stick to.
4. Secure it
Grab your rotisserie spit, remove the end claw, and push it through the prime rib’s center.
I like to roll it onto its side halfway through to ensure it’s even. Then, secure and tighten your rotisserie forks. You can always adjust the position of the forks and the prime rib to get it nice and in the center.
This is a great time to put it on and test everything is working and rotating nicely before there is a hot fire underneath.
Leave it to sit and sweat while you get your grill setup.
5. Fire up the grill
I start my fire with about half a bag of B&B oak briquettes (lump would work as well). I just pour them into the center and then use my grill gun to fire them up, but you can use a chimney starter or whatever your favorite method for lighting charcoal is.
Once the charcoal is nicely ashed over, split them into two piles and then add a few sticks of red oak.
You want to let the fire ease a little, and then slowly start adding more sticks of wood.
After about 45 minutes, you should have a good coal bed. A good test is to put your hand to where the meat will be and then see if you can count to 8. You want to feel a tingle of heat, but not so hot you have to pull your hand away.
Once you’re happy with your fire, it’s time to get the rotisserie on and start cooking.
I stoke the fire during the cook by adding a smaller wood chunk and a few charcoal pieces.
Turn on the spinner and let it cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 125°F.
As the prime rib cooks the fat will start to render and drip into the hot coals.
The thing with prime rib is that it has at least a 7 to 10-degree carryover. So you want to pull it off a little early, then let it rest. During that time, it will reach my optimal temperature, which is between 130 – 135°F, for medium rare.
Now, this is the most popular doneness. Here’s our steak doneness guide to find your perfect internal temp so you can adjust if necessary.
7. Make the garlic and herb butter baste butter
When the prime rib’s internal temperature reaches 100°F, I start prepping my garlic and herb butter baste.
Place a cast-iron pan on the grill grate (or on low heat on your stove) to preheat. Chop the herbs and add them and the minced garlic and butter to the pan. Mix those ingredients until the butter melts and everything is nice and mixed.
About every 15 minutes, I’ll brush the sauce onto the prime rib. This makes sure every side gets some. Enjoy the smell!
8. Let it rest
Once the prime rib reaches 120°F, I remove the rotisserie spit from the grill and place it on a clean cutting board. Even though I had the Meater running the whole time, I decided to check a few different points on the prime rib using my Thermapen.
Remove the clamps and spit, then tent it loosely with aluminum foil, and let the beef rest for about 15-30 minutes.
After resting, cut those strings off and slice. I like to slice it in the middle first, and then cut thin slices off that.
You can’t serve your prime rib without
- Homemade Horseradish Sauce
- Smoked Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Smoked Green Bean Casserole
- The Best Macaroni Salad
- Cranberry, Walnut Pasta Salad
- 16 lb prime rib roast you don't have to go this big for your prime rib
- 2 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
- 2 tbsp Kosher salt
- 4 tbsp beef rub
Garlic herb butter baste
- 2 sticks butter
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh rosemary finely chopped
- 2 tbsp garlic minced
Trim & Dry Brine
- If you have time, dry brine the prime rib overnight in the fridge, or for at least a few hours.
- Remove the prime rib from the packaging and pat dry with paper towels.
- Cut the fat away from the seam and trim excess fat, including the silverskin.
- Take about five pieces of butcher’s twine and tie them tight and securely across the prime rib.
- Sprinkle a generous amonut of kosher salt all over the prime rub then leave uncovered on a tray in the fridge overnight.
Rotisserie Prime Rib
- Remove prime rib from the fridge a few hours before you plan on cooking it. Rub with avocado oil, then add your rub and leave to sweat.
- Prep your grill. Depending on the type of grill you are using, light about 1/2 a bag of charcoal, and a few sticks of smoke wood. Once the fire has eased spread out the coals into a nice even bed. When you can hold your hand above the coals where the prime rib will sit for around 8 seconds its ready.
- Grab your rotisserie rod and push it through the center, then secure and tighten the clamps.
- Mount spit, place your thermometer under one of the clamps and let it rotate until it reaches 125°F.
- Around the 100°F mark, start brushing on the baste every 15 minutes.
- Once it reaches 125°F, take the spit from the grill, place the prime rib on a cutting board, and remove it from the rod.
- Tent loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest for 15-30 minutes.
- Cut strings, slice the prime rib, and serve.
Garlic and herb butter baste
- Heat a pan on the grill grate and add the garlic herb butter ingredients. Mix until the butter melts.