Reverse Sear Prime Rib – Ontario Corn Fed Beef

While this season is famous for it’s turkey, at our house it’s just as common for a beautifully roasted piece of prime rib to be presented to the table before carving.

This year’s celebration was a big one and was held at our friend’s farm with 14 adults for dinner. We decided that we’d do 2 prime rib roasts on the barbecues. We picked up 2 Ontario Corn Fed Beef prime rib roasts. Each was 3-ribs, around 6.5lbs, and very well marbled with a nice cap of fat that would add flavour and (if cooked right) provide perfect crackling for those who love it.

Inspiration to Reverse Sear our Prime Rib

We were inspired by a recent dinner prepared by Chef Matt Basile of Lisa Marie and Fidel Gastro at the farm (won at Second Harvest’s Toronto Taste). Matt prepared a couple of cuts of beef for us. He did a slow smoke and reverse search technique and the beef was beautiful.

reverse sear prime rib - tomahawk steak

We were so impressed with his results, and guidance, that we had to try it too.

Decision made – our holiday prime rib was going to be reverse seared!

ready to reverse sear prime rib
Are you sure? Yes I’m sure, our holiday prime ribs are about to be reverse seared!

Cooking Prime Rib for a Crowd

With the crowd we had joining us for dinner, we also needed to ensure we had roast cooked everywhere along the spectrum of doneness from medium-rare – the perfect spot for prime rib, to well-done which also works for a well-marbled piece of beef. More tricks for that later in the post.

Almost everyone, all with their holiday finger puppets on.

Cooking with Gas and Smoke

Just to be safe, we decided to do one barbecue-roasted on the gas barbecue and

the other smoked on the Big Green Egg. That way if there were any hiccups, we had options. But we both have roasted a lot of beef in ovens and on barbecues. So we weren’t all that worried.

Turns out that we made the right choice, since there were some last minute, and significant, hiccups in the kitchen meaning that the oven was not available for the roasts. Thank goodness we planned to cook both on the barbecues!

But, let me tell you more about the reverse-sear method.

The Reverse-Sear Method

Recent wisdom has it that when you are cooking a big piece of meat, the “correct” way to prepare it is to start it at a high temperature to seal in the juices, i.e. to sear it with a high temp. Sometimes even searing it in a pan before starting the roasting process.

However, based on experience, cooking slower at a steady temperature produces a more predictable result. So, if you want a nice medium-rare roast, you will get a beautiful even cook throughout the roast if you cook it longer and lower.

This is the logic behind sous-vide – bring the meat to a consistent internal temperature, and then sear for the crust.

So that is pretty much what we did (without the sous-vide piece).

reverse sear prime rib

Reverse-Seared Prime Rib


  • Ontario Corn Fed Prime Rib – 3-bone, approximately 6.2-6.5lbs
  • garlic – slivered
  • rosemary sprigs
  • salt & pepper to taste


Both roasts were prepared very simply.

  • Air dried for approximately 2 hours
  • Studded with slivers of garlic and fresh rosemary sprigs
  • Salted and peppered

Use a paring knife to cut slits all over the roast. Then insert a garlic sliver and a rosemary sprig into each slit

The Actual Reverse Searing

We setup the BGE to approximately 200°-220° indirect – for the slow smoke over maple charcoal and apple wood chips.

The gas grill was set to 325° indirect – for a slow roast.

We monitored regularly with meat thermometers, and when the meat had reached an internal temp of 120° we pulled it, tented it and started getting the gas grill ready for the sear.

Then we jacked the gas grill up to 600° (anything over 500° will do it) and seared both roasts.

You can do it just as easily in the oven. Start low, pull the meat out when you are almost done and jack up the temperature of your oven as high as it will go (usually around 500°).  Put your beef back in once the oven is preheated and hot. And heat sear it for 5-10 minutes.
You will love this technique. We certainly did.

You can see our delight in the results.

Making Medium-Rare Prime Rib Into Well Done Prime Rib

My family is very vocal about the “right” cook on a piece of meat. My parents are both from Western Canada and my dad is a professional cook. That said, there are many people who don’t want to eat their meat rare, or even medium rare… or even medium (or even medium well).

For those of you wanting your meat cooked perfectly, access to the beautifully flavourful outside and end cut of the roast, but still needing to serve your loved ones meat that is cooked more, I give you my solution. (Which I came up with on my own, only to find out it’s a long-standing technique in professional kitchens.)


  • slices of perfectly cooked meat
  • gravy


  • Warm your gravy for the table in a shallow and wide-ish pan, wide enough for the largest slice of meat.  Raise, or drop,  the temperature of the gravy to just below a simmer.
  • Slide your perfectly cooked meat into the warm gravy.
  • Leave it there until it is cooked to the desired done-ness.
  • Not only will this cook your loved-ones meat to the level they enjoy, without drying it out or resorting to the microwave (shudder), it will also make your gravy taste better.
  • This reverse-sear technique is perfect for hitting a medium-rare or above cook on your beef. There is no loss of juiciness or flavour.

Ontario Corn-Fed Beef

Note:  this post is sponsored by Ontario Corn Fed Beef. Read the other posts in the Ontario Corn Fed Beef series.
For more information on my relationship with brands please, read my disclosure statement

Alexa Clark

Alexa is a digital marketer and author with over 20 years in digital & interactive communications in the food and tech industries. Alexa's CheapEats Restaurant Guides, for both Toronto & Ottawa, were Canadian best sellers. She is a recognized authority on social media and has been named one of Canada's 20 Leading Women in Social Media.

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