Use your smoker to turn a bone-in ribeye roast into the best smoked prime rib ever! Take it to another level with a flavorful harissa rub! This prime rib is reversed seared, locking in all of the juicy flavors and providing a delicious texture on the outside of the roast.

overhead image of sliced prime rib on plate with roasted vegetables

Thank you to California Beef Council for sponsoring today’s post!

It’s the year 2020 and while the holiday season might look a little different this year, I’ve partnered up with the California Beef Council to share a classic recipe with an unconventional twist.

While prime rib might be on your holiday menu every year, I guarantee that you’ve never had a prime rib like this! Using a smoker is my favorite way to cook a prime rib. The low, slow cooking method produces a tender, juicy and perfectly cooked prime rib every time.

To switch things up with this smoked prime rib recipe, I added a harissa rub. If you’re wondering “what in the world is harissa?” – I’m so excited that you asked! Harissa is a North African chili pepper paste that is so flavorful and currently trending in the food world.

It’s easy to find online or at the grocery store already prepared in jars. You’ll normally find it on the spice aisle, or near the canned tomatoes at the grocery store. After trying several different brands, this Harissa Sauce is my favorite.

In addition to the delicious flavor that harissa adds to the prime rib, it also creates an easy rub for the prime rib. Simply combine the harissa sauce with crushed garlic, salt and pepper, and your rub is ready to go!

I guarantee this Smoked Prime Rib recipe will impress everyone at your dinner table this holiday season. Whether you’re cooking for 2 or 6, this recipe is easy to make and so delicious! And if you’re making it for a smaller group, I speak from experience when I say that leftover prime rib makes EXCELLENT sandwiches!

overhead image of ingredients for smoked prime rib

Ingredients

  • Bone-in ribeye roast – a ribeye roast is also known as a rib roast or prime rib roast. If you can’t find this cut of beef on the shelves at your local grocery store, ask your butcher, or visit a specialty butcher shop in your area.
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Crushed garlic cloves
  • Harissa sauce (or paste) – depending on the brand, sometimes it’s referred to as sauce and sometimes paste. Either will work for this recipe!
collage of images showing how to make harissa rubbed smoked prime rib

Step by step instructions

  1. Preheat the smoker to 225°F. Remove any butchers twine from the roast. Trim any excess fat from the top of the roast, down to 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Prepare the prime rib rub. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, crushed garlic and harissa paste.
  3. Rub the roast. Cover the roast with the prepared rub.
  4. Smoke the roast. Place the roast on the preheated smoker, bone side down, fat side up and close the lid.
    • Smoke until the internal temperature of the roast reaches 120°F for rare or 130°F for medium. This should take approximately 35 minutes per pound for a rare roast. At 6 pounds, this should be approximately 3.5 hours.
      • Quick Tip! The cook time will vary, so I recommend checking the temperature of the roast with a meat thermometer every 5-10 minutes, after 3 hours on the smoker.
    • Remove the roast from the smoker and tent with foil. Rest for 20 minutes.
    • Increase the temperature on your smoker to 400°F to prepare it for the reverse sear.
    • Place the roast back on the smoker and sear on both sides until the internal temperature reaches 130°F for rare, 135°F for medium rare or 140°F for medium. This should take approximately 10 minutes.
  5. Rest the roast. Remove the roast from the smoker, place it on a large cutting board, tent with foil and allow the roast to rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving the roast. This will give the juices inside the roast time to redistribute throughout the roast creating a juicy, flavorful prime rib.
  6. Slice the roast. Slice the bone out from under the roast, then slice the roast into 1 inch slices using a sharp knife or electric knife.

Other rub ideas

If you want to try a more traditional smoked prime rib, without the harissa rub, try one of these rubs or pastes on the outside of the ribeye roast.

  • Rub 1/4 cup olive oil on the outside of the roast, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons steak seasoning evenly over the roast.
  • Prepare an herb paste by combining 1/4 cup olive oil, 4 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, 1 tablespoon fresh sage and 1 tablespoon fresh parsley in a food processor. Pulse into a chunky paste, then rub on the outside of the roast.
  • Prepare a mustard rub by combining 2 tablespoons olive oil with 2 tablespoons dijon mustard, 4 cloves crushed garlic, 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper. Rub this mixture over the entire roast before adding it to the smoker.
  • Make an herb butter rub by combining 1/4 cup softened butter in a bowl with 4 cloves crushed garlic, 2 teaspoons fresh minced thyme, 2 teaspoons fresh minced rosemary, 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper. Rub the herb butter over the entire roast before smoking.

Whit’s tips & tricks

  • Plan for 1 pound of uncooked meat per person. After the meat has been cooked and the bones removed, this will equal closer to 1/2 pound of cooked meat per person.
  • What is the best wood to smoke prime rib with? I recommend a fruit wood, with a mild flavor, such as apple or cherry, as to not overpower the flavor of the prime rib.
  • For this recipe, I used a Traeger Pro Series Pellet Grill and Smoker (which I highly recommend!), but any smoker will work for this recipe.
  • I recommend serving the prime rib with creamy horseradish. If you want to mix things up, you can combine one part horseradish to one part harissa paste for a flavorful sauce that pairs perfectly with this prime rib!
  • If the meat is fully cooked ahead of time, wrap it in butcher paper and store it in a cooler (with no ice) for up to 4 hours. This will keep the meat warm without overcooking it.
sliced smoked prime rib on wood cutting board

What to serve with it

Mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables both pair perfectly with prime rib. Try one of these delicious and easy side dishes to pair with this recipe!

Slice of prime rib on plate with roasted vegetables

More beef recipes to try

For more delicious beef recipes to try this holiday season, be sure to visit CalBeef.org and check out these recipes from seasons past!

And for more unconventional recipes, check out this article “An Unconventional Holiday Menu for an Unconventional Year” featuring some of my favorite unique recipes for the holiday season!

Sliced prime rib on wood cutting board
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Smoked Prime Rib with Harissa Rub

Use your smoker to turn a bone-in ribeye roast into the best smoked prime rib ever! Take it to another level with a flavorful harrisa rub!

Ingredients

  • 6 pound bone-in ribeye roast
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup harissa paste

Instructions

  • Preheat the smoker to 225°F.
  • Trim any excess fat from the top of the roast, down to ¼ inch thick.
  • In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, garlic and harissa.
  • Rub this mixture on the ribeye roast.
  • Place the roast on the smoker, fat side up (bone side down) and close the lid.
  • Smoke until the internal temperature reaches 120°F for rare, or 130°F for medium.
  • Smoke 35 minutes per pound at 225°F for a rare roast, approximately 3.5 hours for a 6 lb roast.
  • Remove the roast to a cutting board, tent with foil and rest for 20 minutes.
  • Increase the temperature on your smoker to 400°F.
  • Place the roast back on the smoker and sear on both sides until the internal temperature reaches 130°F for rare, 135°F for medium rare or 140°F for medium. This should take about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the roast, back to the cutting board and let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
  • Slice the bone from the bottom of the roast and set aside, or discard. Slice the roast into 1 inch slices and serve immediately.

Video

Notes

  • Plan for 1 pound of uncooked meat per person. Once the meat cooks down and the bones are removed, this will equal closer to 1/2 pound of cooked meat per person.
  • I recommend a wood with a mild flavor, such as cherry or apple wood, for smoking the rib roast.
  • I recommend serving the prime rib with creamy horseradish. If you want to mix things up, you can combine one part horseradish to one part harissa paste for a flavorful sauce that pairs perfectly with this prime rib!

Nutrition Facts

Calories 1370kcal (69%)Carbohydrates 4g (1%)Protein 62g (124%)Fat 121g (186%)Saturated Fat 50g (250%)Cholesterol 274mg (91%)Sodium 1517mg (63%)Potassium 1065mg (30%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 1g (1%)Vitamin A 77mg (2%)Vitamin C 2mg (2%)Calcium 45mg (5%)Iron 7mg (39%)
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