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A smoked prime rib on a cutting board, sliced, with herbed butter.

Smoked Prime Rib Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 5 reviews
  • Author: Erin Jensen
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner/Entree
  • Method: Smoker
  • Cuisine: American


Smoked Prime Rib – a delicious, decadent smoked prime rib recipe with herbed butter that is reverse seared to perfection!



Prime Rib

  • 46 pound prime rib roast 
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper

Herbed Butter

  • 45 tablespoons butter or ghee, softened
  • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs (mix of chopped fresh parsley, thyme and rosemary)


  1. Pat prime rib roast dry with clean paper towels. Season generously with kosher salt and ground black pepper.  Set aside and let come to room temperatures, approx. 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, combine butter and freshly chopped herbs in a small bowl. 
  3. Rub the herbed butter all over the prime rib. Place prime rib on a sheet pan lined with a wire rack – fat side up.  
  4. Preheat smoker to 225 degrees F. 
  5. Transfer the prime rib (still on the wire rack lined baking sheet) to the smoker.  Ensure you have a probe inserted into the thickest part of the roast so that you can carefully track the internal temperature.
  6. Let smoke until the internal temp reads approx. 118-120 degrees F. (for a medium-rare finish – a medium-rare finish is actually 130-135 degrees F. which we will get to in the next step with the sear + resting time) – this can take anywhere from 2 hours 45 minutes to 4 hours (or 35-40 minutes per pound)*. 
  7. Preheat a large cast iron skillet to high heat and add 2-3 tablespoon of the rendered fat/butter from the baking sheet. Sear the prime rib approx. 2-3 minutes per side while basting with the rendered butter – before you remove from the skillet take the internal temp again at the thickest part and ensure it is at or around 125-128 degrees F – if it isn’t continue searing 1 minute per side until it does. 
  8. Remove from the skillet and let rest 15 minutes before slicing – the internal temp will continue rising during this time. 
  9. Serve with Prime Rib Horseradish Sauce or some Au Jus.


  • *Smoke Time: for a 4 1/2 pound boneless prime rib it took us 3 hours to get to 118 degrees F. at the thickest part – it may take you shorter or longer depending upon how thick your prime rib is, humidity, wind, hot spots, etc. The best way to know when your prime rib will be ready to pull is to watch the internal temperature. 
  • Bone-in vs. boneless: this recipe works with either a bone-in prime rib or boneless prime rib – if you are using the bone-in method the cook time will take a little longer so just be aware of that and keep an eye on that internal temp (use an internal meat thermometer).
  • Prime Rib Seasoning: feel free to use our Prime Rib Seasoning instead of the simple salt and pepper spice rub. 
  • Wood Chips: we love hickory, cherry or oak, but use whatever you have available.
  • Reverse-Searing: you do not have to sear after smoking if you do not want to, but then you will want to smoke your prime rib until it reaches an internal temperature of 130-135 degrees F. for medium-rare finish. 
  • What to serve with: we love serving this with Garlic Green Beans and Goat Cheese Potatoes Au Gratin or these Twice Baked Potatoes!
  • Leftovers: store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days – use leftovers to make some Prime Rib Sandwiches!


  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 555
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 282.2 mg
  • Fat: 34.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.3 g
  • Protein: 61 g
  • Cholesterol: 262.1 mg