Grilling is the easiest and best way I know how to cook prime rib. The high dry heat forms a delectable, crisp crust (with just the right amount of fat), while the beef inside remains tender and juicy.

Serves 8 to 12

You'll Need:
3 cups wood chips (optional, preferably hickory or oak), soaked for 1 hour in cold water to cover, then drained; roast rack (optional)

For the beef:
1 prime rib roast (4 ribs; 9 to 11 pounds)
3 large cloves garlic, each clove cut lengthwise into 6 or 8 slivers

For the rub:
2 teaspoons garlic salt
2 teaspoons onion salt
2 teaspoons hickory-smoked salt
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon black pepper

Herbed Horseradish Sauce, for serving

  1. Have your butcher French the prime ribs. Using the tip of a knife, make slits in the prime rib and insert the slivers of garlic into these slits.

  2. Combine all the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl and stir to mix. Sprinkle the rub over the roast on all sides, patting it onto the meat with your fingertips.

  3. Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium. If using a charcoal grill, place a large drip pan in the center. If using a gas grill, place all the wood chips, if desired, in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch and preheat on high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium.

  4. When ready to cook, if using a charcoal grill, toss half of the wood chips, if desired, on the coals. Place the roast on a rack, if using, fat-side up, in the center of the hot grate, away from the heat. If not using a rack, place the roast, fat-side up, directly in the center of the hot grate, away from the heat. Cover the grill.

  5. Grill the roast until done to taste: 2 hours for rare (about 125°F on an instant-read meat thermometer), 2 to 2 1?2 hours for medium-rare (about 145°F), or 2 1?2 to 3 hours for medium (about 160°F); remember, the roast will continue cooking even after it comes off the grill. If using a charcoal grill, you'll need to add 12 fresh coals per side every hour, and toss the remaining wood chips, if desired, on the coals after the first hour of grilling.

  6. Transfer the roast to a platter or carving board and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let the roast rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving. To carve, run a sharp, slender carving knife between the ribs and the meat to release the meat from the bones. Thinly slice the roast, then cut the ribs apart and serve them on the side. Alternatively, leave the ribs attached and carve the roast with them (the slices will be much thicker in this case). Serve horseradish sauce on the side.

Also good for:
You can also use this method to cook a boneless rib roast, and it makes a terrific rack of pork or veal.

If you have a very large grill with a very heavy-duty rotisserie, you can spit roast the prime rib. You'll need 2 1/2 to 3 hours for a roast this size.

Click here
to find out more about the book this recipe came from, How To Grill, by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, May 2001).