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We’re not big on Christmas traditions in my family.  We have small traditions I guess.  But we don’t have a traditional Christmas dinner with the same foods every year.  Usually we have a second Thanksgiving-type meal with a turkey and everything.  Sometimes a ham.  And every once and a while we experiment.  Two years ago we did salmon and lobster tails.

This year my mom and I saw a beautiful standing rib roast in a Fresh Market brochure.  An inkling of an idea formed.  Then we were watching The Pioneer Woman and she made an awesome looking rib roast with a mouth-watering crust of multi-colored peppercorns.  How could we not make prime rib after such bombardments?  We put in an order for one and that was that.  We are now 99.9 percent sure we have just initiated our traditional Christmas dinner.

Herbed Peppercorn Prime Rib (adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

  • 1 whole Rib Eye Roast (you can do boneless or traditional bone in) Hers was 14 pounds and boneless – ours was only 9 pounds and bone-in, and I just adjusted the other ingredients to our 9 pounder
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp peppercorns (I had a medley of black, white, green and pink – the more colors you use the more festive I think it looks)
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic

I started by mixing the topping first.  I put the peppercorns in a plastic sandwich bag and smashed them with a meat tenderizer.  A rolling pin would do the same job.  Don’t smash them to a pulp though.  You want some big pieces.  Chop the garlic.  Pull the herbs off their stems but don’t chop them.  Or chop them if you want.  The Pioneer Woman did it both ways and liked the herbs better whole.  I agree.  Put the peppercorns, salt, herbs and garlic in a bowl and set aside.

It just looks like the holidays, doesn’t it?

Preheat the oven to 450-500 degrees.  (She recommends 500, but we didn’t want to make our oven quite that hot and our pieces of meat were smaller.  So we did ours at 450.)

Cut your rib roast in half and pat dry with paper towels.  Pour olive oil in a heavy pot or dutch oven and heat over high heat.  Sear all sides of both pieces of meat for about 2-3 minutes on each side.

Transfer each piece to a roasting pan with a rack.

Pour a little olive oil over the meat and pour on the rub mixture.  Press it slightly to get it to stick to the meat.

Roast for 20-30 minutes at 450-500 degrees.  Then turn the heat down to 300 and roast for another 20-30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 125 for rare/medium rare – it will continue to cook slightly after removing from the oven.  (Ours was in the oven for about an hour total since we wanted the meat medium rare/medium.)

The finished product.

It was out of this world good.  I’m definitely not a big red meat fan; it’s usually not good enough to me to compensate for it being so heavy.  But we were eating this as it was being sliced.  I had to consciously make myself stop so I could eat some with my actual dinner.  It fell apart and was like butter.  And every once in a while, when you’d get a bite with the crust on it, oh dear goodness.  The different peppercorns have a flavor I’ve never experienced before.  They gave the meat a smoky and slightly spicy flavor.  Our taste buds were in heaven.  We were like Bill Murray in What About Bob?  And it wasn’t too salty at all, as I feared it might be.

It says something when everyone barely touches the mashed potatoes.

Prime rib, where have you been all my life?