Smoked Prime Rib on the Pit Barrel Cooker

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BBQ Prime Rib. From Adam Perry Lang’s Book: Serious BBQ

Nothing beats a good prime rib and one cooked in a Pit Barrel Smoker is absolutely magical. Tender, juicy, a nicely favored crust and a touch of great smoke results in a melt-in-your mouth experience that you will not forget. My recipe is simple: I use a good cut of beef, a salt-thyme-garlic dry rub then apply a pepper-mustard flavor paste before cooking. The result is, well…magical.

As in most BBQ recipes the most important ingredient is the meat and with prime rib it is worth going to the next level. It is generally an expensive cut anyway so why hold back? I usually buy my rib roasts at Costco and go for choice or prime cuts, either with or without the bones; although I prefer the bone-in variety. My recipe is based on Adam Perry Lang’s with a few changes and adaptations for use in the Pit barrel Cooker. Lang’s approach is based on the french tradition of eating steaks with lots of pepper and mustard. Believe me the combination is wonderful.

Prime vs. Choice cut. From:

Once you have selected the meat the next step is to dry brine it and let it sit for several hours. Use the following rub and insert portions into 1/2 inch incisions made all over the meat. Rub the remainder on the outside of the roast and let sit in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Beyond two hours it probably doesn’t make much of a difference (to know why see Meathead’s amazing new BBQ book).

4-5 lbs prime rib roast

Salt Rub:

  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt (or about 1/2 tsp per lb and scale the other ingredients accordingly)

Wet Rub:

  • 1 tbsp beef bouillon (I use Better Than Bouillon beef paste)
  • 3 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1-2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Ancho Chile powder
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce


Start the coals on the smoker then mix and apply the flavor paste to the outside of the roast. Be generous as the paste will turn into a very tasty crust. At this point I add several wood chunks to the coals. Mesquite is my favorite but oak, hickory or pecan are great choices as well. Pop in the hooks then hang it in the smoker. I check the meat with a thermometer after 90 min and pull it at 125F for medium rare, 140 for medium and 150 for well done. It is usually done within 2-2.5 hours. Slice and serve. You might also consider one of Lang’s board sauces, which adds an extra punch to the meat. I hope you like it!

The final product!

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