How to Cook a Single Prime Rib Steak in the Oven

With its rich flavor and tender consistency, prime rib steak is one of the best pieces of meat you can buy. Although it's not the lowest in calories and fat, it tastes amazing and can be used in a multitude of recipes. If you prefer to cook it in the oven, slow roasting is the way to go.

Cooking a single prime rib steak in the oven takes some preparation. Credit: istetiana/Moment/GettyImages

Tips

Cooking a single prime rib steak in the oven takes some preparation. Cut the meat from the bones, rub it with salt, herbs and spices (or marinate it overnight), refrigerate it for at least one day and then cook it at the desired temperature.

Prime Rib vs. Rib Eye

Before shopping for the perfect cut of meat, make sure you know the difference between prime rib and rib eye steak. According to Prime Time Top Ten, only 2 percent of all beef cuts on the U.S. market are graded as "prime" by the USDA.

Both the rib eye and prime rib come from the rib area of the animal. The latter, though, is longer and contains a large bone. Additionally, it's cut from the back of the upper rib area, which typically includes seven ribs, points out Fine Cooking magazine.

The USDA states that prime roasts and steaks come from young, well-fed cattle. These cuts are high in fat and make a good choice for roasting, grilling and broiling. To put it simply, this is the highest quality beef.

A rib eye, on the other hand, is boneless and must be cut before cooking. Additionally, it's smaller than a prime rib steak, which includes the entire rib roast. The rib eye also has an oval hole left by the missing bone (hence its name). Since the prime is larger, it takes longer to prepare and cook. If you're short on time, go for rib eye steaks.

Read more: What Nutritionists Really Eat at a BBQ

From a nutritional standpoint, prime rib steak is higher in calories and fat. One serving (3 ounces, roasted) provides 290 calories, 19.2 grams of protein, 23.1 grams of fat and more than 100 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B12. It's also an excellent source of zinc, magnesium, iron and potassium.

A 3.5-ounce serving of grilled rib eye steak has only 186 calories. It boasts nearly 30 grams of quality protein, 7.6 grams of fat and 142 percent of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin B12. Due to its low fat content, it's a good choice for dieters and healthy eaters.

Is Red Meat Safe?

Whether you prefer rib eye or prime rib steak, enjoy it in moderation. According to a June 2017 review published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, red meat doesn't significantly raise the risk of heart disease when consumed in moderate amounts. This risk is largely associated with the fat and preservatives in meat. To stay safe, choose unprocessed, lean cuts and trim any visible fat.

Another review, featured in Experimental Biology and Medicine in April 2017, assessed the relationship between red meat consumption and colon cancer. As it turns out, there isn't enough evidence to confirm the association between the two. Most studies conducted so far have involved subjects who consumed large amounts of meat and few fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Some were conducted on animals, so it's hard to tell how their findings translate to humans.

As the World Health Organization notes, red meat is considered a potential carcinogenic. This classification, however, is based on limited evidence. The risk of colon cancer, heart disease and other illnesses increases with the amount of meat consumed. An occasional steak is unlikely to affect cardiovascular health or lead to cancer. Like with everything else, moderation is the key.

Cooking Prime Rib Steak

There is more than one way to cook a prime rib roast in the oven. Cook's Illustrated, for example, recommends choosing a cut consisting of ribs 10 to 12 as this area contains a single muscle. If you can't find one or it's too expensive, select a cut of meat consisting of ribs six to nine.

To prepare the meat, make shallow cuts in a criss-cross pattern. This will allow the seasonings to fully penetrate it and enhance its flavor. If you have a fatty cut, remove the fat with a sharp knife. Leave about 1/8 inch of the fat.

Next, add salt, pepper, herbs and spices. Rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme, Dijon mustard and garlic powder are all excellent choices. You may also add red wine and marinate the meat for a few hours or overnight before cooking it in the oven. Cook's Illustrated recommends rubbing the prime rib roast with 2 tablespoons of kosher salt and refrigerating it uncovered for at least one day to dry out its surface, which will result in even browning.

Cooking time depends largely on the size of the roast. As Cook's Illustrated points out, cooking the meat at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for three to four hours will make it tender. Turn off the oven, but leave the meat inside until its internal temperature reaches 120 to 125 degrees. This will further enhance its tenderness. Ideally, use a food thermometer.

Read more: Make-Ahead Steak Appetizer Platter

If you want to cook a single prime rib steak, simply cut the raw meat along the contours of the bones and follow the steps listed above.

For best browning, cook your prime rib steak without a lid. Once it's done, let it stand for 20 minutes or more so the juices can settle.

To carve the roast into perfect slices, cut the meat from the bones in one piece, advises Fine Cooking. Stand the roast up and remove it from the bones with a long slicing knife. Another option is to cut between the bones. Slice the roast and enjoy!

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