“Optimus” Prime Rib

I hadn’t had prime rib in a long time. The last time had to be at my mom’s house, but have no idea how long it had been. Probably years. I made a comment to Kim that we should do prime rib on the smoker, since it was a low-and-slow kind of a cook, so there had to be some good recipes out there.

I spent a bit of time searching and there’s all kinds of stuff. I settled on one recipe, Mad Max’s Prime Rib, for reasons that are obvious to anyone who knows where Rocketansky, my company’s name, came from and the fact that I had actually stumbled on a bag of Jack Daniels Whiskey barrel oak wood chips earlier that week. It’s like fate was telling me something.

I edited the Mad Max recipe, since I can’t have garlic, and added the mustard rub to keep all the seasonings in place. I’ve therefore named my Prime creation accordingly.


  • Mustard. I’ve used plain old yellow mustard, which works fine, but some horseradish deli mustard takes it to a whole new level. Highly recommended.
  • Enough coarse kosher salt to cover the roast. Just sprinkle liberally.
  • Enough coarse black pepper to cover the roast. Just sprinkle liberally.
  • A couple sprigs of rosemary. Chop them roughly and sprinkle liberally.


Coat the roast with mustard. I hate the smell of mustard and it gets everywhere. If you can delegate this to your wife then bonus! We did not put the rosemary under the fat cap as Mad Max did.

Sprinkle salt, pepper, and the chopped rosemary on all sides of the roast. See picture below for the chips and the roast right before it went in.

Roast covered in salt, pepper, chopped rosemary, and mustard.

Fire the grill up, indirect heat with the deflectors in, and get it set for about 275-300 degrees F. Use the JD oak chips liberally mixed in with the charcoal.

When the temp on the roast hits your desired doneness, then pull it off the grill, and remove the heat deflectors. Crank the grill to about ~500 degrees F and let the roast char. You can see my temperature chart at the end of this post and the vertical orange line on the ride side, at the temp drop, is when I pulled it from the direct heat and let it rest. Hindsight 20/20, I would have pulled it off the indirect heat sooner and let it char longer over the direct heat.

Cook the roast until about 110°F/43°C for rare, 120°F/49°C for medium rare and 130°F/55°C degrees for medium. It will climb a few degrees when you pull it off the grill so make sure to account for that. A 5.5 lb roast took a little over 3 hours before it was ready to char and we ended up with a medium-rare pink-throughout roast (which is where I was aiming).

Slice and carve as desired. We paired it with some baked potatoes, Woodford, and an au jus Kim made up.

Freaking perfection. Nailed it on the first try.

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