Difference between Prime Rib and Standing Rib Roast

Generally, prime rib and standing rib roast refer to the same cut of beef. However, there is a distinction between the two cuts, which we will examine in the following article.


standing rib roast
Prime Rib vs Standing Rib Roast (Image courtesy: doublejcuts.com)

Standing rib roast is taken from the rib section of a cow (one of the eight basic cuts made of ribs 6 through 12 in the classic beef’s cutting scheme). This cut can be anywhere between 2 to 7 ribs.

smoked prime rib
Smoked prime rib (Image courtesy: www.foodnetwork.com)

The United States Department of Agriculture is responsible for a grading system for different types of meat cuts. According to this system, a standing rib roast can be sold as prime rib only when it has achieved a “Prime” grade, which is distinct for having the fattest marbling. This beef is the most tender; it accounts for only around 3 percent of all beef on the market. Also known as “U.S. Prime,” it is reserved for high end restaurants; it is also the most expensive cut on the market.

We offer you a recipe of slow roasted prime rib roast.


  • 3-bone standing beef rib (6 to 8 lbs). It is best to use a piece with a layer of fat on the outside. It is also better to use a piece cut from the loin end, not the shoulder end, because the latter tends to be less tender.
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons pepper
  • 4 chopped garlic cloves


  1. Rinse the roast under cold water and pat it with a towel. Cut the roast along the bones (you will see them exposed), so the meat comes off in one piece. Rub the salt, the pepper, and the garlic into the meat, all over.
  2. Tie the meat pieces together with pieces of spring. Put the meat in a pan; put it into a refrigerator for one night. This will make the roast crispier and tastier in the end.
  3. The next day, take the meat out, and let it sit at  room temperature for around 1 hour. This will help to cook it more evenly.
  4. Place the roast into the rack of a roasting pan. Put it into an oven. Make the temperature 200 degrees Fahrenheit, so the meat will cook slowly to the perfectly medium rare. Cook it for 4 to 6 hours.
  5. When the roast is ready, take it out, cover it with  foil and let it rest for 30 minutes – 1 hour. This will help redistribute the juices. At this point you will see that on the outside the roast is pale, and the fat looks flabby, which makes the meat not perfectly delicious looking. To remedy that, you have to blast the roast right before serving it:  turn the oven up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit while the roast is resting. Crumple the foil into a bunch and place it under the roast in order to expose the lower area of the roast. Put it in the oven and roast it for 8-10 minutes, until a dark brown crust forms.
  6. Take the roast out, cut the strings out, and the meat is ready to carve. At the end you will get a perfect medium rare roast with a nice crust on the outside. It’s a perfect dish for a holiday occasion.

Prime Rib Roast vs Standing Rib Roast

What is the difference between Prime Rib Roast and Standing Rib Roast?

  • Prime rib roast is a standing rib roast that has achieved the “prime” grade from the USDA. However, some think the “prime” part of the term was relevant even before the USDA came up with their classification. It simply referred to a superior cut of beef.
  • Prime rib roast is the vaguer term of the two. It can refer to a steak that has been sliced from the roast, or to a whole roast. Standing rib roast, on the other hand, is a precise term. Also, one can cut several prime rib pieces from a single standing rib roast.

Comparison chart

Prime Rib Roast Standing Rib Roast
Has achieved “prime” grade from the USDA Has not achieved “prime” grade from the USDA
The term can refer to a variety of cuts Is a more precise term
Is more expensive The price varies
Is taken from standing rib roast Is a base for prime rib roast