Charcoal Smoked 3 Bone Prime Rib


The ‘reverse’ here refers to the sear method. Cooking the roast removing it then putting it back on over direct flames. opposite to the norm. Serve this roast paired with some roasted veggies, mashed potatoes and a side of horse radish. Note: the recipe was developed and tested on The Big Green Egg brand of charcoal grill/smoker. Most charcoal grills are similar; vents and lids differ but have the same purpose. Always refer to the user manual for light up, heating instructions and indirect-heat and direct-heat cooking for your grill. To use a gas grill, see the alternate method below.

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Charcoal Smoked 3 Bone Prime Rib


  • 1 2-4 bone prime rib roast
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp montreal steak spice


  1. Apply sea salt over roast and let stand 5 minutes then rub with olive oil. Apply Montreal steak spice liberally rubbing it into the meat. If the roast feels loose you can tie it a few times with butcher twine to keep its shape.
  2. Load fire bowl of kamado-style grill with natural lump charcoal in an even 2-inch (5 cm) thick layer. Light the charcoal with a paper towel in the coals or charcoal-safe fire starter and place the diffuser plate in the fire bowl. Fill a foil drip pan part way with water, adding herb sprigs (if using) and place on the plate (see Tip). Place the grill grate over the diffuser plate. Close lid and preheat to Low (250°F/121°C), adjusting the top and bottom vent to achieve this constant temperature.
  3. Bring roast to the grill. Place the roast on preheated grill, insert an oven-safe programmable thermometer sideways into steak and close the lid. Cook for about 3 hours or until thermometer registers 125°F.
  4. Transfer partially-cooked roast to a clean plate and set aside. Remove the diffuser plate and drip pan; lower the grill grate closer to the charcoal for high-temperature, direct-heat grilling. Brush the grate clean and close the lid. Adjust vents as necessary to heat to a temperature of about 600°F (315°C); this should take about 2 to 5 minutes.
  5. Return roast to grill, close lid and sear over high heat for 3 to 5 minutes per side or until thermometer registers 145°F (63° C) for medium-rare (or 160°F/71°C for medium, or 170°F/77°C for well-done). Remove the roast from the grill and place it directly into the plate. Let rest for 20 to 30  minutes.


  1. Gently tent the roast with tinfoil to retain a small amount of heat but allow the steam to exit.
  2. Transfer roast to a cutting board and carve between the bones in 1 inch slices. Set aside.
  3. To Serve: Place roast slab on side of plate, add your sides and drizzle with horse radish or gravy if you had made some.


Gas Grilling Method: You can use the reverse-sear method in a three-burner gas grill, too! Simply turn on the two end burners, leaving the centre burner off; place drip tray over unlit burner. This is your indirect heat zone, where you’ll put your roast. Turn the end burners to low heat and preheat grill to 250°F (121°C). Cook roast in closed barbecue over unlit burner for about 3 hours or until thermometer registers 135°F (57°C). Remove the roast and drip pan from the grill. Turn all burners to High and preheat for about 10 minutes, until the grill is 600°F (315°C). Return roast to grill, close lid and sear over high heat for 3-5 minutes per side or until thermometer registers 145°F (63° C) for medium-rare (or 160°F/71°C for medium, or 170°F/77°C for well-done).



The drip pan with water under the steak provides moisture during grilling and including hearty herbs in the drip-pan water permeates the air inside the grill with an herbaceous aroma, adding a subtle nuanced flavour to the beef.


If you have a half-moon plate/griddle diffuser accessory for your barbecue, cook roast over the diffuser for the indirect heat cook, and then transfer roast to side directly over the coals to sear and complete the cooking. If you don’t have any type of diffuser, push the charcoal to one side and place the drip pan under the grill on the other side for indirect-heat cooking. When ready to sear, move the roast over to the live coal side of the grill.

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