Best Prime Rib (Garlic Herb Crust)

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Are you ready for the BEST Prime Rib recipe? This is a no-fail, meltingly tender and juicy, garlic-crusted prime rib that will have all your guests swooning. This standing beef rib roast is perfect for Christmas and the holidays, or any special occasion worthy of a little splurge.

Prime rib sliced on a cutting board.

Prime rib (also known as standing rib roast) is up there next to turkey, honey baked ham, filet mignon and beef tenderloin in terms of intimidating recipes. It’s a big ‘ol chunk of meat that’s usually the centerpiece of a holiday meal. And let’s be honest, you don’t want to accidentally over cook it or mess it up, especially if you have guests over.

Adding to the intimidation…prime rib is also super pricey. But if you’ve enjoyed a perfectly roasted prime rib, you also know that it’s worth every penny for that beautiful, show-stopping piece of meat.

So let’s jump to the good news – it’s really easy to cook! Sure, you may find different cooking methods online, like a reverse sear, but I promise that if you stick with this simple, no-fail prime rib recipe you’ll get raving accolades all around. You know my motto, simple and foolproof is best.

Ingredients to make prime rib on a counter.

Prime Rib Ingredients

A cut of meat this good doesn’t need much. Heck, simple salt and pepper works just fine. But today, we’ll add a few garlic cloves and herbs for the ultimate flavorful crust.

  • Prime Rib: Grab a bone-in prime rib from your butcher. For details on picking the best one, keep reading below.
  • Butter: This helps the seasoning stick to the meat and crisps up the outside. You could also use ghee if you’re dairy-sensitive.
  • Herbs: Fresh rosemary and thyme pair beautifully with the garlic.
  • Salt: You need a good amount of this! And make sure to use kosher salt and not table salt. Kosher salt has a coarser grain and helps to add texture to the outside crust.
  • Pepper: Freshly cracked black pepper is best, if you have it.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

What Size Prime Rib to Buy?

The general rule of thumb is 1 pound of prime rib per person. But in my experience, that’s a lot of meat!  I think ¾ pound per person is a better estimate, or even ½ pound if you’re serving it up with a lot of sides. Here’s a general guideline:

  • For 6 people: get a 4 ½ pound prime rib
  • For 8 people: get a 6 pound prime rib
  • For 12 people: get a 9 pound prime rib

Bone-in Versus Boneless Prime Rib

You have the option of purchasing either a bone-in or boneless prime rib. Both work just fine in this recipe, though I personally prefer bone-in. The bones act as a natural rack, keeping the meat elevated when cooking, and they insulate the meat, keeping it extra juicy.

Pro Tip: Ask your butcher to cut the bones off, but then tie them back on! This gives you all the benefits of the bones with none of the work of having to slice them off. You just have to cut the string and remove the bones before serving. Super easy!

Cooked prime rib in a pan.

Prime Versus Choice Cut – Which is Better?

Don’t confuse the name prime rib with the grade of meat. Prime rib can come in prime or choice cuts. Prime cuts are the most expensive and have beautiful fat marbling (which translates to lots of delicious flavor!). Choice cuts have slightly less marbling, and are slightly cheaper.

Pro Tip: Most grocery stores only carry choice cuts, and often only on the weekends. If you want a prime cut it’s best to plan ahead, as you may have to order it from your butcher.

Equipment You’ll Need

All you need are three basic items for the perfect prime rib – an oven-safe pan or roasting tray, a thermometer, and a sharp knife.

  • Pan or Roasting Tray: I prefer a sturdy, oven-safe, cast-iron pan for this recipe (assuming my roast fits in the pan). Because then it’s really easy to make the au jus with the leftover juices in the pan on the stove. If you’re cooking a large roast though, you’ll likely need a larger roasting pan.
  • Thermometer: The most important thing to make the BEST prime rib is a thermometer. Nailing the right temperature is key! You can use a probe thermometer (that you’ll leave in the meat), an instant read thermometer, or a basic meat thermometer.
  • Knife: A good sharp knife is essential to those beautiful cuts. You could use either a carving knife or chef’s knife.

How to Cook Prime Rib

Remove the prime rib from the fridge. Let it come to room temperature for 2 to 3 hours before cooking.

Room temperature meat is key! To ensure the prime rib is cooked evenly it must be at room temperature before going into the oven. Otherwise, you’ll end up with well-done meat on the ends and raw meat in the middle, which is definitely not ideal. So remember to remove it from the fridge 2 to 3 hours before cooking.

Raw prime rib on a plate.

Make the garlic herb butter. Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C), then mix together the butter, herbs, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

Garlic herb butter mixed in a bowl.

Pat and coat. After the prime rib has come to room temperature, pat it down with a few paper towels to remove any moisture. Then slather it all over with the garlic herb butter mix.

Adding garlic herb butter to prime rib.

It’s time to roast it. Place the prime bones side down in an oven-safe pan or roasting pan. Place onion slices around the meat if you plan to make the red wine au jus (if not, you can omit them). Then roast the prime rib for 20 minutes at the high temperature, to sear the outside and create a crust. After you’ve seared the outside, reduce the temperature to 325°F (160°C), and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches your desired level of doneness (see chart below).

Prime rib in pan ready to be cooked.

Let it rest. Remove the prime rib from the oven and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes. You can tent it with aluminum foil to keep it warm.

Cooked prime rib in a pan on a table.

Slice it up. Remove the strings that are keeping the bones attached or slice the bones off the meat. Then, carve the prime rib into thick ½-inch slices and serve with the red wine au jus.

Sliced prime rib on a cutting board.

How Long to Cook Prime Rib

I’m cooking a 6 pound prime rib for this recipe, which will take about an hour and a half. Estimate 13 to 15 minutes per pound for medium-rare. If your prime rib is larger or smaller you’ll need to adjust the cook time. Here are a few estimates, but remember to always go by internal temperature, not time. Especially as all ovens cook slightly differently.

  • 2 ribs (4 to 5 pounds) – 60 to 70 minutes
  • 3 ribs (7 to 8½ pounds) – 1½ to 1¾ hours
  • 4 ribs (9 to 10½ pounds) – 1¾ to 2¼ hours

Standing Rib Roast Internal Temperature

It’s important to remember that there will be residual heat and carryover cooking, once you remove the prime rib from the oven. That means the internal temperature will continue to rise 7 to 10 degrees. So don’t overcook it! And always (always) let it rest, for 20 to 30 minutes.

  • Rare – remove at 110°F. Rested temp will be 117 to 120°F. Center is bright red, pinkish toward the outer edges.
  • Medium Rare – remove at 120°F. Rested temp will be 127 to 130°F. Center is very pink, slightly brown toward the outer edges.
  • Medium – remove at 130°F. Rested temp will be 137 to 140°F. Center is light pink, outer portion is brown.
  • Medium well – remove at 140°F. Rested temp will be 147 to 150°F. No pink.
  • Well – remove at 150°F. Rested temp will be 157 to 165°F.
Drizzling red wine au jus over a slice of prime rib.

Storage Tips

If you have leftovers after your dinner or party, not to worry, you can save them! You definitely don’t want this expensive cut of meat going to waste. You can turn leftovers into prime rib tacos (they’re amazingly good) or enjoy slices reheated with the sides mentioned below. Here’s how to store the meat:

  • In the fridge: If you have just a few slices and plan to eat it later that week, you can store leftovers in a sealed storage container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
  • In the freezer: If you have more leftovers than you can handle, freeze them! Let the meat cool completely. Then slice it up, place it in freezer safe bags, and squeeze all the air out. It’ll last for up to 3 months in the freezer.
  • To reheat: If the meat is frozen, thaw it in the fridge the day before you’d like to eat it. Then, just microwave it for a minute or two, until it’s warmed through.

What to Serve with Prime Rib

I always love a good potato and veggie side dish. Some of my favorite sides to serve with prime rib include:

And while I’m serving this prime rib with a red wine au jus, you could also serve it up with a homemade horseradish sauce. Either one is divine!

Your friends and family are going to be head over heels for this prime rib. If you make it this holiday season or serve it up for Christmas dinner, I’d love to hear what you and your loved ones think in a comment below!

Prime rib sliced on a cutting board.

Best No-Fail Prime Rib (Garlic Herb Crust)

4.97 from 146 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

This is the best prime rib recipe with a garlic herb crust – the perfect holiday standing rib roast. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!

Video

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

Prime Rib

  • 6 pounds prime rib, bone-in (with bones cut off and tied back on)
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 onion, quartered (if making the red wine au jus)

Red Wine Au Jus (Optional)

  • ¼ cup drippings from prime rib pan, make sure to separate the fat from the drippings
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 ½ cups red wine
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder (in a slurry) to thicken

Instructions 

Prime Rib

  • Remove the prime rib from the fridge 2 to 3 hours before cooking, and allow it to come to room temperature.
    Raw prime rib on a plate on a table.
  • Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C). In a small bowl, mix together the butter, garlic, salt, thyme, rosemary, and black pepper.
    Mixing garlic herb butter in a glass bowl for prime rib.
  • After the prime rib has come to room temperature, pat it down with paper towels to make sure it's dry. Then rub the entire outside of the prime rib with the herb butter mixture.
    Coating the prime rib with garlic herb butter.
  • Place the prime rib in an oven-safe pan or roasting tray with the bone-side down, fat-side up. Place the onion slices in the pan around the meat, if you're making the red wine au jus. If not, you can omit the onions.
    Prime rib with herb butter in a pan with onions.
  • Cook the prime rib in the center of the oven for 20 minutes at 450°F (230°C). It should get a nice sear on the outside. If not, cook it a few minutes longer. Then reduce the temperature of the oven to 325°F (160°C) and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 120°F (50°C), which takes about an hour and a half, for medium-rare. But go by temperature, not time, as it will depend on the size of your prime rib and your oven.
    Cooked prime rib in a pan.
  • Remove the prime rib from the oven and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes. You can tent it with aluminum foil to keep it warm. Then, remove the string and bones, and slice it up into thick ½-inch thick slices.
    Sliced prime rib on a cutting board.

Red Wine Au Jus

  • After you've removed the fat from the pan, add up to ¼ cup of drippings back in along with the beef broth and red wine. If you have leftover herbs, you can toss those in as well.
    Making red wine au jus in a pan.
  • Simmer this for about 15 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half. It's meant to be a thin sauce, but if you'd like to add a little bit of a thickener, you can do that as well. Strain the au jus to remove the onion and any browned bits, then drizzle over the prime rib.
    Straining the red wine au jus.

Lisa’s Tips

  • If you can, get your butcher to cut the bones off the prime rib, and tie them back on for you. It’s much easier to simply snip the string and remove them at the end!
  • Keep an eye on the internal temperature even while the prime rib is resting. If you rest it too long, the temperature may increase a bit too much.
  • For the red wine au jus, I recommend a fat separator, to ensure your sauce isn’t too greasy.

Nutrition

Calories: 1129kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 100g | Saturated Fat: 43g | Cholesterol: 225mg | Sodium: 1193mg | Potassium: 824mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 207IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 5mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: prime rib, prime rib recipe, rib roast, standing rib roast
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally posted December 2020, but updated to include new information for your benefit!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




285 Comments

  1. I finally made prime rib for this past (2023) Christmas. I was so excited and this recipe and cooking instruction made my first time nearly perfect and the only imperfections were my own fault and very minor.

    Since I bought it from a grocery store chain I didn’t have a butcher to cut the bones out and then retie it and I didn’t watch the video but next time I’ll do it myself, it looks easy enough, but this time it was bones attached. (Re-tying might take two pairs of hands which I didn’t have at the time (husband was busy).

    Except for removing and reattaching the bones I tried to followed this to a “T”. I thought it would be too salty but it was only salty on the outside which blended with the unsalty center nicely. I might add a bit more herbs next time, although they might burn. I had no trouble getting the butter to stick.

    Since I didn’t watch the video (I never do on recipe sites unless it’s involves some skill I’ve never utilized before) I didn’t know you were supposed to baste this to help form the crust, so I cooked it longer by quite a bit (maybe 15-20 minutes) until it got a good crust on the outside – and it still came out very medium rare, just like in the video (which I just watched on 2/24/24, two months after making it). I love rare meat and I thought this would scare some of my guests because it was still so rare in the center – but it was a hit.

    I also saw it was suggested to use a cast iron pan (again not looking at the video) so I used my somewhat newer seasoned black, non-enameled cast iron pan. I recommend using enameled cast iron because my au jus came out very black. Yes, it’s supposed to be dark, but people avoided the au jus – which was fine, because frankly it didn’t need it – but I used it because I love it. Next time I’ll cook it in an enameled cast iron pan.

    Other than that – fall apart tender, nice thick slices, medium rare, great crust. Everyone really enjoyed it. I also made an extremely tasty ham. People shut up when dinner was served which is always a good sign – not much talking, a lot of chewing and “yum” noises. And others were saying “I’m so full but I want more” and that’s what you want to hear – I was so happy.

    I’m going to keep this recipe in my repertoire and start buying it when it’s on sale. Nothing is better than a good roast. And I think I’ll start visiting some of our local butchers more often – this roast was excellent but grocery store meats are lacking in general. A friend recently got a great price on prime rib roasts and cut most of the up into steaks which isn’t a bad idea.5 stars

    1. Hi Lisa – Thanks so much for leaving a review and I’m glad that your prime rib turned out great despite some small tweaks!

  2. It’s better to say 2 pounds per person the more meat the better there is no such thing as to much meat per person

  3. This was my first time making prime rib. It came out perfectly (even though my thermometer died mid-cook!) and wowed everyone at the table. I paired it with the garlic herb potatoes and horseradish sauce and mmmm … pure deliciousness!

      1. I made this for our NYE dinner. I had a 3 rib, 6 lb prime rib. I would suggest using the 3x ingredient for herbed butter rub. Everyone’s oven is different. I cooked for 90 min after the sear. My oven still needed another 5 min. Make sure you have a working meat thermometer. It helps. I bought a digital one from Amazon a couple of years ago.
        Prime rib turned out amazing and we enjoyed our NYE dinner tremendously. Served with roasted brussel sprouts and garlic mashed potatoes.
        I will use this recipe again.5 stars

      2. Thanks so much, Tamara! I’m thrilled you loved this recipe. It sounds like you nailed it! Happy New Year!

  4. My son and I made this for Christmas he got the prime rib from his job. I never made one before. Followed the directions it turned out perfect. My family is still talking about how delicious it was.5 stars

  5. It was a disaster! I followed instructions exactly. I had a eight pound prime with ribs. Seared at 450 for 25 min. Reduced heat to 325 and cooked for one hour 45 min. My thermometer wasn’t working so I went by time. Way too rare, and threw off timing for my entire meal. Never again!3 stars

    1. Sorry to hear about your undercooked prime rib, Carol. Unfortunately, a thermometer is a must (as mentioned several times in the recipe post above), because all ovens cook slightly differently. Hopefully your next prime rib turns out beautifully!

  6. First time for me making prime rib so I was nervous with such a large expensive piece of meat. This recipe was so easy to follow and came out perfectly, delicious, juicy and looked amazing too (although I did not take any pics). I had a 9 pound roast so adjust time accordingly. I used a tack in my roaster pan and there were plenty of juices if I wanted to make a gravy. Loved it, got
    Compliments from every guest. Recommend!!!5 stars

  7. The recipe is absolutely perfect! We’ve been following a recipe for ages, and it never came out right – it didn’t have enough detail, it just told us how long to cook the roast depending on the number of ribs it had, and turn off the oven for two hours – always overdone – it didn’t give the explanation you provided- thank you! i pulled it out of the oven at 120, as well as keeping an eye on the internal temperature – it was absolutely perfect. You made our Christmas dinner the best!5 stars

    1. Yay, I’m so thrilled to hear that! A perfectly cooked prime rib is the best. I’m happy you and your family enjoyed it, Mary!

  8. Made it for Christmas Day dinner for myself and my husband. Amazing recipe and added a few extra steps. First step I did was sear the roast in my cast iron skillet with spices and smoked paprika. Second, I added carrots, celery , and some springs of thyme, rosemary and sage to the onion to cook with the prime rib. And lastly, I used my Immersion blender to blend the onion, carrots, and celery into a paste and added that to the Au Jus sauce. Amazing and husband loved it!5 stars

  9. I made this recipe for my family for Christmas! It was definitely a show stopper! Loved by all! We paired it with mashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, and a bitter greens soufflé.

    Thank you so much! Loved the recipe!

    Only change we made was that we salted and rested the meat in the fridge open air for 3 days to help *dry* it out.5 stars

  10. Delicious! Christmas dinner for me and my family, so happy I can across this recipe! Will be on my menu for Christmas every year!5 stars

  11. This is the third time I made this prime rib recipe, it is the best I found.
    Every time I make this I get rave reviews.
    Thank you for sharing this recipe!5 stars

      1. it finished too soon. i would cook more at 200. last year i used my slow cooker. we have a smaller slab, it didn’t take as long as a slow cooker. we somehow didn’t receive our Rosemary at the store so we did without which still tasted good. i felt even 300 degrees was too hot so i did lower than recipe and it still finished too early.

  12. Now I’m getting nervous about having a sixteen and half pound roast to cook. I really would prefer not to cut it in half but cook it in one piece. How long would needed to be roasted. I would like a second opinion on length of roasting

    1. My 10 pound roast will take about 4 hours. You don’t really go by time, but by temperature. You need to keep a thermometer in the roast while it’s cooking. But it’s something like 20ish minutes per pound.

  13. Made this tonight for Christmas Eve dinner with my kids, it was a very good recipe & I will follow this recipe again!5 stars

  14. Such an amazing recipe. This is being made right now in my oven. It’s our Christmas Eve dinner tonight for only two.5 stars

  15. Hi! Was wondering if you would give me the math for doing a 2 lb prime rib? It’s just for me and plan on making it for NYE. I don’t know the ratios of the butter for the crust for 2 lbs. Thank in advance.

  16. I’ve made multiple recipes for prime rib and have also ruined many. There’s no recipe out there better than yours, fool proof, delicious and very juicy. Always perfect, fool proof! Thank you for sharing.5 stars

  17. Just getting around to telling you about my bone in standing prime rib roast. OMG‼️Your receipe for it was fantastic. It was to die for. Followed like you said. The only thing I had to do was double the amount of garlic,butter,herb salt spread. The roast was 14 pds.
    It turned out perfect in my new all Chad roasting pan. I also made the
    Garlic mash potatoes and horseradish radish recipe
    Thank you so much
    Now am trying your honey baked ham glaze recipe and cheesy scallops potatoes for Christmas Eve‼️5 stars

    1. Wonderful! I’m so thrilled you loved this prime rib recipe, Betty! Sounds like a perfect combo with the mashed potatoes and horseradish sauce. Enjoy the ham and scalloped potatoes as well!

  18. Last year for Christmas, I used this recipe to make my prime rib (along with the horseradish sauce and roasted potatoes) and it was perfect! I am making it again this year and can’t wait! My jaw is already tingling when I think about the flavors and the tender beef. Many thanks for your excellent teaching and guidance!5 stars

  19. Ok so I have a best of a boneless prime rib… its approximately 15 lbs. Is it best to cut it in half for 2 average roasts? How should I go about cooking it? Thanks

    1. Hi Steph – while you can certainly cook it as one piece, I would probably cut it in half and then cook. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Debbie – Estimate 13 to 15 minutes per pound for medium-rare. So, for an 8-pound prime rib, it would need between 1½ to 1¾ hours.

  20. Hello. This looks lovely. I have a 2.5 (1 lb) prime rib, with bone, I purchased from the butcher yesterday to cook for hubby’s birthday tonight. Will your recipe work if the roast is small, i.e. for two? Thanks so much!

      1. We love prime rib but I’ve never cooked it. I am
        Cooking it using your recipe for Christmas. Wish me luck.

  21. This looks so good. I am going to fix it on Christmas day. I will let you know how it turns out. Thank you for your recipies

  22. I’ve tried many different recipes for standing rib roast this by far is the best . Will use this one again.. made the made there’d wine Aujus it was great.5 stars

  23. I recently made this prime rib. It was so easy to do and it came out flawlessly. It was absolutely one of the best prime rib’s I’ve ever made. Thanks5 stars

  24. Really delicious and easy. I didn’t have fresh herbs and so used dried – still delicious.
    Thank you for a great recipe!5 stars

  25. Made this tonight and it came out perfectly. I cooked mine to 125⁰F internally because we like it in between medium and medium rare. Even after having the roast sit for 4 hours it wasn’t really room temp, so the butter was a little bit challenging, but I got it to mostly stick.

    I like many others didn’t have much in the way of drippings, but I still successfully made a delicious jus. Instead, after removing the roast, I heated the 1.5 cups of wine in the pan and brought it to a boil, then poured in the broth and simmered until there was about 2 cups of liquid left. Then I poured it all into a fat separator and had about 1.5-1.75 cups of jus after separation. Tasted wonderful and you don’t need an expensive wine. I use Winking Owl Cabernet Sauvignon from Aldi.5 stars

    1. I’m happy you loved this prime rib and that it came out perfectly! Thanks for sharing your notes on the jus, and yes, you definitely don’t need an expensive wine. Enjoy!

  26. I had some prime rib over the weekend but it was nowhere near as good as Lisa’s. I going to have to make this again now to satisfy my taste buds.5 stars

    1. You can find the exact measurements in the recipe card! It’ll be 2 cups beef broth and 1.5 cups red wine. But I also add pan drippings and a bit of arrowroot powder.

    2. Question, I am going to make this for Christmas for a small family gathering, but we all like different temps, most run on the medium side. How would you handle this? Also, can I place the prime rib in an oven roaster or better to use the oven? Thank you in advance!

      1. For a medium-cooked prime rib, remove it when it reaches 130°F. The rested temperature should be between 137 to 140°F.

  27. Made this for my brother’s Birthday dinner. Was absolutely DELICIOUS!! I will Always use this recipe! Came out so incredibly flavorful and juicy. I bought a Meat oven-safe thermometer and with that no more Raw or over-cooked prime rib dinners. Excellent recipe!! Mine was 13#,s so I let it sit out for 3 1/2 hours to get to room temperature. Again! ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS RECIPE!!5 stars

    1. I’m happy to hear this prime rib recipe worked out perfectly for your brother’s birthday dinner, Maureen!

  28. After recently making both this prime rib recipe and your beef tenderloin it’s a toss up on which one I love more. They’re both superb! Highly recommend them both!!5 stars

  29. Excellent. I altered the recipe slightly I increased garlic to 8 gloves and used a mix of Salted butter and garlic butter. I seared the roast for 35 minutes before turning the oven down to 250 degrees for 2 hours.5 stars

  30. Reverse sear is way BETTER. Your way renders the meat overcooked on about an inch thick (or more). Reverse sear offers medium-rare all the way… with only a burnt crust (which is what people want). Put your beast in an oven at around 220 F for about 4 – 6 hours (depending of its total weight). Let it rest… and then put your oven at its maximum (500 – 550 F) for 5 – 10 minutes. This is the way for the best Prime Rib. On a positive note: The recipe of your rub is perfect.

    1. Hi Mario – thanks for sharing your feedback! A reverse sear is a great approach as well. I hope to add another recipe for that option in the future. :)