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Standing Rib Roast - Salt & Pepper

Originally posted: 12/01/2007
Last updated: 09/26/2014

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  • Buy a whole 7-bone standing rib roast. If necessary, remove a portion so it fits on the WSM cooking grate.
  • Season the roast and smoke at 350-370°F.
  • Cook to an internal temperature of 130°F for medium rare.
  • Cover loosely with foil and let rest 15-30 minutes before carving.
Standing rib roast, seasoned with kosher salt and pepper
Standing rib roast, seasoned with kosher salt and pepper
Interior of standing rib roast after cooking
Interior of medium-rare standing rib roast after cooking

Standing rib roast is a great holiday treat that's easy to prepare and will feed an army of hungry family and friends. Why not splurge and give it a try this year in your Weber Bullet? All you need to do it tie the meat, apply salt and pepper, and you're ready to go.

Here are some pictures I took when I prepared this roast on November 23, 2007.

As on any of the pictures to view a larger image.

Purchase & Prepare The Whole Standing Rib Roast

Whole, 7-bone standing rib roast with 1 bone portion removed
Photo 1
Tied roast
Photo 2

Many whole 7-bone standing rib roasts are too large to fit on the WSM cooking grate. When shopping for a roast, bring along a measuring tape and try to buy one that measures 17" or less diagonally. Otherwise, you will have to cut off part of the roast. If you go this route, remove 1 bone's worth of meat from the end with the shortest bones. This leaves the best meat intact as part of the larger roast. The portion removed can be cooked alongside the roast or saved for grilling another day.

Photo 1 shows an 18.11 pound, USDA Choice, 7-bone whole standing rib roast bone-side up. It was too large for the WSM, so I removed the portion shown on the right.

Photo 2 shows the now 6-bone roast turn meat-side up and tied with kitchen twine at each bone.

  • When buying a bone-in rib roast, figure on 1 to 1-1/4 pounds pre-cooked weight per serving.
  • Buy a roast with the rib bones attached. They provide better flavor and act as a natural roasting rack.
  • Tie the roast at each bone. This prevents the outer layer of meat from pulling away from the rib eye. Place the roast bone-side down. Cut a length of kitchen twine, loop it around the roast parallel to the first bone, bringing the two ends to the top of the roast. Pull snug and tie with whatever kind of knot you like, then repeat at each bone.
  • Don't bother cutting the ribs off and tying them back on before cooking. They're easily removed once the roast is cooked.

To learn more about standing rib roasts, see the Standing Rib Roast Selection & Preparation article.

This video demonstrates how to tie a roast. Click on the video to play.

Season The Roast

Roast seasoned with salt & pepper mixture
Photo 3

Standing rib roast is such a fine cut of meat that it needs nothing more than salt and pepper before cooking. Sometimes the simplest preparations are the most delicious.

Salt & Pepper Standing Rib Roast Seasoning
4 Tablespoons kosher salt
2 Tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper
Mix the ingredients thoroughly. Use cracked pepper, not finely ground pepper.

Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Brush all sides (except the bones) with a light coat of olive oil or vegetable oil, then sprinkle heavily with the salt/pepper mixture. Pat with your fingers to help the cracked pepper adhere to the meat.

Cover loosely with Saran Wrap and let sit at room temperature while you fire-up the cooker.

Select The Smoke Wood

Three chunks of oak smoke wood
Photo 4

Use 3 chunks of oak smoke wood. Each chunk should be about the size of your fist. Pecan, apple, or another mild fruit wood can be used if oak is not available.

There is no need to soak the wood or remove the bark before use.

I used 3 chunks of oak as shown in Photo 4.

Fire The Cooker

Fire-up the cooker using the Standard Method. Fill a Weber Chimney Starter with Kingsford charcoal briquettes and light. When hot, spread the coals evenly in the charcoal chamber. Spread another chimney full of unlit charcoal over the lit ones; once all the coals are good and hot, you're ready to cook.

If you happen to have 2 chimney starters, fire-up both simultaneously, dump both into the charcoal chamber when hot, and begin to cook immediately.

Wrap the water pan with aluminum foil and put it in the cooker without water to catch the large quantity of drippings that will come off the meat during cooking.

Smoke The Roast

Roast with probe thermometer goes into WSM
Photo 5

Assemble the cooker and put the roast bone-side down on the top cooking grate. Insert a probe thermometer into the center of the roast to monitor internal meat temperature during cooking.

Set the 3 bottom vents to 100% open. Open the top vent fully and leave it that way throughout the entire cook.

The cooker temperature may jump up to 400°F or higher. Let it run as hot as it wants to for 30 minutes, then set the 3 bottom vents to 50% open. Watch as the temperature gradually declines...anything in the 350-370°F range measured at the lid is fine. If the temperature drops below 350°F, open the bottom vents more to bring the cooker temp back up.

Cook the meat to an internal temperature of 130°F for medium rare.

There's no need to turn and baste the roast during cooking.

Here's how the cooker and internal meat temperatures went during the cooking process.

Time Lid Temp Meat Temp Vent 1 % Vent 2 % Vent 3 %
3:15pm - 39 100 100 100
3:25pm 425 - 100 100 100
3:35pm 405 - 100 100 100
3:45pm 400 44 50 50 50
4:00pm 370 50 50 50 50
4:15pm 367 57 50 50 50
4:30pm 363 66 50 50 50
4:45pm 363 75 50 50 50
5:00pm 361 84 50 50 50
5:15pm 350 91 50 50 50
5:30pm 347 100 50 50 50
5:45pm 337 107 100 100 100
6:00pm 350 113 100 100 100
6:15pm 357 120 100 100 100
6:30pm 355 127 100 100 100
6:40pm 355 131 100 100 100

Note that the vent percentages represent the way I set the vents at the time indicated.

Rest, Carve & Serve The Roast

Finished roast comes out of WSM
Photo 6
Interior view of medium rare meat
Photo 7

When the roast reaches the desired internal temperature, remove it from the cooker, transfer it bone-side down to a rimmed sheet pan, and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let the meat rest for 15-30 minutes before carving.

For easier handling, divide the roast into two halves by cutting between bones 3 and 4. Cut and remove the kitchen twine from each half.

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To remove the bones, roll half of the roast onto its side so the ends of the bones are pointing straight up, and using a sharp boning knife—or better yet, a good electric knife—cut downward close to the bones to remove them. A picture of cutting the bones from a standing rib roast can be found in the Prime Rib - Herb Crusted article.

Carve the boneless roast into 1/2" slices or to your liking. Cut the bones into individual pieces and serve them along with the roast...or save them for yourself!

Photo 6 shows the roast right after coming out of the WSM. Photo 7 shows the medium rare interior after resting for 30 minutes.

This roast had a dark, crusty exterior that was very well seasoned and intensely flavored. The oak wood provided just the right amount of smoky goodness and a 1/8" smoke ring. Of course, the meat was very tender and juicy, and shown in the photo.

Bonus: Horseradish Cream Sauce

Here's an easy horseradish sauce to serve with this standing rib roast.

Horseradish Cream Sauce
From Cook's Illustrated magazine

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Whisk the heavy cream for 1-2 minutes until thickened but not yet holding soft peaks. Fold in horseradish, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate 30-60 minutes before serving.

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