A standing rib roast is a cut of beef from the rib section, which is one of the eight primal cuts of beef. The entire rib section comprises ribs six through twelve of the animal; a standing rib roast can comprise anywhere from two to seven ribs. It is given the name “standing” because it is most often roasted in a standing position, that is, with the ribs stacked vertically and the vertebral processes on the bottom. An alternative is to cook with the rib bones on the bottom and the vertebral processes removed for easier carving. A standing rib roast, if sliced when uncooked, would yield a number of rib steaks. Rib eye steaks result from removing the bones and most of the fat and lesser muscles (tail).
A colloquial and popular term for this cut is “prime rib”. Historically, this name stands out regardless of the grade. In addition, the USDA acknowledges this historical note by not requiring the cut “to be derived from USDA prime grade beef”. The technical name, per URMIS (Uniform Retail Meat Industry Standards), is “Beef Rib Roast”.
A slice of standing rib roast will include portions of the so-called “eye” of the rib as well as the outer, fat-marbled muscle (spinalis dorsali) known as the “lip” or “cap”.
The traditional preparation for a standing rib roast is to rub the outside of the roast with salt and seasonings and slow-roast with dry heat. In the United States, it is common for barbecue purists to apply smoke to the uncooked rib roast at low heat for 2-3 hours before dry roasting.
In the United Kingdom, Yorkshire pudding is frequently served as a side dish with prime rib. In many restaurants specializing in prime rib, several entire roasts (of varying degrees of doneness) will be placed on a large, heated cart, and carved at tableside. This style of service can be found throughout the Lawry’s chain, Morton’s of Chicago, as well as at independent establishments such as San Francisco’s House of Prime Rib.
In the United States, the standing rib roast has NAMP classifications 109 through 112D.