We wanted a great crust from our prime rib recipe, without the mess and without setting off the smoke detectors, so we moved the proceedings outside. First, we seared the fat-covered side (to minimize flare-ups, we had the butcher trim the fat layer down to a thin 1/8 inch), then we moved the roast to the cooler side of the grill. To get crispiness from our prime rib recipe, we applied a dry salt rub to the roast three hours before grilling. This drew out moisture from just below the surface, allowing for faster evaporation once we began searing.
1first-cut3- or 4-rib beef standing rib roast, meat removed from bones, bones reserved, exterior fat trimmed to 1/8 inch (see note above)
Ground black pepper
Kitchen twine for tying roastcut into four or six 2 1/2-foot lengths, (depending on number of bones)
1small disposable aluminum pan
Rub roast with oil and season generously with pepper. Spread salt on rimmed baking sheet; press roast into salt to coat evenly on all sides. Tie meat back onto bones exactly from where it was cut, passing two lengths of twine between each set of bones and knotting securely. Refrigerate roast, uncovered, for 1 hour, then let stand at room temperature 2 additional hours.
Soak 2 cups wood chips in water for 30 minutes; drain. Place wood chips in small disposable aluminum pan; set aside. About 20 minutes before grilling, ignite grill, turn all burners to high, cover, and heat until very hot, about 15 minutes. Scrape grate clean with grill brush.
Turn off all but the primary burner (burner that will remain on during cooking). Place roast on grate over primary burner and sear on fat-covered sides until well browned, turning as needed, 8 to 10 minutes total. (If flare-ups occur, move roast to cooler side of grill until flames die down.) When thoroughly browned, transfer roast to cooler side of grill, bone side down, with tips of bones pointed away from fire. Place pan with soaked wood chips over primary burner. Cover grill, positioning top vent over roast to draw smoke through grill. Grill-roast between 225 and 250 degrees (do not remove lid for at least 1 1/2 hours) until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of roast reads 125 degrees for medium-rare, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Transfer roast to cutting board and let rest 20 minutes, lightly tented with foil. Remove strings and bones, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices, and serve.
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