Have you ever cooked a delicious prime rib and then discovered that you need to keep it warm, rather than serving it directly? This is frustrating, because if you keep cooking the meat, it will turn tough and lose its juiciness, but if you let it go cold, it will be unpleasant. Let’s look at how to keep it hot and ready to eat.
How do you keep prime rib warm? You can keep prime rib warm in a warm oven, or by wrapping it in layers of foil to trap the heat inside the meat. Some restaurants will keep prime rib warm by placing slices in the warmer, but this isn’t possible in most residential kitchens, and could also result in overcooked meat that nobody enjoys.
How Do You Keep Prime Rib Warm?
The best way to keep prime rib warm is to keep it wrapped in foil and place it in a warm oven. You can do either of these things individually and it will help to keep the temperature high, but a combination of the methods will work best.
Heat is lost from the meat to the air as soon as you remove it from the oven, and a piece of meat can cool on the outside surprisingly quickly. The air will keep pulling the heat away from it, because the meat is not insulated. This is where the foil comes in.
Aluminum foil is highly insulating and will help to hold the warmth in the meat well, trapping a close pocket of warm air around it. Although some heat will be lost, this can be a surprisingly effective way to keep the meat warm.
You can increase the effectiveness of this method by creating several layers, too. Most of the heat will be lost from the gap where the foil edges meet, so try to wrap the next piece so that this join is situated in a different place. Wrap the meat in opposite directions and add several layers to reduce heat loss.
Next, place the prime rib in a warm oven. Notably less heat will be lost if the environment is also warm. However, you don’t want to put it into a hot oven, so be careful. The lowest temperature of your oven is usually the best – this tends to be around 200 degrees F.
Keep the meat in the oven and wrapped in foil until you are ready to serve it. This will minimize the heat loss as much as possible without resulting in the prime rib getting dried out. However, be aware that it will still be constantly cooling, so the sooner you can serve it, the better.
What Happens If You Leave Prime Rib in the Oven?
If you don’t take the prime rib out of the oven when it is cooked, you run the risk of overcooking or even burning it. Prime rib is usually cooked at temperatures between 300- and 500-degrees F and leaving it at this kind of temperature once it has finished cooking will ruin the meat.
The juices will run out of it, getting evaporated by the oven’s temperature and leaving the flesh dry and unpleasant. The meat will also turn chewier as a result of being drier, and if you were aiming for rare or even medium-rare, you won’t get it.
The inside of the meat will cook fully, spoiling the flavor and texture. You will end up with well-done or overcooked meat, and when you’re cooking something as expensive and luxurious as prime rib, you need to avoid this if possible!
What About the Resting Time?
When you take a prime rib out of the oven, you usually allow it to rest for around half an hour before you serve it. This helps the juices to redistribute themselves throughout the meat and prevents them from being lost when you cut the prime rib open, ensuring it is tender and succulent.
This resting time can be completed in the oven in a similar way to keeping the meat warm. To rest the meat, heat your oven to somewhere around 200 degrees F (or lower if your oven has this option). Leave the meat in the pan it was cooked in and create a tent out of foil to keep the hot air in around the meat.
Place the pan back in the oven and set your timer for 30 minutes. At the end of this time, you can get the meat out if you are ready to serve it or leave it in the oven for longer to keep it warm.
Extra Tip: Use Hot Plates
If you serve prime rib onto cold plates, they will immediately suck some of the heat out of the meat and chill its exterior. This can make a surprising difference, as plates can be cold, even if they are kept in a kitchen cupboard. You should therefore avoid this by heating the plates first.
Many plates can be placed in the oven to warm before you serve the meal. You may be able to put them in while you are resting the meat, taking the chill off them. This will help to reduce the amount of heat that they will pull from the prime rib when it is served onto them.
It will also keep other parts of the meal nice and hot. On its own, it won’t be sufficient to keep prime rib warm, but it’s one extra trick for ensuring that the meat is still hot when it reaches the table, and that none of your guests are eating cold or lukewarm meat.
Make sure that your plates are oven-safe before you do this, however, as some plates may shatter if they are heated. If you don’t think they are oven-safe, consider immersing them in some hot water and then drying them and serving the meal.
Check out our article on how to thaw a prime rib.
You can keep prime rib warm by wrapping it in foil and placing it in a warm oven until you are ready to serve it. This won’t keep it hot forever but should help to keep the temperature high without the risk of overcooking the meat and turning it rubbery and unpleasant.