- 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
- 3/4 cup coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 head of garlic, peeled
- 1/2 cup rosemary
- 2 tablespoons chile powder
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- One 15- to 16-pound prime rib roast (6 bones)
- In a food processor, combine the salt, pepper, garlic cloves, rosemary and chile powder and process until fine. Add the olive oil and pulse to form a paste. Place the prime rib roast on a cutting board, bone-side up and rub with 1 tablespoon of the salt paste. Transfer the meat to a large roasting pan and pack the salt paste all over the fatty surface, pressing to help it adhere. Let the prime rib stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 450°. Roast the prime rib for 1 hour, until the crust is slightly darkened. Lower the oven temperature to 300° and roast for about 2 hours and 15 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the roast (not touching the bone) registers 135°. Transfer the roast to a large carving board and let the meat rest for 30 minutes.
- Carefully lift the salt crust off the meat and transfer to a bowl. Brush away any excess salt. To remove the roast in one piece while keeping the rib rack intact, run a long sharp carving knife along the bones, using them as your guide. Leave on 1/2 inch of meat, more if reserving for leftovers. Carve the prime rib roast 1/2 inch thick and serve, passing some of the crumbled salt crust as a condiment.
For this imposing roast, serve an equally impressive red, such as a top Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley; the firm tannins that allow these wines to age also help them cut through the fat and protein of big cuts of meat.