A standing rib roast, also known as prime rib, is a cut of beef from the primal rib, which is one of the eight primal cuts of beef. The entire rib section comprises ribs six through 12 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".
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 dorsi) 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 two to three hours before dry roasting.
A slice of prime rib from a standing rib roast, topped (on the right side) with mushrooms