Grill-Roasted Rib Roast (Prime Rib) with Potato-Garlic Hobo Pack, Sour Cream, and Bacon Bits

This is the Big Daddy of roast beef, the most expensive and the most well marbled cut of them all. When cooked over live fire so that it picks up a nice smoky flavor, it is about as fine an eating experience as a carnivore can imagine. We call here for a bone-in roast, which is better suited to the rigors of grill-roasting than the boneless version, and accompany it with a hobo pack that’s an updated version of the classic roast beef accompaniment, baked potatoes with sour cream and bacon. As always when grill-roasting, be sure that no part of the meat is directly over the coals. It’s also a good idea to put the thicker side of the roast toward the fire for three quarters of the cooking time, then turn it around. If you have butcher’s twine, tie the roast at both ends, simply making loops of twine parallel to the bone. This helps ensure that the outer flap of meat doesn’t pull away from the rib-eye muscle during cooking. It’s mostly a matter of appearance, so it’s not crucial, but it does give you a better-looking roast in the end. If you don’t want to mess with a charcoal fire, you can do both the rib roast and the hobo pack in the oven at a straight 400°F, increasing the cooking times by about 10 percent. Or (a better choice), you can grill-roast the beef but serve it with a straight-up baked potato.

Serves6 to 8

Cooking Methodgrilling


Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course


Five Ingredients or LessYes



Taste and Texturegarlicky, meaty, smoky


  • One 4-rib rib roast, about 6 to 8 pounds
  • 6 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 6 large baking potatoes, washed and quartered lengthwise
  • 16 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh sage
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup minced fresh chives
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled


  1. Light a fire on one side of a large kettle grill, using about enough charcoal to fill a large shoe box.

  2. Dry the roast with paper towels, then rub it all over with the salt and pepper, pressing gently to be sure that it adheres. When the fire has died down and the coals are covered with white ash, place the roast bone side down on the side of the grill away from the coals, being very careful that none of the meat is directly over the coals. Put the lid on the grill and open the vents about one quarter of the way. Cook, adding a handful of fresh charcoal about every 30 minutes, until the roast is done the way you like it, about 1 hour and 40 minutes to 2 hours for rare. To check for doneness, insert a meat thermometer into the dead center of the roast and let it sit for 5 seconds, then read the temperature: 120°F is rare, 126°F is medium-rare, 134°F is medium, 150°F is medium-well, and 160°F is welldone; we like to pull it at 122°F. When the roast is done to your liking, remove it from the grill, cover it loosely with foil, and allow it to rest for 20 minutes or so before carving.

  3. While the roast is cooking, make the hobo packs: Tear off eight sheets of heavy-duty foil, each about 2 feet long, and stack them one on top of the other. Arrange half the potatoes, garlic, and sage in the center of the top sheet, drizzle with half of the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Fold up the top four sheets of foil around the vegetables one after the other, turning the package one quarter turn after each one and making sure that each sheet is well sealed around the vegetables. Repeat this process with the remaining potatoes, garlic, and sage.

  4. Place the hobo packs in the coals around the periphery of the fire, where the heat is less intense. Pile the coals up around the packs and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 40 minutes.

  5. Remove the hobo packs from the coals, unwrap the packages, and garnish the potatoes with the sour cream, chives, and bacon.

  6. Slicing between the ribs, cut the beef into big thick slices. Serve accompanied by the potatoes.

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