How to turn Rump Roast into Prime Rib

Rump Roast that tastes like Prime Rib

Red meat and I go way back. For ten years of my life I worked in steakhouses. Cattle Company was my high school job, Steak & Ale put me through college, and Kinzie Chophouse and Sullivan’s Steakhouse helped me launch The Local Tourist.

One of the downsides to no longer working in restaurants that specialize in red meat is that I don’t get to eat Kansas City Strips, Delmonicos, and slow roasted prime rib on a regular basis. Prime beef tastes, choice beef budget. Now, however, I’m happy to say that I’ve discovered the secret(s) to making an affordable piece of rump roast taste like one of the choicest cuts around.

This is definitely a Sunday dinner recipe. It’s easy, but it’s not something you decide to throw together when the work day ends. There are several steps and it takes hours. But oh, when you pull that roast out of the oven and slice into it you’ll know it was worth it.

Step One: Brine

First thing in the morning or, even better, the night before, boil several cups of water with salt and sugar until they dissolve. For a two-pound roast I used about eight cups of water and a quarter cup each of Himalayan pink salt and sugarleaf, a blend of stevia and cane sugar. After they’ve dissolved let the water cool down until you can pour it over the roast in a gallon bag without melting the plastic or cooking the meat. I threw in a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary in to add a little extra flavor. Put it in a big bowl in case it leaks (it will) and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least eight hours. When you take the roast out of the brine be sure to keep the liquid in reserve.

Step Two: Salt

Now that you’ve soaked it in salt for hours, you’re going to put more salt on it. Now don’t have a heart attack – sprinkling salt on the outside and letting it “sweat” serves to desiccate the meat. By drying the outside of the meat you’re making it easier to get that oh, so delicious crust.

Place your roast on a wire rack on top of a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Then liberally sprinkle salt on it, making sure to get it all over. Let it rest for at least 45 minutes. You’ll start to see liquid collecting in the cookie sheet. Don’t worry about this drying out your meat; it’s only drying the outside.

Step Three: Season

Now comes the good part. Rinse off the salt and pat your roast dry. Set it fat-side up and poke holes into the fat. Then stick in little slivers of garlic. These are going to cook right into the roast so you won’t even know they’re there, except you’ll know the flavor is out of this world. Next you’re going to coat the roast with a wet rub, then top it with a dry rub, just like they used to do with the prime rib at Steak & Ale (still the best prime rib I’ve had).

Step Four: Slow Roast

You may have heard that before roasting steak you want to brown it to seal in the juices. Well, I learned that this doesn’t happen. Instead, when you brown the roast first you end up searing not only the outside, but the inside as well. That’s why you see anywhere from a quarter to a half inch of gray meat around the edges. By roasting on a low temperature and searing at the finish you end up with that beautiful pink-red all the way through.

Step Five: Reverse Sear

Once you take the roast out, turn the oven up to 475 and return the potatoes to the oven. Let the potatoes cook for 30 minutes while you make vegetables or a salad or just kick back. During the last minute or so put the roast back in the oven for about five minutes. This will sear the outside and make that dry herb topping a nice crust. The high temp also browns the potatoes quite nicely.

Step Six: Devour

Put the roast on a plate, encircle it with potatoes, and dine like a queen (or king, as the case may be).


Here are the step-by-steps:

Prime Rib Rump Roast


2 – 3 lb Rump Roast

1 lb red potatoes (optional)

2 to 3 cloves of garlic sliced


  • 8 c water
  • 1/4 c salt (Himalayan pink salt works great)
  • 1/2 c sugar OR 1/4 c sugarleaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Wet Rub

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbs soy sauce
  • splash hot sauce
  • squeeze fresh lemon juice

Dry Rub

  • 1 tbs dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt (kosher works great)
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  1. Boil water until salt and sugar dissolve. Cool, then pour over roast into a gallon bag. Add in rosemary sprigs. Seal and store in refrigerator overnight or at least eight hours.
  2. Remove roast from water and place on rack on top of cookie sheet. Coat with coarse-grained salt. Reserve brine for later use. Let the roast dry for ~45 minutes to an hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 225 degrees
  4. Cut potatoes into 2 – 3″ pieces
  5. Place roast fat-side up and poke fat with sharp knife. Insert garlic slivers.
  6. Combine wet rub ingredients and rub all over the roast.
  7. Combine dry rub ingredients and press into the wet rub on the fat side of the roast. This will become a crust of flavor, so put as much or as little as you’d like.
  8. Place the roast into an iron skillet or a roasting pan.
  9. Place potatoes around the roast.
  10. Pour enough brine into pan to nearly cover the potatoes. Add the rosemary sprigs if desired.
  11. Put roast on middle rack and cook for about an hour. When the roast reaches 130 degrees remove from pan and cover with foil
  12. Turn oven up to 475 degrees.
  13. Return potatoes to oven and cook for another 30 minutes.
  14. …. twiddle thumbs….
  15. Check potatoes. If they’re fork tender and most of the water has evaporated from the pan, return the roast.
  16. Cook roast for another five minutes or so until the herb topping has a nice crust.
  17. Serve, dine, smile!

10 thoughts on “How to turn Rump Roast into Prime Rib”

  1. Thank you. Looks brilliant. Stsrting my brine for tomorrow’s roast. My mouth is tremblingly watery at the thought.

    • Ack! Sorry about that! I mentioned it in “Step Three” in the description, but not in the recipe itself. It does on after the wet rub on the fat side of the roast, and you’ll want to tap it into the wet rub to make sure it stays. It will form a crust so use as much or as little as you want.

      • I’m dying to make this for my dad! So I put the roast in at 225 for an hr uncovered then remove it cover in foil for 1/2 hrs then place back in oven at 475 for 5mins?

        • Hi Susan! Yes, you take it out and let it rest while you roast the potatoes. Then you put the roast back in the oven to sear the outside. Hope your dad likes it! Please let me know 🙂

    • Hello! Sorry for the delay. I was traveling last week. No rack, although you can slice some onions and set it on top of them if you’d like!

  2. I attempted this and started with a 4 pound rump roast. I put it in the oven at 225 for two hours & tested it. The inside temp was 93. Was the temperature a misprint? It’s going to take much, much longer than one hour to get the inside temp up to 130. Since everyone is very hungry, I cranked the oven up to 475 and am leaving it and the potatoes in. I’ll check periodically to make sure the potatoes are done and the inside temp reacheds 130.

    • 225 is what I’ve used several times, but the roast you’re using is twice as much as the base size in the recipe. It probably needed another hour for the extra weight, but I’m not a trained chef so I’m not really sure. Did it turn out OK?

      (For some reason I wasn’t notified of this comment or I would have replied earlier. Sorry about that.)


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