Learn how to cook prime rib over an open fire with this delicious recipe and method. Cooking prime rib on a rotisserie is fun and absolutely delicious.

How to Cook Prime Rib on a Rotisserie

Or should I say, how to spit roast a prime rib? An open fire is not only a fun way to cook prime rib but adds a rich smoky flavor to the meat that is absolutely amazing.  There are a couple of tricks to cooking a prime rib over an open fire. First, make sure you prepare the fire well enough ahead of time so that you have plenty of coals. Hot coals will be doing most of the cooking, not the fire. Think of it the same way you would if you were cooking with charcoal over a grill. You want enough coals to produce enough heat to cook the meat. Add some wood to watch the flame kiss the roast and add a little smokey flavor, but don’t rely on the flame to do your cooking

How Long Do You Cook Prime Rib On A Rotisserie

The general rule is to cook the roast for 15 minutes per pound. This of course also depends on your fire and how intense the heat from the coals are.  If your roast is cooking too fast, make sure to have a water pan underneath it. Make sure it is a pan you do not mind being in hot coals as it may ruin the pan. I keep an old pan around just for such uses. You can add water to the pan so that the dripping do not flame up when it touches the pan. This will also cool the cooking area directly beneath the roast. Decide on a heat high enough to cook the meat and watch it carefully. This is not a recipe you want to toss on and leave alone.

When I make prime rib in an oven, I usually start it off at around 475 degrees F. for the first 15 minutes to sear the meat. After 15 minutes I reduce the heat to about 325°F to roast for the remaining time. When cooking over a fire, try to achieve about 325°F. This can be difficult to determine, but use your best judgment and be sure to use a cooking thermometer to determine when the roast is fully cooked.

What Temperature Should The Prime Rib Be?

There are a few degrees of doneness you want to achieve with a roast. Here is a handy little chart to help you decide when to remove the roast from the heat. Remember to remove the roast about 5° before the desired doneness. As the roast rests, it will continue to cook and rise about 5 more degrees to the desired temperature. Cover the roast with foil while it rests.

Rare 120-130°F – Red interior which may fade to pink at the outermost edges

Medium Rare 130-135°F – Pink with a deeper, nearly red center

Medium 135-140°F – Mauve, uniformly colored interior

Well-done 145°F+ – Brown, no pink

What Side Dishes to Serve With Prim Rib?

So what do you serve with Prime Rib? I generally serve this with green bean casserole and my Garlic Caper Mashed Potatoes. If you have an oven available you can serve this with Yorkshire Pudding. I have never tried Yorkshire Pudding over a fire, but I supposed it could be done with the Dutch oven. If anyone tries it, please let us know how it turns out in the comments below. My favorite vegetable to serve with beef is either broccoli, cauliflower, or asparagus. And of course, baked potatoes are always a favorite with any beef dish.

prime rib

Useful Equipment

Be sure to have some sort of rotisserie for an evenly cooked roast. My favorite prime rib rotisserie is this battery operated rotisserie. It also works great for poultry and other roasts. Make sure that if you use a rotisserie to use the forks for it too. You will regret it if you don’t have a set of rotisserie forks as they keep the meat in position as it spins and cooks. This rotisserie really makes a great gift if you are looking for something for the outdoor chef in your life.

Prime rib roasted over a campfire.

Prime Rib Recipe

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 298 kcal
Author: Barbara Tidwell

Learn how to cook prime rib over an open fire with this delicious recipe and method.



  • 1 jar Tom Douglas™ Rub (or any rub you prefer)
  • 6 lb prime rib


  1. Prepare a fire at least an hour ahead of when you plan to start cooking the prime rib. You can also use charcoal to help aid the cooking or use a charcoal grill with a rotisserie. Make sure the fire has plenty of coals.

  2. Coat the roast liberally with the rub, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it stand at room temperature for about an hour.

  3. After an hour, remove the wrap and slide the roast to the center of the rotisserie. I strongly recommend that you use rotisserie forks to help hold your meat in place while it turns. If you have them, secure the roast to the rotisserie with the forks.

  4. Place the rotisserie over the fire. Place the drip pan onto the coals underneath the roast; this will provide diffused heat and reduce flare-ups from dripping grease.

  5. Try to maintain hot coals, you may need to add more firewood or charcoal as needed. Cook for 15 minutes per pound. If you desire, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer about a half hour before it should be done to ensure that it is reaching the correct temperature for your desired doneness. Medium rare is around 130°F.

  6. Remove the roast and let rest when the roast is 5 degrees below your desired doneness. Cover with foil and let rest for about 15 minutes. The roast will continue cooking and rise about another 5 degrees as it rests.

  7. Slice and serve with your favorite side dish.

Recipe Notes

Cooking time varies depending on the size of the roast. Bone in verses no bone roasts may also affect cooking times.

Nutrition Facts
Prime Rib Recipe
Amount Per Serving (3 oz)
Calories 298 Calories from Fat 215
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23.9g 37%
Saturated Fat 9.6g 48%
Cholesterol 72mg 24%
Protein 19.2g 38%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This recipe was originally published on Nov 15, 2013. It has been updated for your enjoyment.