Christmas Flashback: Garlic-Smeared Prime Rib

I know it’s the new year–hello, 2018. In case you missed it, my last post was all about looking to the future, to what I hope to accomplish this year. But for today, let’s look back on 2017 for a bit. All the way back to Christmas. Specifically, let’s venture back to Christmas dinner. Holidays are huge food-wise for us. I’m not sure if it’s a Filipino thing, an us thing, or both. Either way, when it comes to holidays we celebrate with food (case in point). Christmas is no different. And today I’m sharing all that food joy with you. So, here’s my mom’s Garlic-Smeared Prime Rib. 

Garlic-Smeared Prime Rib // Serve With Rice

Our family is pretty traditional. Over the years we’ve tweaked things here and there. We’ve had to make some adjustments for scheduling in the past as well. But overall, our Christmas tradition is pretty much the same from when I was a kid. For us, Christmas is on Christmas Eve. We don’t do the whole wake up early and see all the gifts Santa brought thing. If you remember, we didn’t really do the whole Santa thing at all. Instead, we had Nochebuena. 

Literally translated, the Good Night, Nochebuena is a Spanish tradition. One that they obviously passed down to the Filipinos. Like I said we celebrate on Christmas Eve. Everyone does it differently, but this is ours: We would spend Christmas Eve night going to church. Usually we went to the vigil mass. Then, we’d stay up really late. When you’re a kid, this is the best part! At midnight, we’d exchange our Merry Christmases and have dinner. Yes–have dinner. What exactly we ate has changed over the years. But mostly, we have salteñas from a local Brazilian bakery, honey ham made specially for the holidays, and dinner rolls. After eating, around 1-2 AM, we’d open gifts. I think you can see why Santa didn’t really work in our family.

On Christmas morning, we’d sleep in. As kids, we spent most of Christmas playing with all of our new toys and gadgets that we got as kids the night before. As an adult, I mostly just help mom prepare Christmas dinner. And every year, at least in the last 5 or so years, our main course has been garlic-smeared prime rib. So, this year, I vowed to learn how to finally make it.

Garlic-Smeared Prime Rib // Serve With Rice

In truth, my mom’s recipe is actually just a combination of two recipes she found from Food Network. My mom does this a lot; my favorite stuffing she makes every Thanksgiving is one of these combo inventions, for instance. This time, it’s a combination of Tyler Florence’s Horseradish and Garlic Prime Rib and Emeril Agasse’s Garlic Schmeared Prime Rib. She uses Emeril’s garlic schmear with Tyler’s horseradish touch to come up with our own Garlic-Smeared Prime Rib recipe.

To start off, make sure to get a bone-in prime rib. It’s a little harder to cook, and eat for that matter. But the juices from the bone give the meat so much more flavor in the dish. Before smearing it, mom sears the outside of the prime rib in a cast iron skillet. There’s no seasoning on the prime rib because it will all come from the smear. Searing it before roasting gives it a nice texture on the outside. But don’t leave it on for too long or your run the risk of over-cooking the outside and creating a tough exterior. Luckily, cast irons sear quickly and efficiently so this should take no time at all. Set the rib aside.

Garlic-Smeared Prime Rib // Serve With Rice

Now you make the smear–or schmear, or whatever. In a food processor, blend garlic cloves, rosemary leaves, thyme leaves, salt and pepper with some olive oil until you get a smooth consistency. Then add the horseradish and blend to combine again. Take your smear and spread it all over the prime rib–except for the bone underneath. Again, be heavy with this part. You want the smear to give the rib all the flavor it can.

This is the point where you grab your roasting pan. Add veggies to the bottom of the dish if you want roasted veggies, and to hold up the prime rib. Place the smeared rib on top of the veggies, bone-side down. Slow roast it at 350º F for at least 1 hour and 30 minutesBe sure to check in on it from time to time to ensure that it is cooking evenly. Depending on the size of your rib and the strength of your oven, it could take up to 2 hours. But it will be worth the wait! 

When it comes out, the rib will be perfectly brown and roasted. The smear should have formed a crispy crust on top. It should not be burnt. The juices of the meat will coat the veggies on the bottom giving it a nice roasted flavor as well. Now, we like our meat medium rare–so, adjust according to your own taste. When you cut into the meat, it should still be reddish-pink inside with juices flowing. All you need now are some vegetables, rice, and a beautiful robust glass of red. And, of course, a loving family to share it all with!

Garlic-Smeared Prime Rib // Serve With Rice

Just thinking about this delicious prime rib has my mouth watering–and I just ate lunch. The smeared crust gives it just enough seasoning to seep all the way through to the bottom. The meat is tender and juicy. Like I said, we have this dish on Christmas exclusively because it is quite rich in flavor. But feel free to use this recipe for other special occasions, holidays, or if you just want to make an impressive meal for some friends or family. No matter what, you’re going to end up with a full belly and in a food coma. No regrets! Because hey, if you can’t indulge on Christmas, when can you?

Garlic-Smeared Prime Rib // Serve With Rice

Garlic-Smeared Prime Rib // Serve With Rice

Garlic-Smeared Prime Rib

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 6 people


  • 6-8 lb bone-in prime ribeye
  • 15-20 cloves garlic peeled
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp horseradish


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

  2. In a cast-iron skillet, sear the prime rib on all sides (excluding the bone) until just browned. Set aside. 

  3. In a food processor, add the garlic, rosemary leaves, thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Slowly add the olive oil as you blend the ingredients together. Keep blending until a smooth consistency forms. Add the horseradish and blend until combined. 

  4. Generously smear the outside of the prime rib (again, excluding the bone), until it is fully covered. Use your hands to smear--it will be easier. 

  5. In a greased roasting pan, add some vegetables (carrots, potatoes, etc.). Place the smeared prime rib on top of the vegetables with the bone-side down. Roast for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours. Check in on it periodically to ensure it is cooking evenly. 

  6. Let it rest for at least 5-10 minutes before serving. The inside should be mostly reddish-pink (for medium rare). Serve for Christmas! 


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