Blowtorch Prime Rib Roast Recipe from Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller

Blowtorch Prime Rib Roast by Thomas Keller from Ad Hoc at Home, carved and plated

Before we pull back our hair and start torching anything, let’s all be envious of Margot for a moment, since she’s the lucky one who’s getting a signed copy of Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home. *envy envy envy* Okay, that’s enough. Margot, congrats to your random good luck! Everyone else, thank you for playing along; there is a very special video below that we made just for you. Margot, you’re not allowed to watch because you got the book.

I promised a recipe that included a blow torch, so here is TKells’ Blowtorch Prime Rib Roast recipe from Ad Hoc at Home. Yes, we made it over the weekend. No, I don’t have a blowtorch, but I play one on my blog!

Wait, no that doesn’t work.

I cannot actually tell you how I got my fat little hands on an industrial-strength power welder propane-fueled blowtorch as TKells recommends in his recipe, as opposed to the weak “chef’s” torches that might as well be a butane lighter. The point is that I torched a giant round of meat, roasted it, and rubbed down my body with the crispy, curly, caramelized ruffles of fat that came out in the end. I actually did not do one of those three things. It’s up to your imagination to figure out which.

Anyway, I am still reeling from an all-nighter that included big beef and excel spreadsheets (don’t ask), so I’m leaving you with a few shots from blowtorch beginning to end and a copy of Tkell’s actual recipe (reprinted with permission!) while I finish composing a proper review of my experience that I’ll add to this post later.

If you make it to the very end of *this* post, you might find a little video that helped my sanity last night. You are 100% welcome to provide, encouraged to comment with, and in fact, I ain’t too proud to beg for, your feedback.

After wielding the power that is a blowtorch, my ego could use a good reality check.





This is the header note that introduces the Blowtorch Prime Rib Roast recipe from Ad Hoc at Home:

“I cook rib roast in a very low oven to ensure that it is a rosy medium-rare from the very center almost to its outer edges. But we like the dark caramelized surface, for flavor and for visual appeal, which is typically achieved through roasting at high heat.

We discovered that if you start by giving meat a quick heating using a blowtorch, though it won’t look particularly brown after the toasting, it will develop a beautifully browned surface even in that very low oven.

Propane torches are inexpensive and easy to use. Available at most hardware stores, they usually cost less than $20; replacement cylinders are usually less than $5. Avoid the smaller butane-fired torches sold at gourmet shops; propane torches are more effective.

You can use a torch for caramelizing sugar on crème brûlee, browning meringue, and, as we do, giving a crust to your roast beef.

Be sure to store your torch in a safe place.”

~ Thomas Keller, Ad Hoc at Home

“Be sure to store your torch in a safe place. Oh, that TKells. Always considering safety first.

Thomas Keller Blowtorch Prime Rib Roast in Action

Thomas Keller Blowtorch Prime Rib Roast

Blowtorch Prime Rib Roast Recipe

serves 6

Ingredients for Prime Rib Roast

One 2-bone center-cut rib roast (about 4½ pounds), trimmed of excess fat
Kosher salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
Gray salt or coarse sea salt
Horseradish Cream (recipe follows)

Directions for Prime Rib Roast

Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 275°F.

Put the roast on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Hold a blowtorch about 1 inch from the roast and turn to lightly brown the fat on all sides; the idea is to start the fat rendering and to torch the meat just until the surface begins to turn gray. Season the roast generously with salt and pepper.

Transfer to the oven, with the meat toward the back of the oven, and cook until the roast registers 128°F in the center. The total cooking time will be about 2 hours, but begin to check the temperature after 1½ hours. Remove from the oven and let rest in a warm spot for at least 30 minutes for medium-rare.

To carve, cut the meat away from the bones. Separate the bones and put them on a serving platter. Cut the roast in half through the center, turn each piece cut side down, and slice straight down into slices that are about ½ inch thick. Arrange the meat on the platter and sprinkle with gray salt and pepper.

Serve with the horseradish cream on the side.

Horseradish Cream Recipe

makes about 1 cup

Ingredients for Horseradish Cream

½ cup very cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
About ¼ cup drained prepared horseradish
½ teaspoon fleur de sel, or to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Directions for Horseradish Cream

This is a basic, and very easy, horseradish sauce—prepared horseradish and cream, seasoned with salt and pepper and a little bit of sherry vinegar. It goes especially well with grilled or roasted beef, like this prime rib roast, and the Peppercorn-Crusted Beef Tenderloin (page 47).

Put the heavy cream and vinegar in a medium bowl and whisk until the cream holds a soft shape. Whisk in the horseradish, salt, and pepper.

Refrigerate in a covered container for up to 1 week.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 RJ Flamingo November 11, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Hahahahahaha! Love the video – that was truly awesome! And kudos to you for being able to maintain a lovely figure while blogging about food. :-D


2 SallyBR November 11, 2009 at 1:40 pm


Loved everything, particularly the final bit of the candle….

I am planning to make it, glad to know it worked well for you…. I know this will sound a bit funky, but my husband’s torch will come in quite handy :-)

(nice dress!)


3 Tangled Noodle November 11, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Congratulations, Margo (as I secretly plot how to intercept the book before it reaches your mailbox)! I’ll console myself with this recipe and will definitely be picking up a torch at the local hardware store. Love the ensemble but how did you avoid welder’s-headgear-hair?

Seriously, though, this is a great recipe – I wonder if I can convince family to forgo the traditional turkey for prime rib roast? Who could possibly object?


4 MyLastBite November 11, 2009 at 2:28 pm

LOVE the video!

Is that the dress you wore to Jonathan Gold’s party??


5 Sarah J. Gim November 11, 2009 at 2:40 pm

RJFlamingo: are we so sure that it’s ME in the video?!?! ok, it is. and dont think i didn’t strap myself down with a corset and use trick lighting in the video :D

Sally BR: there is NOTHING funky about: “my husband’s torch will come in quite handy.” a little freaky maybe, but certainly not funky. and yes, i love the candle, too! though i was hoping to get the taper kind that people use on the dinner table. obviously i didn’t have any because like, WHO has romantic candlelit dinners at home by herself?!

Noodle: or you can be like our crazy family and have turkey AND ham AND a rib roast.

MyLastBite: it is! the dress was all of like $100 so I didn’t have to worry about accidentally setting it on fire or something. all those sequins. disco. fire. burn, baby burn!


6 Annie November 11, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Your timing on the song with the video was excellent–an eternal “flame” and the torch goes on….cracked me up big time! Great vid!


7 Ninette November 11, 2009 at 8:15 pm

You are hysterical! Love the shoes. Thanks for running the giveaway, writing funny stuff, and making a tongue-in-cheek — or rather flame-on-beef — video!


8 Sarah J. Gim November 11, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Annie: thanks!

ninette: you’re welcome for the giveaway, and hopefully there will be many more to come, especially during the holidays!


9 Annie November 12, 2009 at 2:59 am

Very well done! congrats to the winner.


10 StreamingGourmet (Amy Wilson) November 12, 2009 at 11:59 am

Hilarious video! I’d love for you to join my site StreamingGourmet and post it there. You can just paste in the Youtube link address and the site will embed it for you so you don’t have to upload and encode it. All the best. Cheers, Amy


11 Sarah J. Gim November 12, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Annie: well, no, actually, it was quite rare… ;D

Streaming Gourmet: thanks for the invitation!


12 Adri November 12, 2009 at 2:10 pm

The video was amazing. I had to just laugh at the song choice!


13 Sarah J. Gim November 12, 2009 at 4:49 pm

adri: thank you! did you like the song choice?! it wasn’t my first choice. i actually thought to use the theme song from flashdance. even though the song itself has nothing to do with “flaming” or “torching,” there are scenes from the movie that would have been perfect because the main character was a WELDER.

eternal flame aint bad either, though. that’s one one of my (and many others’ i’m sure) signature karaoke songs


14 Genevieve November 13, 2009 at 11:08 am

Wow. I am blowtorched away…

As a co-worker for Lawry’s The Prime Rib, I agree that whipped cream horseradish is a must. I would also recommend some creamed corn to pair with the dish. Check out our recipe here:

Torch on.



15 Seefoxrun November 14, 2009 at 9:43 am

Awesome. Just awesome.


16 gourmetp November 14, 2009 at 10:57 am

Hehe that funny video made a good start to my Saturday!
A woman who cooks in a dress, the guys would love it I’m sure ;)


17 Sarah J. Gim November 14, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Genevieve: thanks for the recipe! makes up for the slightly shill-y comment ;D

seefoxrun: thanks! nice to see/read you again…

gourmetp: sadly, it was all for show. the dress yes, but cook? hell, no.


18 Charles November 20, 2009 at 8:56 am

First time here and I will be back. Absolutely captivating. You’re very talented and creative. Will make the roast for sure.


19 Sarah J. Gim November 20, 2009 at 9:20 am

Charles: Thanks for stopping by…How awesome will it be to whip out a giant blowtorch during the holidays to make this?!


20 Charlotte December 14, 2009 at 9:46 am

That was such a fabulous video that you put together….but funny, witty and quite tasty!!!


21 Anonymous December 20, 2009 at 3:22 am

Wow. Sexy!


22 curiousgravy January 3, 2010 at 9:56 pm

I made this for Christmas Day dinner and it was so amazingly good and easy. I will never use another method for cooking prime rib. I can’t wait to have my out of state family visit so that I can wow them with this. Thanks for sharing.


23 Marlowesfu May 16, 2011 at 1:56 am

Okay, Thomas Keller might be a real food genius.

I tried his ideas for lobster from the “French Laundry Cookbook”and later
used leftovers to make his macaroni and cheese for my partner’s  Mother’s day –
pheeeeenominal.  Today the blowtorch roast beef from “Ad Hoc at Home” (I don’t own
it, memorized instructions at Chapters.) It makes no sense but it is amazing to
cook a rib roast that way. I had a roast half the size – it wasn’t as warm as a
bigger piece of meat might have been, but every millimeter from surface down was
done to the same level. My four-year-old scarfed down an adult share.

Might buy “Under Pressure” as a gift to myself when my PhD is done.



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