Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tips for Making A Good Au Jus On The Grill

I bought one Christmas present for myself....this gorgeous prime rib.

We like ours a little less than medium-rare....tender and delicious!

A few days before the special day, I put my order in with Billy in the meat market at my Food City on Morrell Road.  I told him I wanted a "first cut" (ribs 10-12) with the ribs removed and tied back on so it was "ready to carve".   When I picked it up on Sunday, I was very pleased!  

I have to brag on "my Food City" for a second -

If you live in the Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee area, you've probably seen Food City commercials where they brag on their meat market's service.  There's a butcher smiling as he hands over a custom order.  Too good to be true?

The guys at my Food City live up to that commercial.  Earlier in the year, I was wanting 1 1/2 thick USDA Choice strip steaks.  The sale that week was on USDA Select and that was what was on display.  I guess Billy knew I wasn't seeing what I wanted and asked what I had in mind.  He stopped what he was doing and hand cut me two steaks from a whole Choice strip loin.  Knoxville has gotten a lot of new grocery stores this year (Publix, Trader Joes, Costco, and Whole Foods is coming) but the people and service at my Food City has kept my business.  

Okay, back to my prime rib.  I followed (mostly) my recipe for a Reverse Seared Prime Rib and used my Twenty Tips For Prime Rib on the Grill.  You can read those posts for the details so I'll just post my time/temps chart and pictures.  

A light smoke and we're ready to go!

Early during the slow roasting portion.  The meat juices drip into the au jus making magic!

Resting after 4 hours of cooking indirect in the smoke.

Rib bones removed for the high temp sear at the end.

I carved the "roast beast" for all the Who's in Whoville.  I was a bit of a Grinch this year.

We kept it simple - prime rib, Boursin mashed potatoes, and green beans.

The rib bones go back on the grill for "chef's treat".  I ate them an hour or so later.
Here are the temps/times for the slow roasting part.  It went on the grill at 1:30pm. 

TimeInternal TempCooking temp

The high temp sear was at 500f for about 45 seconds a side except for the newly exposed rib side where I let it go about 2 minutes. 

Someone asked me about how you make a good au jus on the grill.  You could do it just like the traditional method on the stove top for an oven roasted beef roast.  But here is how I do it with the reverse seared prime rib. 

Tips For Making Au Jus on The Grill

Roasting Pan Selection
  •  The heavier the better.  Those throw away aluminum pans are poor at handling/controlling heat.  Stoneware and cast iron work much better.
  • Size.  You want the smallest size that will adequately fit under your roast.  Oversized pans will allow evaporation to happen too fast.
I'm a big fan of stoneware on the grill.

  • If you are using a ceramic grill with a plate setter or heat diffuser like I do, place spacers between the plate setter and the pan.  This keeps the pan from simmering too much too soon from the radiant heat.
  • Use a rack that keeps the meat above the roasting pan, NOT DOWN IN IT.  If the meat is sitting down IN the pan, it is going to partially steam instead of roasting. 
  • Don't have a roasting rack?  Get creative.  Use the rack from a toaster oven.  Here I used the wire holder from a silicone cupcake tray just for grins and giggles.  

Above the pan...not down in it.
Here are the "spacers" that I use, just stainless hooks.  Extra BGE feet also work.

  • Enough beef stock to fill the pan about 3/4" deep
  • some crushed cloves of garlic, sprigs of rosemary or thyme
  • mirepoix of onions, celery, carrot if you feel like it
  • any herbs/spices from the cutting board after seasoning the roast
  • Cook under the roast for the duration of the slow roasting period
  • About 3 hours in, I like to pour the rest of the beef stock container slowly over the roast to baste it and carry seasonings down into the au jus below.

  • While the roast is resting and the fire is heating up for the sear....
  • Skim any obvious fat from the surface of the au jus
  • Strain the veggies, garlic, etc from the au jus and discard them. 
  • Add any drippings collected from the resting roast.
  • Simmer for a few minutes.  If still too thin, you can simmer to reduce for another 5-10 minutes but you shouldn't need to do that.
  • Taste for seasoning and add salt/pepper as needed.
Nothing fancy but it works for me!

I hope you all had a great holiday season so far!  What is the favorite thing you have eaten during the holidays this year?

[Standard Disclaimer]   I have no affiliation with Food City other than I am in there almost every day shopping.


  1. Thank you for this Chris. I didn't know you could make au jus from a roast on the grill or if I did, I certainly didn't have any idea how. I'm forwarding this to my grilling husband and his brother.

    We had prime rib with au jus for Christmas Eve, but it was cooked in the oven and Meakin made his special au jus/sauce.

    Wishing you and Alexis and Trever a very happy and healthy new year.

  2. Oh ... my .... gawd! The look of those slices of meat is music to my eyes - exactly the way I like (love) it. I don't need to wish you bon appetit, you clearly got it.

  3. This is one drool worthy meal! Seriously, the prime rib is perfectly cooked! Thanks for the tips for cooking it and for making the au jus!
    Happy New Year to you and your family, Chris!

    Kim in MD

  4. Gotta go change shirts now. I have drool all down the front of this one. Thanks a lot. Gorgeous, Chris.

  5. The best thing we've eaten were the Lemoncello Truffles...oh and the Sticky Toffee Pudding and the Eggnog Pound Cake...and then there was the smoked turkey I ordered from my friends at Carolina die for. Now, riddle me this, you have this fantastic meal...roast beast, beautiful mashed potatoes, fresh green beans and you drink BEER with it?!?! Godfrey man! Beer?? Please tell me that's champagne or at least sparkling cider in a beer glass? Which is a whole 'nuther matter! It's like my momma always told can take the man out of the cave but you can't take the cave out of the man....hahaha...I'm looking forward to another HAPPY NEW YEAR of great recipes from you!

  6. GAWD that looks good. Thanks for posting!!!

  7. I was wondering about the smoke level of your au jus. We have tried this method using our Weber and it just is too smoky.Another Christmas has passed and still no Green Egg.

  8. Wha a beautiful piece f meat, Chris!Thanks for this info and Happy New Year!

  9. Looks perfect Chris and great tips on the jus

  10. Beautiful. I know I say it every year, but I've never made a prime rib because I'm afraid I'll ruin a $60 chunk of meat. I'm putting this on my 2013 Food Resolution list and I'm going to practice that line out loud all the way to Tony's. "first cut" (ribs 10-12) with the ribs removed and tied back on so it's "ready to carve" ... "first cut" (ribs 10-12) with the ribs removed and tied back on so it's "ready to carve" ...... Happy New Year Chris and family.

  11. All I could think while reading this is what a beauty and I see others had the same thoughts! YUM!

  12. Everything about this looks wonderful! I love au jus way more than what is normal.

  13. Prime rib is THE meal to serve Christmas Eve. You should have seen the look on my face when my dad mentioned saving the bones for the dog.

  14. That looks absolutely stunning. Perfectly cooked & ready to gobble up! I love how you made the au jus!

  15. Chris you are seriously the meat king!! That sliced prime rib looks magical, and I'm usually not even a fan of prime rib!! I envy your photography skills :)

  16. AMAZING!!!! Did this for Christmas dinner and it was awesome! Follow up: how long do you put the bones back on for the chefs treat? 500 degrees?

    1. Yeah, they are already cooked, just going back on for some of that Malliard browning, kind of like how some people start ribs in a smoker and then grill them off at the last second. Thanks!


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