3 Roasts for a Winter Weekend

Prime rib roast, pernil, and pot roast with cranberries

Melissa McCart
Published in
6 min readDec 11, 2020


A prime rib roast before it’s carved.
Photo: Night and Day Images/E+/Getty Images

Whether you’re in the mood for one of these projects this weekend or you’re thinking about what to serve for Christmas or New Years', all three of Mark’s straightforward recipes deliver what will amount to a special meal. Each recipe is geared for a small crowd but if you’re being conservative this year and don’t even plan on that, you’ll have leftovers and you’ll be happy about it.

Prime Rib Roast for a Small Crowd

Makes: About 6 servings
Time: About 1½ hours (largely unattended)

This is a simple roasting technique: high heat to sear the meat, lower heat to cook it through. If you want a really crisp exterior, turn the heat back to 450°F for a few minutes right at the end of cooking; this won’t affect the internal temperature too much. Large roasts like this will cook more quickly if they are at room temperature before roasting.


  • 1 (3-rib) roast, about 5 pounds, trimmed of excess (but not all fat)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic (optional)
  • 1 cup red wine, stock, store-bought broth, or water


  1. Bring the meat to room temperature by removing it from the refrigerator at least an hour before cooking, preferably two. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Place the meat, bone-side down, in a large roasting pan. Season it with salt and pepper. If you like garlic, peel the cloves and cut them into tiny slivers; use a boning or paring knife to poke small holes in the meat and insert the garlic into them.
  3. Place the roast in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, undisturbed. Turn the heat down to 350°F and continue to roast for about 1 hour; check in several places with a meat thermometer. When no spot checks in at under 125°F (120°F if you like your meat really rare and your guests are of the same mentality), the meat is rare; cook another 5 or 10 minutes if you like it better done, then check again, but in no case let the temperature of the meat go above 155°F.



Melissa McCart

Editor of Heated with Mark Bittman on Medium. Dog mom. Pho fan. Send me your pitches: melissamccart@gmail.com