Save Money This Holiday. Roast a Pork Prime Rib.

A bone-in, center-cut pork rib roast is a cheaper yet impressively flavorful alternative to "real" prime rib. Our port wine–cherry sauce gives the roast even more panache.

Published Dec. 8, 2022.

Prime rib is a popular special occasion showpiece, but it sure does come with a hefty price tag. If you’re looking to avoid supermarket sticker shock this holiday, I’ve got just the thing: a bone-in, center-cut pork rib roast.

Its cylindrical, uniform loin muscle and long bones make this cut so appealing for serving that some butchers call it the “pork equivalent of prime rib.” And when properly prepared and served with a posh accompaniment such as our Port Wine–Cherry Sauce, it can be truly impressive: moist; tender; and full of rich, meaty taste. All this—and for far less money than prime rib costs.

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How to Cook a Center-Cut Pork Rib Roast

Since this roast is the pork equivalent of prime rib, we cook it just like our Best Prime Rib. We remove the bones in order to salt the meat on all sides, nestle the meat back up against the bones, and secure it with kitchen twine before transferring the assembly to the oven to slowly roast. Here’s how to do it:

  • SCORE Cut deep crosshatch marks in the fat to help it melt and baste the meat during roasting.
  • DEBONE Remove the rib bones so that the pork can be seasoned on all sides.
  • CURE Coat the pork with a salt and brown sugar rub, and refrigerate it overnight to season the meat throughout.  
  • TIE Since bone is a poor conductor of heat, tie bones back onto the roast to guard against overcooking.
  • ROAST Slowly cook the pork in a 250-degree oven to keep it as moist and juicy as possible.  
  • CRISP Blast the roast under the broiler for a couple of minutes just prior to serving to crisp and brown the fat.
  • CARVE The finished roast, free of bones, is a breeze to carve.

Click here for our full recipe for Slow-Roasted Bone-In Pork Rib Roast.

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An Easy, Elegant Sauce for Roast Pork

There is nothing more luxurious than a classic French beurre rouge—a reduction of red wine and wine vinegar emulsified with butter—and a lean pork loin is truly centerpiece worthy when paired with this rich, concentrated sauce. 

To give the mixture real character, we trade the red wine for tawny port and the wine vinegar for balsamic. We also incorporate cream, minced shallots, fresh thyme, and a couple of handfuls of plump dried cherries. 

The complex flavor with echoes of fruit and herbs balances beautifully with the meaty roast for a dish that is ideal for any special occasion.  

Port Wine–Cherry Sauce

SERVES 6 to 8 (Makes about 1¾ cups)

2 cups tawny port

1 cup dried cherries

½ cup balsamic vinegar

4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus 2 teaspoons minced

2 shallots, minced

¼ cup heavy cream

16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1. Combine port and cherries in bowl and microwave until steaming, 1 to 2 minutes. Cover and let stand until plump, about 10 minutes. Strain port through fine-mesh strainer into medium saucepan, reserving cherries.

2. Add vinegar, thyme sprigs, and shallots to port and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and reduce mixture until it measures ¾ cup, 14 to 16 minutes. Add cream and reduce again to ¾ cup, about 5 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs. Off heat, whisk in butter, few pieces at a time, until fully incorporated. Stir in cherries, minced thyme, salt, and pepper. Cover pan and hold, off heat, until serving. Alternatively, let sauce cool completely and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat in small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until warm.


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