Rub roast with olive oil on all sides and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme. Make sure to have an even amount on all sides of roast.
Place roast bone side down on a pre-heated smoker at 225°F. Smoke until reaching 10°F shy of your desired internal temperature, about 30-40 minutes per pound. Larger roasts over 9lbs will take about the same amount of time as a 9lb roast. Adjust temp between 200° to 250° while smoking if it appears it will finish early or too late. Remove prime rib from smoker, set aside, and increase temperature to 450°F.
Place roast back on smoker to reverse sear until a nice crust is formed and your desired Internal Temperature is reached (refer to temperature chart in post above).
Remove and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes. Carve into 1" steaks and plate.
If searing in an oven before smoking, place roast bone side down on baking sheet in a pre-heated 450° oven on the bottom rack for 15 minutes. Remove and then smoke until your desired internal temperature is reached. Allow to rest for 20-30 minutes.
Place a water pan in the smoker if using a stick burner. It is not necessary when using a pellet smoker
Rest the meat for 20 - 30 minutes before slicing to allow the juices in the meat to redistribute.
Remove the bones before smoking and tie back to the roast with twine for aesthetics, remove and discard before smoking, or leave them in and remove before serving. Either way can be done and will not affect the final result of the roast.