By Carl Hanson

Dry Aging Prime Rib

Dry aging prime rib at home is not for the meek. Or the impatient. To do it right, we went straight to the expert, Chef John, for guidance. "After lots of research, I decided I'd have to age the prime rib at least 30 days for any noticeable change in flavor," he told us. "It ended up going for 42 days." That's six weeks! So if you're thinking about dry-aging your own prime rib of beef for the holidays this year, you'll need to plan ahead. Here's how to dry age your prime rib:

Photo by Chef John

What You'll Need to Dry Age Prime Rib

1 10-pound prime rib with bones attached and a fair amount of fat on top
3 types of salt (Kosher salt, coarse sea salt, Himalayan pink salt)
Cold water
Sheet pan with rims
Roasting rack
Room in the fridge (a dedicated fridge works best)

How to Dry Age Prime Rib

Watch the video for key tips from Chef John for dry aging, including tips on how to trim a dry-aged prime rib. Follow along with the steps below, and take a peek at Chef John's recipe for Dry-Aged Prime Rib.

Step 1.
Clean the surface of the prime rib with salt water. Dissolve about 2 teaspoons of kosher salt in a half cup of cold water. Dip a paper towel into the salty water and wipe down the prime rib.

Step 2.
Grab a rimmed sheet pan and pour onto it about 1.5 cups of course sea salt and about a half cup of Himalayan pink salt, enough salt to cover the surface of the pan completely. Why salt on a tray? Chef John explains, "People say the salt will help control the humidity and purify the air...whatever that means."

Place a roasting rack on top of the salted sheet pan. Then set your prime rib on the rack.

Step 3.
Put the prime rib in the fridge, uncovered, and allow to age for between 30 and 40 days. If you have a spare fridge, stick it in there. A spare fridge that's completely dedicated to this operation is preferable but not essential; it's best to leave the prime rib in a fridge that won't be opened and closed repeatedly -- the temperature stays steady.

The temperature in the refrigerator should stay between 34 to 38 degrees F (1 to 3 degrees C).

Step 4.
Wait for your prime rib to get funky. After two weeks, Chef John noticed his prime rib was getting dark and dry, as it should.

Step 5.
After about 30 to 45 days (about 6 weeks), remove prime rib from the fridge. It should be dark and dry and have a "subtle, pleasantly funky smell." Why 30 to 45 days? As Chef John explains: "Less than 30 days, not much happens; after 45 days, maybe too much happens."

Step 6.
As needed, trim any hard, dry surfaces and fat. You'll notice that during the aging process the prime rib loses weight. Chef John's 10 pound prime rib weighed in at 8 pounds after aging for 42 days.

Step 7.
Place the prime rib on a roasting rack to rest. The next step is to salt the meat. But before that, you'll want to spray the surface with water -- the water helps the salt adhere to the meat. Salt the meat very generously with kosher salt. Put the prime rib in the fridge for between 24 and 48 hours to let the meat absorb the salt.

Step 8.
Remove the prime rib from the fridge and cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Let it warm up slightly, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C). When preheated, roast away at high heat for 20 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 300° F (150° C), insert a probe thermometer into the prime rib, and roast at the lower temperature for another 90 minutes or until it reaches your preferred doneness: 125° F (52° C) for rare, 130° F (54° C) for medium-rare, or 135° F (57° C) for medium.

Let the prime rib rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Save the rendered beef fat for this authentic Yorkshire pudding recipe.

Photo by Chef John

Chef John's Conclusion

OK, so now for the verdict. Was this six-week labor of love worth the wait? Chef John thinks...it depends. Yes, the prime rib was extremely juicy and tender. And the aging process likely concentrated the beefy flavor and helped make the meat more tender. So that's all good. But Chef John was expecting more of the funky flavors that typically develop with dry-aged beef. That was lacking here, he found. Of course, your dry-aging mileage may vary. Certainly dry-aging your prime rib for six weeks will create a delicious holiday main dish and a pretty good story for the table to boot. But if dry-aging is maybe more commitment than you're ready for, give Chef John's Perfect Prime Rib a try. It's ready in about six hours not six weeks.


Check out our collection of Prime Rib Recipes.


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