How Long Will Prime Rib Last in the Refrigerator Before Cooking

Wondering how long uncooked prime rib lasts in the refrigerator? 

Knowing and planning for the time you have for different cuts of steak is crucial.

It stops wastage and ensures you have the freshest meat. 

Plus prime rib is an expensive cut so you don’t want to let it go bad and waste it!

The storage conditions are similar for most pieces of meat.

But is there any exception for a delicious prime rib roast?


Keeping a Prime Rib Refrigerated – How Long Do I Have?

You can keep prime rib in the refrigerator for 3 days. 

However, they are some ways in which you can preserve it and hold it for longer. 

One of the special techniques is dry aging.

But more of that later!

Below is some food for thought when refrigerating a rib roast.

Especially if you plan to do so for an extended period of time.


Is the Prime Rib Defrosted & Past the Sell-by Date?

Frozen food will keep up to 3 months when stored below 0°F.

Freezing for extended periods of time?

This will likely go over the expiry date on the original store packaging.

Defrosted meat is also likely to deteriorate more quicker.

As the moisture level in the muscle fibers reduces.

Have you frozen the prime rib and it is past the sell-by-date?

Cook or smoke your prime rib on the day it has fully defrosted.


Is the Prime Rib Refrigerated in Airtight Conditions?

A fresh beef rib roast will last 3 days in refrigeration between 3°F – 39°F.

These cold temperatures stop dangerous bacteria from multiplying.

Controlling air exposure is also key when refrigerating meat.

Leave in the original packaging or wrap tightly with plastic wrap.

Air can carry bacteria, change the temperature, and dry out the meat proteins.

Aged Beef

Aging meat in a controlled environment is common for beef cuts.

It concentrates the beefy flavor and gives it a longer shelf life.

Think of it like a mature cheese.

A consistent temperature in low humidity is the preferred condition.

Protected in a cheesecloth, bactcanle forms on the outside of the prime rib.

But this is the opposite of the bad bacteria which makes you ill.

Properly dry-aged meat can stay refrigerated for up to 40 days.

Note: Successful aging of meat is a lengthy process that requires careful consideration.

You can’t just leave it in the back of your main refrigerator and hope for the best.

It requires constant monitoring of the right temperature.

Plus low humidity in a sterile environment.


Dry-Age Method for Pieces of Beef

– Buy or prepare a fridge that you only use to dry-age.

– Wrap the prime rib tightly in 3 layers of cheesecloth.

– Set the temp to 10°F.

– Replace the cheesecloth every 3 days.

– Do not open the refrigerator door during these 3 days.

How to Store a Refrigerated Prime Rib Before Cooking

Figure out how long you plan to store the prime rib.

Remember that USDA choice beef is expensive.

Even more so from a specialty butcher.

Within 3 Days

– Place on a roasting rack at the bottom of the fridge in the original packaging.

– Cook within 3 days.

Within 1 Month

– Dry or wet age the prime-graded beef as per above.

– Cook within 1 month.

Within 3 Months

– Wrap or keep the beef packaged and place it in the freezer.

– Defrost in the refrigerator 2 days before cooking.

– Cook on the day of defrosting, within 3 months.

Note: Technically meat can be frozen ‘forever’…

But longer than 3 months and you risk freezer burn on your chunk of meat!

Food Safety Notes

– Be conscious of contamination with raw food.

– Do not leave a raw beef roast out of the refrigerator for more than 60 minutes.

– Pay close attention if you are planning on aging, as per the directions above.

– The internal temperature for a prime rib should be at least 125°F for rare.


How to Tell if My Prime Rib Roast Has Gone Bad

Below are indicators you have a bad beef roast!

Air Exposure

Did you remove the prime rib from the original package?

Or have noticed a breach in the seal?

Exposure to air accelerates the growth of bacteria in fresh meat.

Check the packaging for any defects before refrigerating.

Always store in airtight conditions.

Texture of the Prime Rib Roast

If you are still not sure then check for a slimy texture on the prime rib.

Does it have an overly sticky texture?

This is an obvious sign of rotten meat!

Air exposure can also cause moisture loss.

This can be indicated by dry and hard meat.


The Color of Bad Beef Meat

The rule of thumb for the color of prime rib is a white fat cap and red muscle meat.

A brownish or grey color is not what you want to see.

Inspect for signs of discoloration in raw meat carefully.


The Color of Properly Dry-Aged Meat

Dry-aged beef will have discoloration on the outside.

It might even look moldy!

Cut away the outside that was exposed to air.

The meat will be a deep red.


Smelly Signs of Spoilage

Probably the most effective way to know if any meat products are bad.

A foul odor or sour smell is hard to miss.

Raw meat that is off has a definitive smell that stinks of rotten eggs.

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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