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Can you dry brine a beef roast?

What is Dry Brining?

Dry brining is a technique used to season and tenderize meat before cooking. It involves rubbing a salt-based mixture directly onto the surface of the meat and allowing it to sit uncovered in the refrigerator for several hours or up to a couple days. The salt draws moisture out of the meat while also dissolving and re-penetrating it, resulting in a seasoned, tender, and juicy finished product. Dry brining can be used on various cuts of meat, including roasts, steaks, chops, and poultry.

Benefits of Dry Brining Beef Roast

There are several benefits to dry brining a beef roast:

  • Improves Tenderness – The salt in the dry brine helps break down muscle fibers and connective tissue, making the meat more tender.
  • Enhances Flavor – Dry brining allows seasonings to thoroughly penetrate and flavor the meat.
  • Retains Moisture – While some moisture is initially drawn out, it gets reabsorbed later, keeping the meat juicy.
  • Concentrates Flavors – With less moisture, the natural flavors of the meat become more concentrated.
  • Formation of Savory Crust – The dry surface that results from dry brining helps form a flavorful, browned crust when roasted.

Overall, dry brining makes beef roasts more tender, flavorful, and juicy.

How to Dry Brine a Beef Roast

Dry brining a beef roast is simple but does require some advance planning since the meat needs to sit for 12-48 hours. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Choose a Roast – Opt for a well-marbled roast like ribeye, chuck, or sirloin tip.
  2. Make a Dry Brine – Whisk together kosher salt, brown sugar, spices, and herbs. Use a ratio of around 1 teaspoon salt per 1 pound of meat.
  3. Generously Coat – Rub the dry brine all over the roast, covering all surfaces evenly.
  4. Refrigerate – Place the roast on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate 12-48 hours.
  5. Rinse – Rinse the roast and pat it dry with paper towels before cooking.
  6. Roast – Roast the brined meat until it reaches your desired doneness, basting periodically.
  7. Rest and Slice – Let rest 10 minutes before slicing thinly against the grain to serve.

You can customize the dry brine spice mix to suit your tastes. Common additions include pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dry mustard, dried rosemary, and dried thyme.

Dry Brine Recipes for Beef Roasts

Here are some recommended dry brine mixes for beef roasts:

Basic Beef Dry Brine

  • 1⁄4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Steakhouse-Style Dry Brine

  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1⁄2 tsp dry mustard

Herb-Crusted Dry Brine

  • 1⁄4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tsp garlic powder

Experiment with different spice combinations until you find your favorite dry brine for beef roasts. Apply it 1-2 days before cooking for best results.

Dry Brined Beef Roast Cooking Times

Beef roast size and type affect cooking times. Use these roast cooking times as a general guide when dry brining beef roasts:

Roast Cut Roast Weight Uncooked Total Time
Rib Roast 4 to 6 pounds 2 to 3 hours
Ribeye Roast 3 to 4 pounds 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours
Sirloin Tip Roast 3 to 4 pounds 1 1/2 to 2 hours
Tri-Tip Roast 2 to 3 pounds 1 to 1 1/2 hours

Roast to an internal temperature of 145°F for medium-rare or 160°F for medium doneness. Always let roasts rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.

Tips for Dry Brining Beef Roast

Follow these tips for best results when dry brining beef roast:

  • Pat the roast very dry before brining – this helps the salt and spices adhere evenly.
  • Use kosher salt for dry brining – it disperses best on meat.
  • Apply an even thick coating of the dry brine.
  • Let meat sit out 30 minutes after brining before refrigerating – this helps the salt penetrate further.
  • Place meat on a wire rack over a sheet pan while brining – this exposes all surfaces to air.
  • Rinse meat and pat very dry before cooking – this removes excess salt.
  • Cook low and slow, basting as you go – this keeps the meat moist.

With the right technique, dry brining can take your beef roasts to the next level of flavor and tenderness.


Dry brining is a highly effective technique for seasoning and tenderizing beef roasts. The salt in the brine helps break down muscle fibers while also enhancing flavor and moisture retention. Applying a flavorful dry brine mix to a roast 1-2 days before cooking allows time for the seasonings to thoroughly penetrate. Follow the guide above for tips on how to dry brine beef roast and experience superior texture and taste. With minimal effort, you can take inexpensive roasts from tough to incredibly tender and flavorful.