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Which to Choose Prime Rib or Ribeye at a Steakhouse?

Steak has many cuts and it may be difficult to understand the differences and uniqueness that each cut has. Prime rib and ribeye are examples of cuts that may be easily confused because of their slight similarity. It is therefore important to note that these two cuts have different appearances, tastes and have different methods of preparations.

The prime rib and the ribeye are both cut from the exact same part of beef known as the primal cut. The section from the cow is what is then termed as the primal rib section. There are eight other primal cuts of beef. This similarity is what may majorly brings in confusion between the two leaving one with uncertainty on which option to choose when at a steakhouse. This article gives the differences between prime rib and ribeye steaks.

What is Prime Rib?

A large prime rib cut of beef roasted on a cutting board with salt and rosemary

The alternative name for this cut is a standing rib roast. It consists of a big section that has up to seven ribs from the primal rib area. It has ample amounts of fat that melt down when cooked keeping the meat tender. These are larger than the ribeye because it contains the ribeye and the bone.

What is Ribeye?

With many names such as ribeye or rib steak, the ribeye is cut from the prime rib. A single prime rib can be cut into seven different ribeye steaks. For it to become ribeye, the steak has to be cut before it is cooked. It is mostly obtained between the 6th and 12th rib thus a marbled slice of the Longissimus Dorsi muscle. In the ribeye is also, where you can obtain the Spinalis Dorsi, a tender rib cap that is very flavorful.

  • Cost of Prime Rib vs Ribeye

There are two ways of comparing the costs between these two cuts. The first one is if the total general cost is considered. On this scale, the prime rib will be more expensive than the ribeye. This is because, the prime rib consisting of more than one rib, is a bigger cut of meat than the ribeye. The second method is if the comparison is done per pound of each meat using the scale. Ribeye is more expensive than prime rib because a lot of work is put into its preparation. It includes careful cutting and removal of bones, costing more time and energy. The steakhouse of choice is also a major factor in this comparison because, in some, a pound of ribeye might be cheaper than a pound of prime rib.

  • Texture of Prime Rib vs Ribeye

The prime rib and ribeye come from the same part of a cow. This means that there is little difference in their flavor.  Each of these two has a rich beefy flavor as a result of the ample fat and muscle content. In steak preparation, the bones play a big role in terms of flavor. The prime rib contains more bone and fat than the ribeye hence, it may have a slight edge over the ribeye. For the ribeye, a bone-in will have a slightly enhanced flavor than the bone-out ribeye. The prime rib may also have different flavors because exploration in terms of cooking methods is possible. The variations may include sear or even broil.

  • Texture of Prime Rib vs Ribeye

The general texture of these two is also the same because of being cut from the same part. The method of cooking however brings about the difference. For prime rib, it is seared and then slowly roasted under low heat. Thus, it will be tenderer. Ribeye is mostly pan-seared or reverse-seared making them more charred.

How They are Graded

Prime rib may be confusing because of the term prime, which refers to the cut, not the grade. A prime rib may therefore be USDA graded prime, choice, or select. For ribeye, the terms are more straightforward. For instance, prime ribeye is graded prime while a choice ribeye is graded choice. Specifying the type of grade desired is therefore important when ordering.

Prime is therefore a large slice of rib roast while ribeye is obtained from the prime rib. This means that ribeye will give a smaller cut of the best portion while prime rib will give the larger cut. Both prime rib and ribeye will give a rewarding steak meal full of flavor. This is despite the fact that they may show differences in terms of their pricing, flavor, and texture and because they each have their own unique purpose.

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