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What’s The Difference Between Prime Rib And Rib Eye?

The fact that the names of the two cuts contain ribs is a clear indication that they have something in common. And yes, just like the name suggests, they are cut from the rib section of a cow. However, this fact is not enough to make them similar in all aspects. They are different in all other aspects including texture, flavor, size and appearance, and the process of cooking each cut. Understanding the difference between a prime rib and rib-eye can help make your experience with steak blissful. If you have been torn between ordering prime rib or rib eye, this article explains the difference between these two amazing cuts.

  • Appearance and Size

In terms of appearance, the prime rib can be described as a big chunk of steak that is heavily marbled and full of juices.

Homemade Grass Fed Prime Rib Roast with Herbs and Spices
This is so because the steak is thicker and has more fats than a rib eye. On the other hand, the rib eye is smaller and takes the shape of a small-cap since it is cut from a prime rib. This, therefore, means that a single prime rib steak can produce one or two pieces of rib eye. Often, rib eye comes as a lean cap of steak, without a bone, and at times, it will come with a curved small and thin bone that takes the shape of a guitar.

  • Texture and Juices

These two steaks are considerably leaner and softer than other types of steak like sirloin. This is because the rib section of a cow is less involved in the movement, while the rear is frequently involved whenever the cow is moving. For this reason, the rear develops muscles than the rib section. The more muscle fibers a steak has, the tougher and drier it is and this means that both prime and ribeye steaks are softer and juicer. Ribeye is a little tougher and drier than prime rib since it comes with a bone, which contains some tendons that make the surrounding areas tougher and less marbled.

  • Taste and Flavor

The fact that rib eye is a little tougher makes it less marbled than its mother source, prime rib. This is so since when the white marbling is heated, it turns into the fatty juices you see trickling down the cut when cooked. On the other hand, the less marbled and tougher cut, the rib eye is usually a little drier and does not have the fats flowing out of them. If you are the type that fantasizes about juices trickling down a piece of steak, consider going the prime rib way. However, if you are or have been on diet and do not like the look and feel of a juicy cut, then consider ordering a rib eye. This one is usually less marbled and has fewer juices flowing out of them.

  • Cost of the Cuts

Having seen that rib eye comes from prime rib, a single prime rib can produce several rib eyes. This automatically makes prime rib more expensive than rib eye since it is heavier. In addition, as we all know, the cost of meat is usually determined by its weight; if at all you are buying the cut to cook it at home. However, if you are going to eat the cut at a steakhouse, you might find that rib eye is more expensive than prime rib since it takes a lot of time to cook. The price of both of these cuts varies from one steakhouse to the next and will depend on the breeding of the cow from which the cut is harvested.

  • Cooking the Cuts

Even though prime rib and rib-eye steaks come from the same region of a cow, they are different in terms of how they are cooked. Since rib eye is thinner and smaller, it should be cooked at slower but steady temperatures for longer. Having seasoned the cut, reverse sear it at 275℉ until the outside forms a brown crust. When cooking prime rib, season it and sear it in the oven for a few minutes before finishing off by grilling.

Finding a good steakhouse with chefs that know how to prepare a steak that satisfies your taste buds is not easy. Whether you are planning on ordering or taking your favorite cut home, stick to your steakhouse of choice so that you do not go through the same hassles of finding one. Best of luck as you strive to satisfy your taste buds!

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