Prime Rib vs. Ribeye: What’s The Difference?

prime rib and ribeye steak

Prime rib vs. ribeye steak: What is the difference, and which should you choose? Prime rib is a bone-in roast from the beef rib primal cut, while ribeye steak is a cut from the roast at the top of the rib primal. Ribeye steak is essentially a cut trimmed and prepared from rib roast for pan-searing, grilling, or broiling. It primarly contains a longissimus dorsi muscle. In contrast, prime rib is a large roasting joint with abundant marbling served for a group of people. Nevertheless, both cuts are from the same primal cut and similar.

You may think that both the prime rib and the ribeye steaks are identical in terms of flavor and texture, but that is not exactly true. They are slightly different. This article will provide brief information about both cuts and the main differences.

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The Difference Between a Prime Rib and a Ribeye Steak

The Difference Between a Prime rib and a Ribeye steak

The Difference in Flavor

Prime rib has more marbling, fat cap, connective tissue, and bone-attached, making it a more flavorful cut. On the other hand, rib-eye steak is trimmed, leaving it with less marbling. It does not have a lip or bone, which makes steak juicier and packed with flavor. Nonetheless, ribeye steak has a rich flavor; however not as good as a prime rib roast.

The Difference in Texture

Both cuts have a very similar texture. However, since prime rib is fatter, it has a slight edge. It has a buttery smooth texture and is a bit more tender when cooked properly. Ribeye steak has a smooth buttery texture, especially compared to other steak cuts; however, the marbling in the prime rib makes it a better option regarding texture.

The Difference in Cost

The entire rib roast is more expensive because it’s a much larger cut. However, pound-for-pound ribeye cut costs a bit more. Rib-eye steak can cost around $30 per pound depending on the vendor and many other factors, while the prime rib can cost about $220 for an 8-pound cut.

Differences in Cooking

Both the prime rib and the ribeye steak benefit from different cooking methods. While ribeye steak should be cooked hot and fast on a grill or cast-iron skillet. Prime rib is best when roasted or cooked on a grill.

Ribeye Steak: Brief Overview

Ribeye Steak Brief Overview

What part of the cow does Ribeye steak come from? Ribeye steak is from the beef rib primal. It’s located between the chuck and the loin and spans from ribs six through twelve. Ribeye steak can come bone-in or boneless. The bone-in version is called a rib steak, while the boneless version is a ribeye steak. The primary muscle running through the ribeye steak is the longissimus dorsi muscle. It’s relatively inactive; therefore, it’s tender and collects more intramuscular fat.

How does Ribeye steak taste? Ribeye steak has a rich beefy flavor because it contains a good amount of marbling. It’s an incredibly juicy and flavorful piece of meat, especially when cooked on a charcoal grill.

What is the texture of Ribeye steak? Ribeye steak has a smooth buttery texture. The longissimus dorsi muscle is relatively inactive; therefore, the meat is tender. The central eye of the steak is smooth and delicate, while spinalis dorsi section has a looser grain.

How to cook Ribeye steak? The best way to cook ribeye steak is hot and fast on a grill or pan. Alternatively, you can cook the steak in the oven under the broiler. Bring steak to room temperature before cooking. Leave it on a counter for at least 30 minutes. It’ll allow the steak to cook evenly. Season the steak with a generous amount of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Preheat the pan or the grill until smoking hot (at least 450 degrees Fahrenheit). Pat steak dry before searing. Once there’s enough heat to sear the steak, place it on a grill or pan and give it a nice sear on both sides for about 2 minutes on each side. Once the caramelized crust is formed, turn the heat to medium. Move it to an indirect heat side of the grill and continue cooking to the desired doneness. When cooking steak on medium heat, flip it every few minutes and check its internal temperature. Steak should be medium-rare or medium. Anything past medium, and the steak can become dry. Take the meat from the heat source when the internal temperature is 5° Fahrenheit below the desired temperature and leave it to rest. The steak will carry on cooking while at the same time becoming more juicy and tender.

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How much does Ribeye steak cost? Ribeye steak is one of the best steak cuts; therefore, it’s costly, starting at around $30 per pound, depending on the vendor.

Where can you buy Ribeye steak? You can purchase ribeye steak at a supermarket, local butcher shop, or specialized online store.

Ribeye steak is also known as a beauty steak, Delmonico, Spencer, sarket steak, or a Scotch fillet.

Prime Rib: Brief Overview

Prime Rib Brief Overview

What part of the cow does Prime Rib come from? Prime rib is a beef cut from the primal rib section. It’s also known as a standing rib roast. It can contain up to seven ribs making it a large piece of meat. The term “Prime” is graded by the USDA (USDA prime). If it’s not labeled “prime’, it’s just a standing rib roast.

How does Prime Rib taste? Prime roast has a rich flavor because it contains a lot of intermuscular fat (marbling), connective tissue, and bone which adds flavor and moisture to the meat.

What is the texture of a Prime Rib? The primary muscle in the prime rib is not very much used; therefore, the steak is exceptionally tender and juicy. It also has an abundance of marbling and fat cap that helps tenderize muscle fibers when slow cooking.

How to cook Prime Rib? The best way to cook prime rib is to slow roast. Before cooking the meat, it’s essential to bring it to room temperature. It’ll allow the roast to cook evenly throughout. While the roast is coming to room temperature, season it generously with kosher salt and pepper. Preheat the cast-iron skillet and the oven. Sear the steak on a smoking hot skillet to produce a flavorful brown crust on the prime rib’s exterior. Place it on a wire rack above the baking sheet and slide it into a 275 degrees Fahrenheit preheated oven. Roast the beef to the desired temperature. However, be careful not to overcook the meat. It’s essential to use a meat thermometer and not cook it past medium. Once the roast is cooked, leave it to rest for 10-15 minutes. It’ll allow juices to redistribute throughout the meat’s interior, leaving it incredibly tender and juicy.

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How much does Prime Rib cost? Prime rib is an exceptionally well-marbled beef cut that is considered premium. The price starts at around $40 per pound, depending on the vendor. However, if looking for a dry-aged rib roast, it can be $50 or even higher per pound.

Where can you buy Prime Rib? Unfortunately, prime rib is not readily available at your local supermarket; therefore, the best place to look for it is in a butcher shop or online.

Prime rib is also known as beef rib roast or a standing rib roast.

Ribeye vs. Prime Rib: Which is Better?

Both ribeye steak and prime rib are incredibly tender and delicious meats. However, prime rib is slightly more flavorful and tender because it’s cooked with a bone and has quite a bit more marbling and connective tissue. It’s a centerpiece of a dinner table, and when cooked properly, it’s one of the best steak cuts.

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Is a prime rib the same as a ribeye?

Both prime rib and ribeye come from the same area of the cow. However, while the prime rib is a large piece of meat containing around seven ribs, the ribeye steak is trimmed and a much smaller part of the rib roast. Usually, ribeye steak comes without a rib bone.

Which is more expensive prime rib or ribeye?

Pound for pound, both steaks are very similarly priced. Ribeye is a dollar or two more expensive, depending on the vendor. However, since prime rib is a much larger cut, you’ll pay quite a bit more.

Renaldas Kaveckas
Renaldas Kaveckas
Renaldas Kaveckas is an accomplished chef with over a decade of experience in the culinary world, having worked in esteemed, high-end restaurants across Europe. With a talent for combining traditional techniques and innovative flair, Renaldas has refined his signature style under the mentorship of respected European chefs. Recently, Renaldas has expanded his impact beyond the kitchen by sharing his expertise through his online platform. Dedicated to inspiring culinary professionals and food enthusiasts, he offers expert advice, innovative recipes, and insightful commentary on the latest gastronomic trends.
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