If your idea of the perfect meal involves a steak seared to perfection, then fire up the grill—and keep reading. We’re serving up all there is to know about prime rib versus ribeye steak, as well as the best cooking tips and recipes to make the most of these two flavorful beef cuts.
Here’s your primer on prime rib. Also known as a standing rib roast, this popular holiday cut comes from the same part of the cow as the ribeye: the rib section. A cow has 13 ribs per side, and butchers have a system of identifying each rib in ascending order from the front of the cow to the back.
Ribs in the 6 to 12 group are sold as prime rib, but just because the word “prime” is in the name doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s USDA Prime, which is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s highest quality grade. The USDA Prime label indicates that the meat is heavily marbled with about 10 percent intramuscular fat (the white streaks that make every bite extra flavorful). The second highest beef grade is “Choice,” used for moderately marbled meat. Be sure to check with your butcher before you buy!
You might know the ribeye by one of its many other names, such as beauty steak, Delmonico steak, Spencer steak, and scotch fillet. Whatever you call it, ribeye steak is the center (and arguably the best) portion of the rib steak. It’s typically highly marbled with fat, which is why this cut is so delicious. But the distinction between prime rib and ribeye is a matter of cooking: To be considered a ribeye, the steak must be cut before the roast is cooked.
All your burning prime rib questions are about to get answered.
A 4-ounce serving has approximately 453 calories, and an 8-ounce portion clocks in at 900 calories.
We’ll chat more about how to cook prime rib below, but the basic rule of thumb for cooking at a low temperature is 17 to 20 minutes per pound in an oven heated to 325°F.
At the meat counter you can go all in and opt for the entire prime rib, or choose between two options for a smaller cut: the first cut and the second cut. The first cut is made up of ribs 10 to 12, which are uniform and tender, and generally thought to be the best choice. The second cut is still a good option, but the cut includes ribs 6 to 9 and is closer to the chuck roast, which means it’ll include a few different muscles and therefore won’t be as uniform in size or appearance. But with more fatty pockets, it’s a bit more flavorful!
A seven-rib roast can clock in at anywhere between 14 and 22 pounds, which is why butchers tend to divide it into two smaller roasts (see question above). No matter which option you choose, aim for about one pound per person.
Need to brush up on your ribeye knowledge? Read through our quick Q&A!
A 4-ounce serving has approximately 300 calories, and an 8-ounce portion has about 600 calories.
The answer to this question entirely depends on how you’re planning your meal. If the ribeye is the main event, then you’ll want to have about ½-pound per person (about 8 ounces each). But if you’re planning to slice it up and serve it alongside lots of side dishes and salads (maybe at a Paleo-friendly dinner party), then opt for smaller portions, like a quarter to half a pound per person.
The difference is exactly how it sounds. A bone-in ribeye still has the bone attached to the flesh, which is believed to help insulate the meat as it cooks and lock in extra flavor. You can also save the bones and use them to make homemade beef broth.
Here are two ways to cook prime rib.
And, a couple of extra cooking tips:
When you’re dealing with a prime cut, it’s a good idea to know how to cook the best cuts of meat. A ribeye lends itself perfectly to pan-searing. Steaks should start off extra dry—so pat them well with paper towels, then season generously with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron pan, add a slick of cooking oil, then cook, flipping frequently, until the internal temperature reaches 135°F. Depending on the thickness, the ideal cook time for a ribeye steak might range anywhere between 6 to 12 minutes. When they’re cooked to your liking, let the steaks rest, tented with foil, for 10 minutes before carving.
Get cooking with these prime rib recipes that’ll be your next dinner party star.
Blogger Tieghan Gerard of Half-Baked Harvest had us at coffee rub, but it gets even better when a knob of roasted garlic and gorgonzola butter melts over each piece.
Add a Pinch blogger Robyn Stone keeps thing simple with an easy-as-pie recipe that makes liberal use of salt and pepper for a crust your guests will swoon over.
With little more than salt and pepper, you’re well on your way to cooking your best ribeye yet.
Date night in? Make this recipe your new go-to. Seared in a hot cast iron pan with a mix of herbs and spices, shallots, and butter, a ribeye steak is perfect served alongside your favorite veg or starch, like glazed carrots or mashed potatoes.
This impressive dinner is straight from Chef Sam Kass’s cookbook, Eat a Little Better. A former White House chef, he cooked for the first family and worked on the country’s nutrition policy programs. This steak recipe is characteristic of what you’ll find inside the book, because Kass is all about shifting the portion paradigm. “Eat less beef, but when you do, choose the beefiest, most luscious stuff you can find,” he says.
Whether you end up with prime rib or ribeye, give ‘em the rub with these top products to really get things sizzling in the kitchen.
Pepper and steak are basically best buds. Already ground for extra convenience, this pouch is ready to party.
This finishing salt does wonders. After you slice the ribeye, sprinkle a few flakes over the top to really bring out the flavors.
Go coastal with a bold herb blend of rosemary, garlic, onion, and oregano. It’s versatile enough to go on grilled veggies, too.
Prep your steak Paleo-style. This sauce features Asian-inspired ingredients like ginger, sesame oil, and coconut aminos, a winning flavor combo for steak salads.
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