Sometimes only the best will do, and when you are looking for the very finest steak to serve for dinner you want to choose between Prime Rib Vs Ribeye. These two cuts of beef are considered the best-of-the-best, with perfect marbling, a great fat-to-meat ration, and incredible flavor. Let’s compare these two cuts of meat.
Whether you are choosing between ribeye vs prime rib for the holidays or special occasion, it’s important to know the differences between the two popular cuts of primal meat.
❓ What is Prime Rib (Standing Rib Roast)?
This beef primal rib section cut is top of the line beef. It doesn’t get any better than this. Cooked as low and slow as possible, prime rib comes out incredibly tender and full of flavor with a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Prime Rib is also called standing rib roast, rolled-rib roast (when it is a perfectly rolled prime rib removed from the bone to allow for even cooking), or ribeye roast when it is taken from the very center of the prime rib but kept in roast form.
Standing Rib Roast and Prime Rib are often used synonomously and can be confusing until you think of it this way. If you are at a restaurant and order Prime Rib, you will be getting a slice of the standing rib roast.
Prime rib and ribeye are closely related as ribeye steaks are taken from the very center of the rib roast. Taken from the fatty section of 7 back ribs of a cow, between the chuck roast and the short loin.
A whole intact prime rib may contain up to 25 pounds of meat, but it is more typical for the it to be divided in halves or thirds before it is sold for anywhere between 8 and 13 pounds. Because of its size, it is often associated with holiday gatherings and special events. Don’t worry about getting one too large as it’s easy to reheat prime rib.
Note: The word “prime” rib in this case does not refer to the USDA grading system. It is important that you still look for “prime” prime rib or “choice” prime rib which delineates quality.
🙋 What is Ribeye?
Most people consider ribeye steaks to be the very best part of the prime rib. It is a cut of meat taken from between the ribs at the very center of the prime rib and is considered the best steak money can buy. The flavor is rich and intense while the texture is sublime when properly cooked.
Ribeye may also be called boneless rib steak, entrecot (Spanish) and Faux filet (French Canadian).
You will find bone-in ribeyes, and if you ask the butcher, they can leave the rib extended, creating a cowboy ribeye.
🥩 Difference Between Prime Rib and Ribeye
|Cost||>$30 per pound||Roughly $15 per pound.|
|Texture||Tender and Buttery||Tender and Buttery|
|Flavor||Rich and Intense||Rich and Intense|
|Thickness||Up to 24″ thick. Rack of Ribs||½”-2″ thick. Single Steaks.|
|Best Finish||Medium to Medium-Rare.||Sear to medium or medium rare.|
|Cut||9th-12th ribs of a cow bone-in||Center of Prime Rib. Boneless.|
|Size||8 Pound Roast||1 Pound Packages|
|Cooking Methods||Slow Smoke or Slow Roast||Grill or Pan Sear|
🍖 How to Choose
When choosing between prime rib and ribeye one of the considerations is cost. Prime rib is technically cheaper, but because it comes in rack form you may end up having to buy a lot more than initially planned, especially if it has the bone-in.
For prime rib as your main dish, you need to plan about one pound per person. For ribeye, plan for a half pound per person. The difference is because of the bone in prime rib. All of these factors impact your final cost.
Another consideration as you make your choice is cooking method. Which will work better for your dinner or event? A prime rib needs to roast for about fifteen minutes per pound in an oven or smoker. Ribeye is typically grilled or smoked in a fraction of the time but requires a more hands on approach. Will you have someone dedicated to the grill or is it better to have the meat in the oven?
Because the taste, texture, and flavors are virtually the same, these comparison points are rarely a factor when you make the choice.
One final thing to consider is how your dinner guests will respond to eating meat on ribs vs boneless ribeye.
Make sure you know all the tell-tale clues if How to Tell if a Steak is Bad. Just because it looks ok isn’t enough.
🍳 How to Cook
Prime Rib is usually seared and then cooked in roast form at a low-and-slow medium finish. It has slightly more connective tissue and fat marbling than ribeye steaks and all of that needs to render down.
To sear the prime rib, start with the oven at a much higher temp or sear the exterior on a very hot skillet. Once the outside of the meat has seared nicely, lower the oven temperature to allow a low-and-slow roast.
As the meat cooks, the marbling of fat renders and the seared exterior keeps it tender and juicy. This is also where the flavor comes from. Prime rib is often served with aus jus or with horseradish to add moisture and is cut into servings at the table or buffet.
Tent the meat and let it rest for a minimum of fifteen minutes before slicing.
We love to Smoke Prime Rib that simply melts in your mouth.
Sear your ribeyes on high heat and cook them fast as individual steaks, charring them slightly on the outside and serving them medium to medium rare right off the heat.
If you prefer, cook your rib steaks in a hot cast iron skillet or on a grill and both methods will yield amazing results. Print out the Grilling Times and Temperature Chart to make sure each steak comes out perfectly!
Use an instant read thermometer to cook your steak to the exact desired doneness. Remove the steak from the grill and let it rest while you gather your plateful of sides.
🍽️ How To Serve
Serve your ribeye steak or prime rib medium to medium rare to fully enjoy the rich beef flavor of this meat. Add a side of potatoes, salad, rolls, or roasted veggies like smoked asparagus to complete the meal. Pair your steak with a beautiful wine of choice.
Cut your leftover ribeye or prime rib into chunks and use it in a thousand different ways. Because it was cooked medium or medium rare, it will reheat beautifully and complement new dishes. Try using your leftover steak in a stir fry, soup, salad, pasta dish, sandwich, or taco. Dice up the meat, add new seasoning, and heat the meat through. This will kill off any bacteria that’s been accumulating. Here’s how to reheat prime rib for best results.
🔪 How to Store Leftovers
Beef that has been cooked medium or medium-rare is great for leftovers. You won’t have to worry about it becoming terribly overcooked during the reheating process. Save your leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for two or three days. If you cannot use it in that time frame, cut them into cubes and freeze in airtight containers to use later in stir-fry or on sandwiches, or even in soup. It will keep frozen for up to three months.
Both prime rib and ribeye are beautiful meat when cooked correctly. It would be hard to choose between the two and say one was the best. They serve different purposes.
No. Even though they come from exactly the same part of the cow, the two cuts of meat are different. Ribeyes are individual sliced steaks. Prime rib is a bone-in or boneless roast. The two meats are prepared very differently.
It depends on your definition of cheaper.
Prime Rib tends to be a bit cheaper per pound but it is more expensive in total because you have to buy at least 8 pounds of meat. If you are only buying for two or three people ribeye is definitely cheaper in total outlay of cash. In addition, prime rib is bone-in meat so you have to allow for more ounces per person. Eight pounds of prime rib will serve roughly 8 people, and and 8 pounds of ribeye will serve roughly 16 people because it is boneless meat. So in reality, ribeye may in fact be less costly overall. Here’s the math:
Let’s say you need to serve 8 people steak. You can purchase 8 pounds of prime rib and pay $200 if you find it for $25 per pound. Or, you can purchase 4 pounds of prime rib and pay $120 if you find it for $30 per pound. Of course, these prices vary by location and season, but the math plays out. Cost per pound does not necessarily equal cost per serving.