“How To Cook A Steak” was Ree Drummond’s debut blog entry. Her preferred cut? The ribeye steak. Ask Ladd Drummond about prime rib roasts and ribeye steaks, which are among the most prized and adored types of beef. Both cuts are deliciously rich and soft, and while they can be pricy, you definitely get what you paid for: one bite of either will tell you everything you need to know.
However, if you’re debating between prime rib and ribeye for your next family gathering or barbeque, you’re undoubtedly wondering what the difference is. It depends on how many people you’ll be serving, how much time you have, and where you’ll be cooking.
For example, ribeye steak is so delicious that Ree only seasons it with seasoned salt and lemon-pepper spice (plus butter!). Ree’s Prime Rib, on the other hand, is more of a special occasion dish—and a holiday table staple. With either of these cuts, you can’t go wrong.
Is ribeye similar to prime rib?
Though prime rib is sometimes served as a “steak” or a piece of meat in restaurants, it is always prepared as part of a bigger roast (known as a standing rib roast) before being divided into servings. Overcooking this special-occasion cut would be a disaster of epic proportions, so arm yourself with a meat thermometer or take the measures necessary to watch this roast until it’s just perfect, as Ree points out.
Because the ribeye is cut from a prime rib roast (or standing rib roast) before it is cooked, it is classed as a steak. In a nutshell, prime rib always starts out as a roast, but a ribeye always starts out as a steak. Both, however, are made from the same beef cut.
Butchers in the United States divide a cow into eight sections, known as primal cuts. Ribeyes and prime rib are both made from the rib primal cut, which is found in the cow’s forequarter, high on the back where the muscle doesn’t get much movement, resulting in the desirable fatty marbling.
Ribeye steaks and prime rib (also known as standing rib roasts) are sub-primal cuts of a rib primal cut, which means they’re secondary cuts of meat after the cow has been broken down. (Fun fact #2: A bone-in ribeye with an exposed rib bone is known as a “cowboy steak.”)
Which is better, prime rib or ribeye?
It’s not so much that one cut is better—or worse—than the other; rather, even if they’re from the same cut of beef, they’re prepared differently and serve distinct reasons. Ribeye steaks are delicious seared on a hot cast-iron pan or grilled: They should be swiftly cooked over high heat. On the other hand, prime rib is prepared like a roast: It’s usually seared first to form a crust, then moved to the oven to continue cooking slowly.
Prime rib is better suited for a holiday table with a large number of mouths to feed and the time and care required to prepare it properly; ribeyes are ready in minutes and are probably better suited for date night or a small BBQ. Keep in mind that the flavor of these cuts varies a lot depending on how they’re cooked: Slow-cooking prime rib produces a more soft piece of beef, whereas a seared steak may appeal to individuals who want a crisp, crackly char.
Prime rib or ribeye: which is more expensive?
Though the ultimate answer to this question will vary depending on your grocer or butcher, prime rib is the cut that requires a deeper pocket, if only because the final dish usually feeds more than one person and may include a rib or even seven. Ribeyes, on the other hand, are among the most expensive steaks due to their delectable features.