Savory, juicy, and delicious. These are three words that describe both prime rib and ribeye steaks. But are they the same thing? Don’t they both come from a cow’s rib?
The Short Answer:
Both prime rib and rib eye come from the same area of the cow, but they are completely different cuts of meat with different textures and flavors.
The Long Answer:
Prime rib and ribeye have more separating them than a massive price gap. These two cuts of steak come from the same area but the way that they are cut makes a huge difference in both their taste and texture.
A ribeye is cut from the same part of the cow that we get prime rib from, but it is trimmed off of the bone, leaving a lot of fat and excess meat behind. It is cut from a cylindrical muscle near the cow’s rib. Technically, a ribeye can be cut from less prime areas of the cow.
Prime rib, also known as a standing rib roast, is taken from the same muscle as ribeye, but it includes the all-important rib bone. A prime rib is cut from the best part of the rib, most often the space between bones seven and 11. It is surrounded by a marbled cap of meat that has a far richer and more flavorful taste than a ribeye. Prime rib also has more natural moisture than a ribeye because it is cooked on the bone.
Because of this, a prime rib is softer and moister than a ribeye. On the other side of the coin, a ribeye steak tends to be tougher, particularly if it was cut from one of those less prime areas of the cow. That toughness comes from a part of the cow that sees more regular exercise.
In terms of flavor, prime rib has the ribeye beat once again. The presence of the bone and additional fat content creates a more flavorful meat. When fat is marbled around the rib, as it is with prime rib, you get a buttery flavor that is sure to please. A ribeye is milder to the taste but still packs a powerful taste.
Because ribeye is cut from prime rib, all prime rib contains a ribeye steak within. If cost is no option and you’re trying to decide between the two, always go with the prime rib, as it contains the best of both worlds.
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