Ribeye Steak: From Cuts to Cooking Techniques

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  May 27, 2022

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Ribeye is a cut of beef from the rib section, known for its rich flavor and tenderness. It’s a primal cut, meaning it comes from the section of the cow closest to the head. The ribeye steak is the main part of the ribeye cut.

Let’s look at everything you need to know about this delicious cut of beef.

What is ribeye

In this post we'll cover:

Discovering the Ribeye Steak: A Guide to its Cut, Flavor, and Cooking

Ribeye steak is a high-quality cut of beef that comes from the rib section of a cow. It is known for its rich flavor, tenderness, and marbling, which is the fat that runs through the meat (here are some other meats to smoke). The ribeye steak is a part of the primal cut, which is the main section of the beef that gets sold to cooks and chefs.

What are the Parts of a Ribeye?

The ribeye steak is made up of three main parts:

  • The longissimus dorsi: This is the primary muscle that runs along the center of the steak (here’s how to cook it on your pellet grill). It is the most tender and flavorful part of the ribeye.
  • The spinalis dorsi: This is the strip of muscle that runs along the outside of the steak. It tends to be the most flavorful and tender part of the ribeye.
  • The ribeye cap: This is the piece of meat that contains the most fat and tends to be the most flavorful part of the ribeye.

Where Can I Buy Ribeye Steak?

Ribeye steak can be found at most grocery stores and butcher shops. It is typically labeled as ribeye steak or rib steak. It can be sold as bone-in or boneless, depending on your preference.

What is the Meaning of “Ribeye”?

The term “ribeye” is used to refer to the cut of beef that comes from the rib section of the cow. It is also sometimes referred to as a “rib steak” or “prime rib.” The name “ribeye” comes from the fact that the steak is cut from the rib section of the cow and has an “eye” of meat in the center.

What are the Tips for Cooking Ribeye Steak?

  • Let the steak come to room temperature before cooking.
  • Season the steak with salt and pepper before cooking.
  • Cook the steak on a hot grill or in a hot skillet.
  • Let the steak rest for a few minutes before serving.
  • Add butter and herbs to the steak as it cooks to add flavor.
  • Trim any excess fat from the steak before cooking.
  • Cook the steak closer to medium-rare to get the best flavor and tenderness.

What is the Internal Grain of Ribeye Steak?

The internal grain of ribeye steak runs perpendicular to the spine of the cow. This means that the muscle fibers run from the center of the steak out towards the edges.

What is the Difference Between Ribeye and Strip Steak?

The main difference between ribeye and strip steak is the location of the meat on the cow. Ribeye steak comes from the rib section of the cow, while strip steak comes from the loin section of the cow. Ribeye steak tends to be more tender and flavorful than strip steak because it contains more fat.

What’s the Flavor of Rib-Eye Steak?

Rib-eye steak tends to be pretty tender, thanks to the intramuscular marbling that runs through the meat. The steak is also typically trimmed of excess fat, which makes it easier to prepare and cook. The thickness of the steak can vary, but it is usually around 1-2 inches thick. The texture of the meat is pretty close to that of a strip steak, but the rib-eye tends to be a bit more tender.

How to Cook Rib-Eye Steak

Cooking a rib-eye steak is pretty easy, but it can be difficult to get it just right. Here are some tips to help you cook the perfect rib-eye steak:

  • Choose a steak that is at least 1 inch thick, as this will help it cook evenly.
  • Let the steak rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Season the steak with salt and pepper, or your favorite steak seasoning.
  • Heat a cast-iron skillet or grill to medium-high heat.
  • Cook the steak for about 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare, or until it reaches your desired level of doneness.
  • Let the steak rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Storing and Buying Rib-Eye Steak

Rib-eye steak is available in bone-in and boneless forms, and it is usually pretty easy to find at your local grocery store or butcher shop. When buying rib-eye steak, look for a piece of meat that has a nice, red color and plenty of marbling. To store rib-eye steak, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.

Get to Know the Different Parts of a Ribeye Steak

When it comes to cutting a ribeye steak, it’s important to know the different parts of this popular cut of beef. The ribeye is derived from the primal section of the cow called the beef rib. This section spans from ribs six through twelve and falls between the chuck (shoulder) and the loin. The ribeye is carved from the area between the short loin and the chuck, making it a flavorful and tender option.

The Ribeye’s Marbling and Fat Content

One of the reasons why the ribeye is so popular is because of its rich marbling. The ribeye naturally collects more intramuscular fat, creating the beautiful white lines of fat that give it a fantastic marbling unique to the ribeye. This marbling makes the ribeye a buttery and robust option for those who prefer a bolder flavor profile.

The Flavor Profile of a Ribeye Steak

The ribeye steak is a popular cut of beef because of its rich and flavorful taste. The ribeye has a bold and beefy flavor that is similar to the New York strip steak, but with more marbling and a richer taste. The ribeye is also a popular choice for grilling because it has a thicker cut that can stand up to high heat.

The Best Ways to Serve a Ribeye Steak

The ribeye steak is a versatile cut of beef that can be served in a variety of ways. Some popular options include:

  • Topped with a compound butter, such as garlic herb or chipotle lime
  • Served with a side of roasted vegetables or a baked potato
  • Paired with a bold red wine, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Malbec
  • Served with a hollandaise sauce or a chimichurri sauce for added flavor

No matter how you choose to serve your ribeye steak, it’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

The Many Varieties of Ribeye Steak

When it comes to ribeye steak, there are several different cuts to choose from. Here are some of the most common:

  • Center-Cut Ribeye: This is the most desired and usually the most expensive cut of ribeye. It comes from the center of the rib section and is known for its rich flavor and marbling.
  • Boneless Ribeye: This cut is great for those looking for a simpler steak that is easy to cook and eat. It is sold both with and without the cap muscle.
  • Cowboy Ribeye: This is a special cut of ribeye that is sold bone-in and is perfect for a special occasion. It is also sometimes called a “tomahawk” steak due to its long bone.
  • Ribeye Filet: This cut is situated at the end of the ribeye and is a nice, forgiving cut that pairs perfectly with a marinade or rub.

The Importance of Marbling and Fat

One of the key factors in the taste and texture of a ribeye steak is the amount of marbling and fat it contains. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Prime ribeyes have the most marbling and are the most flavorful, but they can also be the most expensive.
  • Choice ribeyes have less marbling than prime, but are still a good choice for those looking for a nice, juicy steak.
  • When cooking a ribeye, the fat covering the steak can be used to enhance the flavor. Try seasoning the fat with salt and pepper before grilling to create a crispy, flavorful crust.
  • If you prefer a leaner cut of meat, look for a ribeye that has less marbling and fat. The Dorsalis muscle is a good choice for this.

The Art of Cutting a Ribeye

When it comes to cutting a ribeye, it’s important to understand the section of the beef rib it comes from. The ribeye is carved from the primal section called the beef rib, which falls between the chuck and the loin and spans from ribs six through twelve. The muscle that makes up the ribeye is the longissimus dorsi, which runs from the animal’s spine to the ribs. The marbling, or the white lines of fat, is what creates the unique flavor and tenderness of the ribeye. When cutting a ribeye, it’s important to consider the orientation of the grain, which runs parallel to the spine. Cutting against the grain can result in a tougher, chewier piece of meat.

Cuts and Dishes Related to Ribeye

Ribeye is a great cut of meat for a variety of dishes. Here are some common cuts and dishes related to ribeye:

  • Prime rib: A prime rib (here’s how you might reheat it) roast is a large cut of ribeye that is cooked as a whole and then carved into individual servings.
  • Ribeye steak: A ribeye steak is a single serving of ribeye that is cooked and served as is.
  • Ribeye sandwich: Thinly sliced ribeye can be used to make a delicious sandwich.
  • Ribeye tacos: Ribeye can be sliced into small pieces and used as the meat in tacos.

The Benefit of Seeing the Internal Marbling

One of the benefits of cutting a ribeye is being able to see the internal marbling. This marbling is what creates the fantastic flavor and tenderness of the meat. By seeing the marbling, you can also determine the quality of the ribeye you are about to cook or serve.

The Chance to Create Unique Shapes and Pieces

Cutting a ribeye also gives you the chance to create unique shapes and pieces. Depending on the size of the ribeye, you can cut it into individual steaks or even smaller pieces for stir-fry or kebabs. The ends of the ribeye can also be used for dishes that require smaller cuts of meat.

Bone-In vs Boneless Ribeyes: Which One is Suited for Your Steak?

When it comes to ribeyes, there are two types of cuts: bone-in and boneless. The main difference between the two is, of course, the bones. Bone-in ribeyes have the rib bones still attached, while boneless ribeyes have had the bones removed. But what does this mean for your steak?

The Taste and Cooking of Bone-In vs Boneless Ribeyes

The bones in a bone-in ribeye can transfer flavor to the meat, making it more flavorful than boneless ribeyes. However, boneless ribeyes have less tissue and are less chewy, making them better suited for grilling. On the other hand, bone-in ribeyes have more muscle and are chewier, making them ideal for smoking.

Mastering the Art of Cooking a Perfect Ribeye Steak

Before you start cooking, make sure you have a good quality ribeye steak. Look for a steak that is well-marbled with fat, as this will give it flavor and tenderness. You can choose between bone-in or boneless ribeye steaks, depending on your preference.

Preparing the Ribeye Steak

To ensure that your ribeye steak is cooked to perfection, you need to prepare it properly. Follow these steps:

  • Remove the steak from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking to bring it to room temperature.
  • Pat the steak dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.
  • Season the steak with salt and pepper or your favorite steak seasoning.

Serving Suggestions

A perfectly cooked ribeye steak is delicious on its own, but you can also serve it with some tasty sides. Here are a few ideas:

  • Creamed spinach
  • Roasted potatoes
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Sauteed mushrooms

Tips and Tricks

Cooking a ribeye steak can be intimidating, but with a little practice, you’ll be a pro in no time. Here are some tips to help you get the perfect steak every time:

  • Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the steak. This will ensure that it’s cooked to your liking.
  • Don’t flip the steak too often. Let it sear on one side before turning it over.
  • Let the steak rest before slicing it. This will allow the juices to redistribute and make the steak more tender.
  • Experiment with different seasonings and cooking methods to find your favorite way to cook a ribeye steak.

Where to Find the Best Ribeye Steak: A Guide to Purchasing the Perfect Cut

When it comes to purchasing ribeye steak, there are several factors to consider to ensure that you get the best quality and satisfaction. These factors include:

  • Grade: The USDA grades beef based on its tenderness, juiciness, and flavor. The highest grade is Prime, followed by Choice and Select.
  • Cut: Ribeye steak is cut from the rib section of the beef and contains a richly marbled muscle known for its tenderness and flavor. The two most commonly available cuts are bone-in and boneless ribeye.
  • Thickness: The thickness of the steak will affect the cooking time and tenderness. A thicker steak is generally better for grilling or searing, while a thinner steak is good for pan-frying or broiling.
  • Fat content: Ribeye steak is known for its high fat content, which contributes to its flavor and tenderness. Look for a piece with even marbling throughout the meat.
  • Location: The location of the ribeye on the beef can also affect its tenderness and flavor. The center-cut ribeye is the most tender and flavorful, while the second cut is a little tougher and less flavorful.
  • Delivery: If you want to buy ribeye steak online, there are several options available. Some companies offer direct delivery to your door, while others offer delivery to a local store or restaurant.

Distinguishing Features of Ribeye Steak

Ribeye steak is known for its rich, buttery flavor and tender, smooth texture. Some of the distinguishing features of ribeye steak include:

  • Marbling: Ribeye steak is heavily marbled, which means that it contains small pockets of fat throughout the meat. This contributes to its tenderness and flavor.
  • Strip of fat: Ribeye steak contains a strip of fat that runs along the edge of the meat. This can be trimmed off before cooking or left on to add flavor and moisture.
  • Tomahawk cut: This is a style of ribeye steak that includes the entire rib bone, creating a dramatic presentation and superior flavor.
  • Kobe beef: Kobe beef is a type of beef that comes from the Wagyu breed of cattle and is known for its high tenderness and rich flavor.

Keeping Your Rib-Eye Steak Fresh: Storing Techniques

While rib-eye steak is a popular cut of beef, there are other cuts that you may want to store as well. Here are some tips for storing other cuts of beef:

  • Filet mignon and wagyu beef should be stored in the same way as rib-eye steak.
  • Roasts can be stored in the fridge for up to five days or frozen for up to six months.
  • Seared beef dishes can be stored in the fridge for up to three days or frozen for up to two months.

Storing Related Items

If you’re storing other items that are related to rib-eye steak, such as vegetables or side dishes, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Vegetables should be stored in the crisper drawer of the fridge, away from the rib-eye steak.
  • Side dishes should be stored in airtight containers to prevent any odors from affecting the steak’s flavor.
  • If you’re grilling the rib-eye steak, make sure to check the expiration date of any marinades or sauces you’re using to avoid any chance of mold build-up.

Remember, proper storing techniques are extremely important when it comes to preserving the quality of your rib-eye steak. By following these tips, you can ensure that your steak stays fresh and delicious for as long as possible.

Ribeye Steak FAQ: Your Ultimate Guide to Choosing and Preparing the Perfect Cut

The ribeye is a very tender cut of meat, containing more marbling than other cuts. This marbling adds flavor and juiciness to the meat, making it a favorite among beef lovers.

How do I choose the right ribeye?

Choosing the right ribeye can be difficult, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Look for a cut with a good amount of marbling, as this will add flavor and tenderness. Also, check the color of the meat – it should be a bright red color. Finally, consider the thickness of the cut – a thicker cut will be easier to cook to the right internal temperature.

What is the best way to cook a ribeye?

The best way to cook a ribeye is to start by bringing it to room temperature. Then, season it with salt and pepper and cook it in a hot pan or on a grill until it reaches your desired internal temperature. Let the steak rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

What is the recommended internal temperature for a ribeye?

The USDA recommends cooking ribeye steaks to an internal temperature of 145°F. This will ensure that the steak is cooked to a safe level while still remaining juicy and tender.

Is a bone-in or boneless ribeye better?

This is a matter of personal opinion, but many people believe that a bone-in ribeye has better flavor and is more tender. However, a boneless ribeye is easier to prepare and slice.

Is ribeye steak a good source of protein?

Yes, ribeye steak is a great source of protein. A 3-ounce serving of ribeye contains around 22 grams of protein.

What is the closest cut to ribeye steak?

The closest cut to ribeye steak is the rib steak, which is a bone-in ribeye. The two cuts are very similar in flavor and texture.

How long should I rest a ribeye after cooking?

It’s important to let a ribeye rest for a few minutes after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute. A good rule of thumb is to let the steak rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Why is it important to check the grain of the meat before cooking?

Checking the grain of the meat before cooking is important because it will help you determine the best way to slice the steak. Slicing against the grain will make the meat more tender, while slicing with the grain will make it tougher.

Is it hard to come by a good quality ribeye steak?

It can be difficult to find a good quality ribeye steak, but if you know what to look for and where to buy it, you should have no problem finding a great cut of meat. Look for a reputable butcher who sources their meat from high-quality farms, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about the meat.

What is the tip for reaching the perfect medium-rare ribeye?

The key to reaching the perfect medium-rare ribeye is to cook it to an internal temperature of 135°F and then let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving. This will allow the steak to continue cooking to the desired temperature while also allowing the juices to redistribute.


So there you have it- everything you need to know about ribeye steak. It’s a cut of beef from the rib section of a cow, known for its rich flavor and tenderness, and can be cooked in a variety of ways. I hope you’ve found this guide helpful and don’t forget to use the tips I’ve shared to make the perfect ribeye steak.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.