Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >


Beef rib

Other Names: Roasts: Bone-in rib-eye roast,
costillar or cuarto central Costilla (Spanish), fore rib (British), insieme de costine or meta’schiena (Italian), prime rib, rib-eye, rib roast, train de côtes (French). Steaks: Beauty steak, Delmonico steak, entrecôte (French), market steak, rib-eye steak, shell steak, Spencer steak. Rib Cap: Boneless short ribs, RLM (rib lifter meat), rib lifters.

General Description: The naturally tender, luxurious beef rib is one of the eight primal cuts of beef. For dramatic presentation and rich flavor, nothing beats this cut, also known mistakenly as prime rib. (Prime rib can only come from prime-graded beef.) This is the cut used to make the king of roasts for grand celebrations, the standing rib roast. Steaks cut from the rib section, either on the bone, including the attached smaller muscles, or completely trimmed so that only the “eye” remains, are tender and flavorful. At top butcher shops, whole prime ribs are used for dry aging.

This cut includes the large “eye” muscle and several smaller attached muscles, including the fatty but very tasty meat called variously rib-eye lip muscle, cap, rib lifter, or deckle, which lies between the eye and the thick layer of fat that covers the rib. The lean blade meat lies just above and below the main rib-eye muscle at the shoulder blade end of the rib-eye. In French, entrecôte means “between the ribs” and refers to a steak cut from between ribs 9 and 11. In the United States, it would be called a rib steak, although entrecôte is sometimes incorrectly used in the United States to refer to a boneless strip steak. A cowboy steak is a bone-in rib-eye steak.

Chili meat (or diced beef) is often made from the loose-textured deckle meat or rib lifter meat from the top of the rib. It is similar to stew meat, but cut into smaller pieces. Thinly sliced rib-eye is often poached and used in Japanese and Korean dishes.

Part of Animal: The rib section spans ribs 6 through 12. (The first five ribs are in the chuck; the 13th is in the sirloin.)

Characteristics: The rib section includes several different muscles, all relatively tender; the largest is the central “eye.” The rib is a relatively fatty cut, though rich in flavor. The coarse-grained muscles on top of the eye, called rib lifters, are sometimes sold separately.

Amount to Buy: A full 7-bone rib roast can weigh more than 15 pounds. Although sold in smaller sections, the best roast includes at least three ribs. A bone-in rib-eye roast has had the external fat and smaller muscles removed so that it is smaller and easier to carve.

The front section closer to the chuck (ribs 6 to 9) is larger all around but contains a smaller eye, a large proportion of the less desirable adjoining blade muscles, and more fat. To make carving easier, be sure the chine bones (vertebrae), feather bones (sticking up from the spine), and the back strap (lengthwise tough, yellow ligament) have been removed. When choosing rib-eye steaks, look for the ones with the largest eye and least outside fat and “tail.”

For whole bone-in rib roast, allow a little more than 1 pound per person, or one rib for every two people. For boneless rib-eye roast or steaks, allow 1/2 pound per person. The back section (ribs 10 to 12) generally costs more than the front section (ribs 6 to 9).

Storage: Store whole bone-in rib eye up to 4 days refrigerated. Store rib steaks up to 2 days refrigerated.


  1. If necessary, cut away and discard excess fat.
  2. If desired, cut crisscross cuts though the fat but not into the meat to encourage excess fat to melt off and make crispy diamond-shaped sections of fat. Season with salt and pepper. Tie with butcher’s twine for a more compact shape, if desired.
  3. Roast bone-side down at 450°F for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350°F, and roast for 1 hour, or until it reaches the desired internal temperature.
  4. Remove from the oven, cover with foil, and let rest 15 to 30 minutes before carving. Note that the meat will rise in temperature about 5°F as it rests.

Flavor Affinities: Brandy, garlic, horseradish, red wine, rosemary, soy sauce, steak sauce, thyme, truffles, wild mushrooms.

from Quirk Books: