What Is Rib-Eye Steak?

A Guide to Buying, Cooking, and Storing Rib-Eye Steak

The Spruce Eats / Lindsay Kreighbaum

Rib-eye steak is considered one of the best steaks on the market. The rib-eye is cut from the roast—known as a prime rib or standing rib roast—that sits at the top of the rib primal, the part of the cow between the chuck and the loin. The rib-eye is basically the meat between each of the ribs, which makes it a boneless cut; it is best grilled or broiled.

What Is Rib-Eye Steak?

This highly desired cut of meat deserves top billing due to its full flavor and soft texture. The generous amount of marbling (fat running through the meat) makes for a rich taste and juicy finish. Because this area of the cow gets little exercise, the muscle isn't used much and therefore the meat is nice and tender. Rib-eye is often a decent size, filling up the plate, making for an impressive steak dinner.

How to Cook Rib-Eye Steak

The grill or the broiler is the preferred cooking method for this cut of meat. The rib-eye is best cooked to rare or medium rare but will remain tender when cooked to medium (and is still good at medium well). Because of the steak's excellent flavor, the rib-eye does not require much in the way of seasoning beyond salting. It should be brought to near room temperature before cooking and salted liberally just before it goes on the grill or under the broiler. 

Since this steak has a higher fat content, it is prone to cause flare-ups while grilling; it's important to keep a close eye on the cooking process, which should take no more than a few minutes. Move the steak to a new section of the grill every time you rotate (for those attractive grill marks) or flip over the meat, which should be every minute, up to 4 minutes total for rare to medium rare. To reach higher levels of doneness, reduce the heat or move the steak to a cooler section of the grill to continue cooking to the desired doneness.

What Does Rib Eye Taste Like?

The closer the section of meat is to the head of the cow, the more marbling there is. Since the rib primal is behind the chuck (shoulder area) primal, rib-eye steak has an abundant amount of fat. This fat melts from the inside out during cooking, giving the meat loads of flavor and a buttery taste. The steak also remains tender during almost any cooking process.

Rib-Eye Steak Recipes

Simple is best when it comes to cooking a rib-eye, as you don't want to mask this prime cut of meat's beefy, delicious flavor. A quick turn on the grill or under the broiler, or even a hot sear in a pan on the stovetop, is all you need.

Where to Buy Rib-Eye Steak

A reputable butcher may be the ideal spot to pick up a rib-eye, so you know you are getting a truly prime piece of meat. Otherwise, you should be able to find rib-eye steaks at your local supermarket in the meat department, as well as online beef purveyors. Just be prepared to pay a bit more per pound than your average steak.

The term "rib-eye" is quite universal, but depending where you shop it could also be labeled as Beauty Steak, Delmonico Steak, Entrecôte, Market Steak, Spencer Steak, and Scotch Fillet (in Australia and New Zealand). A rib steak is the same cut as a rib-eye but includes the bone.

Storing Rib-Eye Steak

If you don't plan to cook the rib-eye the day you bring it home from the market, you can store it in the refrigerator in its packaging for three to five days. If you need to keep it longer, freezing is a good option; it is best, however, to repackage the steaks first, making sure they are air-tight. In the freezer, the steaks should last between six and 12 months.

 The Spruce Eats / Catherine Song