Gabriel Woods
Published by Gabriel Woods
Last Updated On: August 29, 2023

During the past ten years that I’ve been on a carnivore diet, ribeye steak has been one of my favorite steaks for different recipes.

I love its robust buttery flavor and tenderness so much that I took it upon myself to get to know this cut inside out.

In this article, I'll look at this wildly popular beef rib, including its components, things to look for when buying ribeye, and how to cook it.

Let’s get into it.

Quick Summary

  • Ribeye steak is a cut taken from a cow's rib primal. This rib steak is usually sliced from the cow's 6th to 12th rib bones like the prime rib.
  • The best portion of the ribeye steak is the spinalis.
  • Tomahawk ribeye is a bone-in ribeye with between 8 and 20 inches of bone.

What Cut Is Ribeye Steak?

A top view of sliced ribeye steak with fork on the side

Ribeye steak is a cut taken from a cow's rib primal. This rib steak is usually sliced from the cow's 6th to 12th rib bones like the prime rib.

It is recognized for being delicate but packed with streaky intramuscular fat because it is a part of the animal's support system but isn't actively involved in movement [1].

A ribeye steak has three components that are good to know.

  • The heart or eye of the ribeye, also known as the longissimus dorsi,  provides a meaty center surrounded by flavorful marbling [2].
  • The ribeye cap or spinalis, which resembles a crown and rests above the eye, has the most marbling and richness.
  • The complexus is a smaller portion of the ribeye and isn't always present. If your ribeye steak has a larger eye, it will likely have less complexus, and vice versa.

Choosing the Right Ribeye Steaks

A close-up shot of raw ribeye steak

Here are three things you should consider before spending money on the ribeye.

1. Varieties

Ribeye comes in three varieties:

  • Boneless ribeye: Ribeye steak lovers adore boneless ribeye because it's delicious, simple to prepare, and provides all a ribeye's distinctive marbling and flavor. Boneless ribeyes cook more properly than bone-in-ribeye since bone can insulate the surrounding meat from the heat.
  • Bone-in ribeye: Anyone who loves prime rib chooses this cut because of the fat and muscle that bind the meat to the bone, and the bone marrow adds more taste.
  • Tomahawk ribeye: This eye-catching cut is a bone-in-ribeye, but it comes with an extra 8-20 inches of bone, creating a distinctive appearance. These cuts are ideal for two or more dinners because they are often thicker and heavier.

2. Thickness

Raw ribeye steak on a black background

Regular ribeye steaks range in thickness from 1.25 to 2 inches. Bone-in cuts are often thicker because the width of the connecting bone influences them naturally.

Thinner cuts of boneless ribeyes must be cooked gently to yield a nicely browned surface and a juicy, perfectly cooked interior.

A thick-cut ribeye is usually 2-3 inches thick. It can adequately satisfy one or two people.

Still, for an entire table of hungry guests eager to sample various dishes, thicker pieces can be sliced and served with sauteed vegetables and potatoes.

3. Serving Sizes

It's safe to estimate that each serving of ribeye steak will contain about 3 ounces of meat if other proteins and various sides are also included.

If you order a larger ribeye, grill it and then slice it at the table. However, some guests like their own steaks and can quickly finish a 10-20 ounce ribeye.

Also Read: How Much Meat to Serve Per Person?

The Best Way to Cook & Serve Ribeye Steak

Ribeye steak being grilled on high flames

Here are some tips that would be a borderline between a good steak and a great one.

1. Preparation

Get the rib-eye steak closer to room temperature by removing it from the refrigerator and placing it on the counter an hour before it's cooked.

Also, it would be best to eliminate dampness by patting it with a paper towel.

2. Cooking Methods

Below are 3 preferred cooking methods:

  • Grilling: It's the best way to cook a ribeye steak since the intense heat melts the marbling and crisps up some places to produce a juicy mouthfeel and a distinctive flavor. If you're interested in learning more, check out our guide on how to grill ribeye steaks.
  • Pan searing: Searing steak is an excellent alternative way to cook rib-eye steak. A compound butter or fresh herbs can be added to the steaks' top as they cook to add flavor. 
  • Sous Vide: This indirect heat method involves cooking seasoned, vacuum-sealed ribeye steaks in sous vide water bath until the interior is ideally and uniformly done, then finishing it by searing it on a cast iron pan, skillet or over a hot grill until medium rare.

Joonas Jokiniemi, seasoned chef and founder of Grill Smoke Love, recommends high heat grilling and searing for juicy steaks with a maximum thickness of 1.5 inches. Thinner cuts require longer cooking on low heat, while thick, fat-filled cuts are best smoked or roasted at low temperatures.

3. Cooking Time

Perfectly cooked ribeye steak with meat thermometer

Below is a breakdown of cooking time and internal temperature using a meat thermometer:

  • Rare: 120°F - about 4 to 5 minutes on each side
  • Medium rare: 125°F - about 5.5 to 6 minutes on each side
  • Medium: 135°F - about 6.5 to 7.5 minutes on each side
  • Medium well: 145°F - about 9 to 10 minutes on each side

I recommend cooking the steak to a medium level of doneness or less.

Pro-tip: For each additional ¼ inch, add 1 minute. 

4. Resting and Serving

Your ribeye steaks need to rest after being grilled to absolute perfection.

The cooked steak will gradually lose temperature during this resting period.

As a result, the beef's bursting fluids stay inside the meat rather than gushing out onto the cutting board.

“Let your meat rest for about half the time it took to prepare. For a 10-minute cook, that is 5 minutes of rest.”
- Yankel Polak, Chef

Read More: How Long to Let Meat Rest?


What Is Another Name for a Ribeye Steak?

Another name for ribeye steak is Scotch fillet, Sarket, Spencer, Beauty steak, or Delmonico steak, but it's popularly available as bone-in or boneless ribeye.

What Is the Perfect Thickness for a Ribeye?

1.5 inches is the perfect thickness for a ribeye. Steaks that are 1.5 inches thick are also simpler to prepare than extra-thick ones.

Is Boneless Ribeye Better Than Bone-in Ribeye?

Yes, boneless ribeye is better than bone-in ribeye since bones take longer to heat up, causing uneven cooking in steak.

Is Ribeye a Good Cut of Rib Steak?

Ribeye is a good cut of steak from the rib primal if you want the juicy, meaty flavor that will make your mouth water. Ribeyes are super fatty, retaining juiciness even when grilled over extremely high heat.

If you want a buttery, delicious ribeye delivered to your door, make sure to give ButcherBox a shot. ButcherBox's high-quality grass-fed tomahawk and thick-cut ribeye stand out for their rich marbling and natural flavoring that enriches every piece.

For 3+ years, I've counted on them to deliver pure meat that's grass-fed and humanely raised, and I've never been disappointed.


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