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Dec 27, 2005 08:59 PM

Prime Rib Roast vs Rib Eye Roast vs Cross Rib Roast

  • m

What are the differences, if any? Price wise is substantial, but what do I make with the other two?

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  1. Prime rib refers to standing rib roasts from the "best" section of the rib, typically from bones 13-17. Do not confuse "Prime" rib with the best USDA beef grade of Prime. The beef grade itself can be Choice or even less - "Prime Rib" is basically just a marketing term, but it does refer to a standing rib roast from that section.

    Rib Eye Roast is a rib roast (from any section) that has been carved off the bone. It is the same piece of meat as a standing rib roast (prime or otherwise).

    Cross-Rib isn't actually from the rib section, but from the shoulder or chuck, as it merges into the rib. It is a tasty but tougher piece of meat and used as a pot roast, rather than an actually roasted roast beef.

    6 Replies
    1. re: applehome

      Oy. "Prime" refers to the rib primal cut, having nothing to do with any "best" section. Bones (ribs) #6-12 comprise the rib section; #13-17 are firmly ass-ward of the rib section of the beast.

      Ribs #9 (or 10) through 12 are sometimes called the "first cut" because they contain the largest proportion of the central eye muscle compared to the other surrounding muscles. (This eye has nothing to do with a rib-eye roast, which, as applehome states, is simply a rib roast -- eye muscle and other muscles -- minus the bones.)

      1. re: statman

        One more minor clarification - cows have 13 ribs, so there are no "bones" 14-17.

        1. re: statman

          Thank you guys - I thought the rib numbers could be wrong, but couldn't find the source I had read.

          Since you seem to know this well, can you speak to the large end vs. small end? Numbering from front to back, 1-13, which is the large? Also, what end has the most or biggest portion of the "cap", which I think is the best part.

          Thanks, again, for the correction.

          1. re: applehome

            There's no bright line between large and small end, but I think most would agree with this: large end is the front, starting at rib 6 and extending to 8 (ribs 1 through 5 are part of the chuck - the rib primal starts at 6); small end is from 10 to 12. Rib 9 can go either way. The largest part of the cap is in the middle of the rib primal, from around 8 to around 10. (It is indeed the best part).

            1. re: applehome

              FlyFish wrote absolutely the definitive treatise on this subject, linked below.


          2. re: applehome

            I disagree on cross-rib roast. If cooked properly, it is very tender. Slow roasting at around 200 deg will keep the meat moist and tender. Also, almost no fat to waste.