Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Mar 31, 2013 03:44 PM

What's the difference?

The market was running a sale on rib-eye roasts. I told the butcher I wanted one about 5 lbs but I called it a prime rib thinking there was no difference. The butcher told me it was not prime rib. Can anyone tell me what the difference is and which is better?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I am not 100% sure but maybe this link can help you.

    1. Prime is a USDA grade of beef.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Alan408

        Actually, that's not true when used to define prime rib.

      2. If you want information about beef roasts, I suggest you flag your post and ask the mods to change your subject to mention that.

        Seriously, tell folks what your post is about *before* they click on it and you'll get a lot more useful info in reply.

        Here's the information you're seeking:

        2 Replies
        1. re: mcf

          Thanks for the info and posting tip.

          1. re: mucho gordo

            Hope it helps you get what you need from now on.

        2. Well...... from all the links here and a little Googling, it seems that rib-eye roast is a broader term. The PRIME rib is from a specific 'primal' section of the cow (ribs 1 thru 6 apparently), whereas a rib-eye roast can be from a less desirable place along the rib section.

          So....... a prime rib roast IS a ribeeye roast, but a rib-eye roast is not necessarily a PRIME rib roast. Got it?? ;o]

          This link will help:

          4 Replies
          1. re: Midlife

            Uh oh now I"m really confused. From that link it seems that Prime Rib is ribs 6 to 12 (7 rib standing roast), no?

            "Count backwards to the sixth rib (this is called, appropriately enough "Rib #6"), and cut here.

            Now continue counting back until you get to Rib #12 and cut again. Reserve the head section and the tail section for another use, saving just the ribs you just cut out. Now saw the ribs off at about 13 to 16-inches down their length and set aside the belly section. Take off the hide, and what you're left with is the prime rib. It consists of seven full ribs with a large eye of meat running along their back side. This meat is part of the loin muscle of the cow, the exact same muscle that New York strips, rib-eyes, and Delmonicos are cut from. It's also often referred to as a "standing rib roast," because, well, you roast it, it's from the ribs, and it stands up."

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              Ooops! Wouldn't want to cause a major rib-counting debacle for the OP. Thanks for the correction.

            2. re: Midlife

              According to Julia Child, rib numbering starts at the least desirable end, so the primal section is ribs # 5 or 6 through 12. The small end is the most desirable, so the best ribs for roasting are ~ 10 to 12.

              1. re: BobB

                So basically the primal section in summary is the greatest extent of hunk or ribs cut from a cow and then it can be divided into other cuts. For others, I think it's helpful to think of it as just what it is "a primal cut" in that it's the original big 8 cuts of the cow which is then used to make other cuts.