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Two Questions about Prime Rib, a/k/a Standing Rib Roast

1) Bone-in and boneless - do these come from different parts of the cow? When looking at a boneless piece, it doesn't look like they just cut the ribs out - i.e., there are no slashes where the bones would have been. So I'm wondering if the boneless piece is actually a different cut.

2) I usually buy the bone-in from Costco, but am considering buying it from Whole Foods this year. Has anyone purchased the bone-in from Whole Foods? On their site, they describe it as follows: "From a Northwestern ranching co-op that produces some of the best beef in the country. All natural, pasture raised, never fed artificial growth hormones. Delicious, beefy flavor." If it's pasture raised, it may have less fat than the regular USDA Choice or Prime grade, right? But perhaps it will be more flavorful despite the lack of fat?

Thanks for any and all thoughts and info!

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  1. 1. Same cut. The bones are cut off in a slab, not cut out individually.

    2. No experience with Whole Foods, but have always been happy with Costco.

    1. Pasture raised does not mean it is not corn finished

      1. 1.) Exact same cut. It's not unheard of for some people to request the meat cut from the bones, but the bones retained for cooking/flavor purposes. I only use bone in, it's my personal preference.

        2) I don't know much about Whole Foods, but I wouldn't spend the money on "prime" graded prime rib. By the nature of the cut it's a pretty fatty piece of meat, so you don't gain a significant increase in marbling or flavor in a prime grade, prime rib. (I also feel the same way about prime grade, tenderloin/filet mignon).

        2 Replies
        1. re: jrvedivici

          <By the nature of the cut it's a pretty fatty piece of meat, so you don't gain a significant increase in marbling or flavor in a prime grade, prime rib.>

          I agree.

          < (I also feel the same way about prime grade, tenderloin/filet mignon).>

          Why? Tenderlion/filet mignon is a very lean cut. Won't it make sense to have increasing marbling? Thanks. (Not a filet mignon expert)

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            In my opinion the amount you gain is so negligible it's not worth the increased price. It seems most people who order or like Filet Mignon like it for it's more neutral (red meat) flavor which holds true for select or choice grade.

        2. I bought a prime rib last year from Whole Foods for a New Year's dinner I was hosting. I didn't notice any significant lack of fat as compared to other prime ribs I have cooked. I mainly bought it because they had a great sale and it turned out perfectly.

          1. I buy the Christmas Beast from BJ's Wholesale. They trim it, cut it from the ribs and then tie it back up to the bones. Makes carving simple, while getting all that bone flavor. Depending on the size of the crowd, I might cut away a couple of ribs and freeze. Wherever you get it, that is how the butcher should prepare it for you.

            Next up cooking techniques!

            1. 1) Same part of the cow.

              2) USDA Choice is Choice & Prime is Prime, regardless of where you buy it. The USDA grading is solely based on marbling, i.e. intermuscular fat distribution. Unless you buy into the WF organic, natural, etc. etc. marketing BS and like to overpay, stick with Costco.

              1. I've had Prime and Choice from Costco and have been happy with both.

                Some of Whole Food's beef is dry aged in store. I'm not sure if what you are buying has been, not all their steaks are. But dry aging will make a difference in flavor and texture as well.

                Price/Flavor trade-offs are a personal choice, I like Prime beef when I can get it and am buying Prime rib roast for this Christmas (though not from Whole Foods).

                1 Reply
                1. re: thimes

                  Aged meat is just about the only reason why I visit my local Whole Foods. They have a locker behind the counter that you can see the aged steaks. Good stuff. I have never had aged prime rib.