The last time I dined at Mastro’s Steakhouse, I was amazed with the thick juicy prime steak – it was simply one of the best I’ve ever had. The perfect prime rib has a deep brown crust and a juicy pink interior and it’s exactly what you get when you dine in this steakhouse. But we all know ordering steaks in a restaurant can be costly and it’s not something you’d be able to do on a regular basis. Heck, I can only afford to treat myself to fine dining once every few months! But this does not mean you can’t have steak when you’re craving for one, right?
Prime Rib vs. Rib Eye
Don’t be intimidated by the idea of cooking prime rib at home. You can buy this tender, flavorful roast cut from a specialty butcher shop. But before we proceed, let’s talk about the differences between prime rib and rib eye. Some people think they’re one and the same but really, they’re not.
Both are excellent cuts of meat and ideal for steaks. The prime rib comes from the same part as the ribeye which is the primal rib section. This particular cut is well-marbled and chefs often cook it with au jus, meaning using its own juices to keep it from getting dry. The rib eye, on the other hand, comes from the rib roast and the meat is cut before cooking the roast. Prime rib cuts include the ribeye and the bone, while the ribeye only has the meat itself.
Cooking Prime Rib
While the rib eye is cooked the way you’d cook steak – pan frying or grilling on high heat in a cast iron skillet, a prime rib roast is cooked differently. You need to completely thaw the roast and season well before putting it in the grill.
With the prime rib, you get better outcome with longer cooking times. Start by pre-heating your oven to 450F to get a crisp sear. While you wait, season the roast all over with salt and pepper. You can also add rosemary, thyme or garlic powder if desired.
Place the roast on a cooking dish and put in the oven for half an hour. Lower the temperature to 350F. It usually takes 15 minutes to cook a pound of meat so depending on the weight of your roast, it may take an additional 1.5 to 2 hours to cook it medium rare. Remove the meat and cover with foil, and let it rest for up to 20 minutes. Slice and enjoy.
Choosing Between Prime Rib and Rib Eye
If you’re still unsure whether you should get the prime rib or the rib eye, one of the things to consider would be the cost. The prime rib is usually more expensive because it’s often the bigger cut of meat. You can’t exactly get just a single rib from the butcher – it often consists of more than one. But if you base it on per pound cost, the rib eye would be more costly.
As for texture, both cuts come from the same section of the cow so there’s little difference in flavor. However the prime rib contains more bone which means longer cooking time, while the rib eye can be cooked in a few minutes. Take note however that the prime rib has bone and more fat than the rib eye.
Finally, the texture of the two is also the same. You’ll need to sear the prime rib and then slow-cook it. While the rib eye can be slow cooked at the start and seared towards the end.