In Bryan's Words
The Ribeye is produced by removing the ribs from the section of the cattle known as the Prime Rib. This overall section is a bit of a misnomer, though, because despite being called the “PRIME Rib,” it actually comes in the same grade levels as all other cuts (ie Prime, Choice, Select, etc).
The rib runs from the shortloin (where you’ll find the New York and Porterhouse) up toward the shoulder (or ‘Chuck’). Nowadays, these sections are produced with a total of 7 ribs. Years ago you’d get 8 ribs, but in today’s production the first rib (or last) is left on the shortloin. My guess on this is that since the shortloin generally carries a higher price tag, beef processors figured out they could shift roughly 4 pounds from a lesser priced cut (relatively speaking) to one that sells for more.
Another major change from earlier years is the notion of the “1st cut.” Way back when, the Prime Ribs came to butchers with a whole lot more waste on them than they do today. The culprit behind this, you might ask? Look no further than the Boneless Short Ribs that have become an increasingly popular cut. Before the Short Ribs were removed from the Prime Rib, that extra beef would cause the diameter of the Prime Rib to increase starting from the loin end (the 1st cut), and the percentage of pure rib eye to new weight would move from 100% to somewhere around 60%. This is why our parents and grandparents would ask the neighborhood butcher for the 1st cut – to ensure that they were receiving the cut with the purest Rib Eye flavor. But take note: that concept is a thing of the past, and if you were to ask for the smaller end today, you would be getting the section of the shortloin that is closer to the chuck.
So what’s all the talk about the “ends”? Quite simply, what gives the Rib Eye its dramatic flavor, in addition to the dry aging, is the amount of fat and marbling; this is what sets it apart from the New York. Being that it begins where the New York leaves off, the first cuts from the loin end are going to be pretty darn similar to the New York, but as you move down the loin towards the chuck, it begins to develop its unique marbling and the Rib Cap starts to appear. What it comes down to, then, is that the ultimate Rib Eye will actually come from the opposite end of the 1st cut. Of course, you’ll find yourself happy with any of our dry aged rib eye steaks, 1st cut or 4th cut.
Of the "Top 3" cuts of beef; Filet Mignon, New York, and Ribeye, the Ribeye will rank number 1 in flavor, and number 3 in tenderness. Keep in mind, however, what it's up against in the tender department; those two are hard to beat. Some die hard USDA Prime Beef fans find the filet mignon too tender, in fact. In addition to the inherent flavor that Ribeyes have, when combined with the punch that Dry Aged beef packs, there is simply nothing more flavorful. For true beef lovers, a USDA Prime dry aged Ribeye is the pinnacle of perfection.
Contrary to what you might have heard, the best way to determine the cooking time on a steak is by the thickness, rather than the weight.
On the Grill:
1” – 8 minutes total; 5 and 3
1¼“ – 9 minutes total; 7 and 3
1½“ – 14 to 15 minutes total; 10 and 4
2” – 15 to 18 minutes total; 11 and 5
2½“ – 20 minutes total; 12 and 8
3” – 25 minutes total; with such a thick cut you can really get creative here, and grill on all four sides. Turn the steak in a constant direction, and go 7 minutes on the first and second side, then drop to 5 minutes for the final two sides
Varietal: Proprietary Blend
Type of Wine: Super Tuscan/IGT