Why Prime Rib Steak is the King of Beef Cuts

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Prime rib steak is a popular beef-cut that is carved from the well loved prime rib roast.  It is interesting to note that prime in this context has nothing to do with the USDA grading system but simply refers to the traditional, old fashioned name of the cut. In fact, it is just a matter of tradition.

Lets start at square one.  Beef carcasses are sectioned into eight large pieces known as primal cuts.  Moving from front to back along the upper half of the steer, there are five key zones or areas : Chuck, Rib, Loin, Sirloin, and Round  Now working from the bottom of the animal and also moving front to back, we have: 6. Brisket, 7. Plate, 8. Flank.  During processing, the cattle carcasses are initially cut into these 8 sections before portioning into steaks or roasts, or before being shipped wholesale to butchers.  Butchers at high-end butcher shops or in the super-market meat departments will then break down these cuts further.  In certain cases carcasses are sold whole or in halves or quarters.

The standing rib roast comes from - you guessed it - the rib section!  During processing, the section of the steer between ribs no. 6 and 12 is removed - with ribs and some portion of the vertebrae attached.  A rib roast is essentially a portion of the rib primal cut and usually carries 3 to six ribs.

Given that this roast is usually stood up vertically in the roasting pan, it is known as a standing rib roast. Now, just to confuse you a little more, this roast is also known as a Prime Rib roast or just prime-rib - but its really the same cut of beef.

Lets go a little deeper now: if you were to cut individual steaks from that standing rib roast with each steak containing at least one rib, you would end up with a prime rib steak.  But wait, there's more: removing the bone from that prime rib steak yields another cut entirely: the well-loved rib eye steak which is the number one grilling choice for barbeque season.

It is easy to prepare a prime rib roast.  Feeding six people will require an 8 pound roast with about 3 ribs.  After you have selected a roast with a nice layer of fat, bring it to room temperature.  Preheat the range to about 450 F, and then rub a dry-rub seasoning all over the meat.  Place the roast in the roasting pan, ribs up, and bake for 30 minutes, and then reduce the temperature to 300 F.  Cook to an internal temperature of 140 F for medium, 120 F for rare, then make sure to let it rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.  For a rib steak, fire up your grill and sear the steaks on each side for two minutes for rare and 3 minutes for a medium rare prime rib steak tips..

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This article was published on 2011/05/23