Prime Rib Location on Cow: Where Does it Come From?

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Do you love prime rib but don’t know a lot about it? You might be wondering why prime rib comes from a cow. Or what makes it better than other cuts of beef?

In this article, we’ve answered all your questions about prime rib!


What Is Prime Rib?

Prime rib is sometimes called rib roast, ribeye roast, or standing rib roast. However, its not a prime rib steak; we have outlined the differences in ribeye vs prime rib

This cut of meat comes from the cow’s back. Since these muscles aren’t used as much as other muscles, this meat is much more tender than other cuts.

The marbled meat is surrounded by a lot of fat, which helps it remain juicy as it cooks.


Where Is Prime Rib Located?

The prime rib location on a cow is in the ribs, right below the cow’s backbone, towards the front of the cow. It isn’t at the very front, touching the chest or the neck. It is located just a little bit further back.

Specifically, prime ribs are pairs of rib bones numbered 6-12. The first 5 pairs of ribs are chuck, while the 13th pair is the loin.


What Is Prime Beef?

Prime beef is the highest quality. It comes from young and well-fed cattle. These cows are very healthy, and their beef has ample marbling.

If you notice a lot of white stripes of fat throughout the beef, it might be prime beef. Well-fed young cattle might not always have beautifully marbled meat. This quality meat is usually graded as choice beef.

Select beef is still pretty tender, but not quite as juicy as prime or choice beef. This is because it has much less marbling. Standard and commercial beef are cheaper and of lesser quality than higher-graded beef.

Instead of nice marbling, you may notice a thick layer of fat.


Prime Rib vs Ribeye

A prime rib is a rib roast, and a ribeye is a steak. They both come from the same primal cut but are cut differently before selling.

One prime rib can be cut into seven ribeye steaks because it consists of seven ribs. Each rib becomes one ribeye steak.


What Is First Cut?

The first cut includes ribs 10-12. Many people prefer this piece of meat for its excellent quality. This cut contains the rib eye muscle, which is very tender.

The second cut includes ribs 6-9. While this cut is still delicious, it is of lower quality. The second cut is closer to the cow’s chuck cut, which means it has more connective tissue.

How Much Does Prime Rib Cost?

Several factors determine the cost of prime rib. For instance, the market is always changing. Perhaps the price went up this month and will go back down in a few weeks.

Whether you choose boneless or bone-in will also affect the final cost. If you get a whole prime rib roast, the price per pound may decrease, but the final price will be high.

Another factor is the grade of meat. You will pay more for higher-quality meat.


How to Choose Prime Rib

There are many factors to consider when choosing prime rib. Would you like boneless or bone-in? Some people prefer bone-in, but the bones can make beef preparation trickier.

For instance, estimating how much prime rib to buy can be harder. It can also be difficult to carve the beef away from the bone.

If you’re buying boneless prime rib, estimate 1/2 pound per person. You can estimate about 1-1.5 servings per pound with bone-in ribs.


How to Cook Prime Rib

Prime rib doesn’t need a lot of effort to taste good. Garlic lovers may be tempted to use a lot of garlic or their favorite marinade, but you only need kosher salt and pepper.

Smoking it low and slow is a great way to cook this meat. It should take about 17-20 minutes per pound at 225°F.

Some people will cook it at 500°F for the first 30 minutes. This can result in a nicely seared crust. Cook the meat with the fatty side up. This ensures better juice distribution and less juice loss.

Let it rest for about 30 minutes after cooking so the flavorful juices can redistribute. Carve and enjoy!


Now that you know more about prime rib and its location on cows, go ahead and cook some prime rib for your next smoker session!

When you cook prime rib, remember: it’s of excellent quality and full of delicious flavor.

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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