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

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

In this article, we’ve laid out answers to all your questions about prime rib!


What Is Prime Rib?

Prime rib is sometimes referred to as 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 arent 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. This extra fat helps the meat to remain juicy as it cooks.


Where Is Prime Rib Located?

The prime rib location on cow is in the ribs of the cow, this is 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.

To be more specific, 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 of beef. It comes from young and well-fed cattle.

Not only are these cows very healthy, but 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. Ribeye is a steak.

While there are different types of beef ribs, these are mostly the same.

They both come from the same primal cut but are cut differently before they are sold.

One prime rib can be cut into 7 ribeye steaks. This is because the prime rib consists of 7 ribs.

Each rib becomes one ribeye steak.

Prime rib and ribeye are graded by the same standards.

The texture and beefy flavor may change based on the way you prepare it.

For instance, different seasonings will result in different flavors.

Different cooking techniques may result in crispier skin or more tender meat.


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 chuck cut of the cow. This 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 cost went up this month and will go back down in a few weeks.

Whether or not you choose boneless or bone-in will also play a role in the final cost.

If you get a whole prime rib roast, the price per pound may decrease. However, 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 preparing the beef trickier.

For instance, it can be harder to estimate how much prime rib to buy.

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. With bone-in ribs, you can estimate about 1-1.5 servings per pound.


How to Cook Prime Rib

Prime rib doesn’t need a lot of effort to taste good.

Garlic lovers may be tempted to use their slivers 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 piece of 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.

While we love smoking meat via indirect heat, there are many other ways to cook beef rib primal.

Don’t trim too much fat off. The fat turns into flavorful juices soaking throughout the meat.

When smoking the meat, you may want to trim it a little bit extra.

Cook the meat with the fatty side up, this makes for better juice distribution and less loss of juices.

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


You can store leftovers in the refrigerator. Reheat them by your preferred method.

Now that you know more about prime rib and prime rib location on cow, 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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