Every Rib Beef Cut Explained And The Best Ways To Prepare/Cook Them

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This article will explain what every beef cut is for the rib section of the cow. It will go over the textures, its main uses, and the best ways to prepare/cook them. This information applies to wagyu beef too, except the cuts can be expected to be more tender, because of the extra intramuscular fat in the meat.

This will be a very helpful and comprehensive article if you if are unfamiliar with these cuts, buy meat from a meat dealer at a restaurant or at home, or getting into these things for the first time.


Rib cut section of a cow.

The rib cuts of a cow are considered be the one of the most popular sections of the cow. Some of the most tender and flavorful cuts are taken from this area. The cow doesn’t use these muscles as much as it would in the neck and chuck area, so it is more expensive and desired, because it is generally more tender. This section is located beside the chuck area and above the plate section (the belly) of the cow.

Rib section uses:

The rib section of the cow is used for of course, making ribs, but also is used to create the most flavorful and juicy burgers. This section also makes the best steaks, which can be with or without the bone. The meat can be mixed with chuck or brisket for example, to make ground beef.


The texture in general for the rib section is tender, juicy, and flavorful.

Best cooking methods:

There are many sections that perform better when cooked certain ways (which will be covered next). In general, these cuts taken from the rib section are grilled, roasted, smoked, or pot roasted. However, an entire cow rib section can be cooked as a whole using a big oven. After the section has been properly trimmed, it can be wrapped inside of parchment paper and then wrapped in aluminum foil wrapping. From there, it can slow cooked in an oven if the oven is large enough. It can also be cooked in a large smoker.

Rib steak

Rib steaks are made from the section near the cow’s back in the rib section of the cow. This is the opposite end from the section that is closest to the flank (the belly of the cow). This section doesn’t appear to have much meat when the rib section is whole, but it is covered by cow bones in the cow’s back. Rib steaks come with the bone, and it is possible to make decently sized steaks from this section that can be thin or thick sized steaks depending on how the butcher cuts them.

Rib steak uses:

These are used of course for making steaks.


The texture of the rib steaks can be somewhat tender and juicy to very tender and juicy, depending on the marbling (the amount of intramuscular fat) in the meat. The parts near the bone can be chewy or tough.

Best cooking methods:

Grilling rib steaks at high temperatures are the best method used for cooking them. Other slow cooking methods can be used to make certain parts of the rib steak more tender.


Make sure that the butcher has trimmed the outside of the portion for cutting the steaks well, and removed all membrane coverings.

Cowboy steak

The cowboy steak is a cut taken from the back of a cow in the rib section, that has a distinct look. This is because the rib bone is still attached to the steak and sticks out of the steak. This steak can also be called the tomahawk steak. However, there is a difference between the two steaks, even though it is a minor difference. The tomahawk steak has a longer rib bone connected to it than the cowboy has, making the tomahawk steak easier to hold by the bone. The tomahawk steak has the bone as the handle for the “tomahawk” with the meat being the “axe blade” to consume.

Some prefer the cowboy steak, because they don’t want to remove the precious meat connected to the rib bone, so they make the bone shorter.

Cowboy steak uses:

It is of course used for making steaks with bones in them.


The tomahawk steak or the cowboy steak are usually thick pieces of meat, because they have to be cut to this thickness due to the size and width of the rib bone. This means that these steaks can be less tender and a little more tough than steaks that don’t have to be made so thick.

Best cooking methods:

Since these steaks are thick, they are best grilled on a grill at really high temperatures over 500 degrees Fahrenheit to cook the center. It is best to check the internal temperature of these steaks and make adjustments to temperature as necessary. Don’t be light on the seasoning, and it can be dry brined beforehand for better results.


Ensure that the butcher has trimmed the fats off of the exterior of the steak well enough that it isn’t too thick. Also, ensure that the membranes have been removed.

Lip-on ribeye

Lip-on ribeye is the cow’s muscles near the cow’s back in the rib section. It is the same portion of meat that is used to make steaks from, except this whole portion is left whole. Lip-on means that the section of meat has a layer of thick fat left on it that has meat in it. This lip is cut off in most cases during trimming before cooking, since it contains mostly fat. Within this fat is a tail/strip of beef that can be used in cooking. This cut is boneless, meaning that the back ribs are no longer on this cut.

Lip-on ribeye uses:

A lip-on ribeye can be used to make roast beef, it can be cut into steaks, or be used for other cooking purposes, as it contains a lot of meat.


Since this portion contains a lot of fat on the inside and outside of the lip-on ribeye, it is both tender and juicy.

Best cooking methods:

If the meat is going to be cooked as a whole or as a large piece, then it is best cooked slow in an oven, or smoked in a smoker. Sections can also be cut off to make roast, as it is also boneless.


You can have the butcher cut off the lip and further separate the ribeye cap from the ribeye, which is said to be flavorful, tender, and juicy. Make sure that silver skin and excessive fat is trimmed off the surface of the cap and whole pieces for best results. The rest can be trimmed, separated and cut into steak filets.

Ribeye steak

The ribeye steak cut is one of the most prized and popular cuts of the cow for making the most tender, juicy, and flavorful steaks. This cut comes from the same part where other steak cuts in the rib section of the cow are taken from. It is boneless and it can come with the lip (the piece of fat) on the smaller end side of the steak, or not at all.

Ribeye steak uses:

This is of course used to make great steaks.


Tender, juicy, and flavorful. Depending on the marbling (fat inside of the steak) it can can be more tender, juicy, and flavorful with more marbling.

Best cooking methods:

Ribeye steaks are best prepared and cooked by cooking them on a grill at high temperatures. It can also be marinated before it is grilled.


Make sure that the meat dealer trims the fat well on the surface of the meat.

Ribeye steak filet

Ribeye filets are cuts taken from the rib section of the cow in the same area where all ribeye steaks come from, the spot in the ribs near the cow’s back. These steaks are smaller in size than other ribeye steaks and boneless. After the ribeye cap has been removed and the lip and the tail, the rest of the ribeye roll can be trimmed of its outer fat and cut into ribeye steak filets of any desired thickness.

Ribeye steak filet uses:

This is of course used to make steaks.


The texture of ribeye filets is tender, juicy, and it is flavorful, however not as flavorful as other ribeye steak cuts.

Best cooking methods:

Grilling these small steaks on a grill at high temperatures yields the best results.


Make sure that excessive fat on the ribeye roll is removed and trimmed off well before the portion is cut into ribeye steak filets.

Ribeye cap

The ribeye cap is a cut taken from the ribeye roll. It is a thin wide long strip of beef that is located in the ribeye, that can easily be separated from the roll with little cutting once it is located. It has some of the best marbling. The piece is also known as the spinalis.

Ribeye cap/spinalis uses:

This cut can be used to make steak strips, and it can be cut into other small pieces to be enjoyed as is.


The ribeye cap is very tender, and very juicy and flavorful.

Best cooking methods:

Grilling the ribeye cap, smoking it, or baking it in an oven at high temperatures all yield great results. This meat can afford to be cooked longer, as it has great marbling compared to other rib cuts.


Ensure that the butcher finely trims the fat and silver skin from the ribeye cap cut. The silver skin can make this tender cut chewy.

Ribeye cap steak:

The ribeye cap steak is a cut taken from making sections from the ribeye cap strip. It is a thin but very prized cut of steak from the cow’s rib section.

Ribeye cap steak uses:

Ribeye cap steaks are of course used to make steaks.


This is a tender, very flavorful, and juicy steak cut.

Best cooking methods:

Grilling on the grill or in a skillet at high temperatures around 425 degrees Fahrenheit yield the best results for ribeye cap steaks. They can be cooked to medium easier than other steaks without them losing good texture and flavor.


Ensure that all fat is trimmed from the surface, and that the silver skin is also trimmed off of the surface of the meat.

Back rib

The back ribs are a section of ribs kept together by tissues that have been separated from a ribeye roll that still has bones. The surface of the ribeye will have the back ribs on it, if they haven’t already been cut off. The back ribs contain around 7 ribs if the cow is cut between its 6th and 7th rib. Even though these ribs are smaller than the other ribs after they are cut, they are not the short ribs. Short ribs are made from the chuck section of the cow.

Back rib uses:

They are of course used to make ribs. Barbecue ribs as well.


Very juicy, very flavorful, and very tender.

Best cooking methods:

Back ribs are often cut from the ribeye roll and kept whole. They can be slow cooked in low temperatures for an extended period of time in a smoker. They can also be cooked on the grill while wrapped in aluminum foil for 1 hour to an hour and a half at around 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Slow cooking them will help to break down the connective tissues.


Make sure the outer layer of fat on the back ribs isn’t too thick. Trim it down some if it is.

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