Rib Primal

Primal Cut

Situated under the front section of the backbone and used primarily for support. Popular cuts from the Rib include the rich, flavorful Ribeye Steak and the Prime Rib Roast.

Rib primal cut diagram (Beef)

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More about Rib Primal

Sub-Primal Cuts

Short Rib, Prime Rib, Rib Steak, Ribeye Steak, Back Ribs.


Located on the center back of the cow, the rib cut tends to be more flavorful and full of fat marbling content.

Ideal size

  • Most Short Ribs are 2-4" in length with a varying thickness.
  • Prime Rib roast can weigh anywhere from 5-10 lbs.
  • Back Ribs are finger sized and attached to create a rack.
  • Ribeye Steaks are usually 1-2 lbs. but can be cut to be as big as 8 lbs. All of these cuts can come with the bone in or out.

Fat Content

  • Short ribs contain an average of 55% fat.
  • Prime rib portions by serving contain 45% fat.
  • Baby back ribs Baby back ribs- Ribeye steaks contain 25% fat.

Best Cooking Methods

  • Prime Rib is best cooked at a very high temperature for a short period of time to create a crispy exterior and rare center. The roast is cut into portions and if a guest requires a more well-done steak the meat is allowed to rest in a hot just until the desired temperature is reached.
  • Ribeye Steaks are best cooked on a direct heat grill. Any fuel type will work but charcoal will be the best for adding flavor to the meat.
  • Short Ribs are best when braised first to break down the meat structure.
  • Back Ribs are best when rubbed with dry or wet rub then smoked in an offset smoker for at low temperatures for a long period of time. Usually, Barbecue sauce is lathered on the ribs at the end and finished on the grill to bring some char flavor to the dish.

Preparation Methods

  • Prime Rib is prepped with a dry rub of spices and seasonings before cooking.
  • Ribeye Steaks are a type of steak cut that does not need any prepping at all. Occasionally some salt and pepper, but no more than that.
  • Short Ribs have to be cut by a butcher to a specific length before cooking. The ribs should also be separated and coated in a flour or cornstarch.
  • Back Ribs can be prepared like any other rib. While there are so many to choose from, maybe this article will help you.

We should choose this type

  • Prime Rib is used for feeding a lot of people generally up to 20 people at one time, so choose this for big events, holidays and celebrations. Prime rib can be very pricey as well so it is not eaten very often.
  • Ribeye Steaks are great for grilling on a barbecue. These are the king of steaks due to their high-fat content which adds much more flavor to the meat while it is cooking.
  • Short Ribs are best when they are braised first then coated in barbecue sauce and grilled to get that char flavor from the grill. They can also be cooked for longer until almost falling apart and served with mashed potatoes and a sauce. Short Ribs are very popular in Korean Barbecue.
  • Back Ribs are great for when you want to use your indirect heat smoker and cook low and slow.

Type of Grill/Smoker when BBQing

  • Prime Rib: Conventional oven or direct heat smoker.
  • Ribeye Steaks: Direct heat grill.
  • Short Ribs: Conventional oven and direct heat grill.
  • Back Ribs: Indirect heat smoker or your best smoker.

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