Ribeye is known as the “Butchers Choice” of steaks and for good reason. It features some pretty intense marbling in the form of intramuscular fat and, as we know, fat is the foundation of flavour.
The ribeye is all about flavour and is probably one of the most intensely flavoured pieces of untreated beef you’re going to find on the menu at a steakhouse or on the shelf of a butcher shop. If the beefy flavour is what you desire, ribeye is the way to go.
What is a Ribeye?
The Ribeye steak is revealed as a “Ribeye roll” and is cut out of the rib area of the cow. When the carcass is being cut down the cartilage, associated muscles, gristle, external fat covering, and other such less desirable pieces are removed to reveal the premium Ribeye meat in a delicious whole roasting cut.
Once you have trimmed away all the extraneous pieces of meat, you are left with an almost “eye” of beef that is the jewel known as Ribeye steak.
You can also get your ribeye still attached to the bone which would be called “Rib Steak” or the increasingly popular Tomahawk Steak where the meat is still attached to the entire French-trimmed rib bone. The Tomahawk Ribeye Steak is truly something to behold, it would look right at home on Fred and Barney's table.
Fat is Flavour
Don’t be fooled by the anti-fat fear-mongering, fat is the source of the flavour in almost all kinds of meat. As with anything though, moderation is the key. \
Other cuts of meat such as a Fillet or a Sirloin are leaner pieces of featureless marbling and therefore less fat so you could call them “healthier”.
However, while these steaks would still be delicious, they just won't have that beefy flavour that steak lovers crave.
The Ribeye is an intensely flavoured cut of meat even without any sort of additional ingredients but what if you don’t want to marinade your meat in some fancy concoction or slather it in a complicated sauce?
The best way to develop your meats natural flavour is to let it age.
We’ve talked about ageing meat in other articles but the process is quite simple. The meat is left in a cool, dry, and stable environment to allow an outer layer of mould to accumulate and to allow moisture in the meat to naturally evaporate away.
This process shrinks to fat cap down and pulls the beef in tighter for a more concentrated flavour while the exterior mould imparts its own flavour profile onto the meat to add that extra layer of depth much in the same way that the mould on quality cheeses would.
If you can get a piece of well-aged Ribeye then you are sure in for a meaty treat.
How To Cook A Ribeye
Let's get down to the real “meat” of it then, you know all about the Ribeye, where it comes from, and what makes it so delicious so now all that’s left to do is cook one up and try it for yourself.
There are many ways to cook a Ribeye and also many ways to ruin a Ribeye. For the purposes of this article we’re just going to be observing the K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle.
Step 1 is to generously season all sides of the steak with salt and pepper. Don’t be afraid to really go for it here because this piece of beef will absolutely suck up any sort of seasoning you can offer it.
Next is to get your pan smoking hot and add just a dash of oil. Lay your steak down in the pan and enjoy that sizzle for a good 2-3 minutes on each side as a very rough guide. If you have an internal temperature probe, as you should, you’re going to be looking for 50°C for rare, 60°C for medium and 70°C for well-done on the internal.
After the second flip in the pan, drop the heat a bit and add a hefty dollop of butter, some sprigs of thyme, and some roughly smashed garlic. When this deliciously fragrant mixture has melted, take your spoon and baste the liquid over the meat. This will help cook the steak and he,p the flavours to penetrate.
When you’re happy with your sear and internal temperature. Rescue the steak from the pan, allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes, then slice across the grain with your choice of sides.
Whichever way you cut it, Ribeye is an amazingly tasty, amazingly versatile, and a perfect choice for your dinner table.