There are a ton of different types of steaks out there and it can be confusing figuring out the differences between them! Today we are going to take a look at the differences between a ribeye steak and its little brother, the chuck eye steak.
Ribeyes, also called “beauty steaks,” are one of the favorite cuts of steak aficionados. They are flavorful, juicy, and melt-in-your-mouth tender. Although you may often see ribeyes labeled as either “bone-in” or “boneless,” if they have the bone in, they are technically rib steaks rather than ribeyes.
Where does the ribeye come from
The ribeye comes from the steer’s rib primal cut; specifically, from the steer’s sixth through twelfth ribs, which fall between the chuck and loin on the animal’s side. The ribeye is primarily formed of the muscle called the longissimus dorsi. This area isn’t heavily exercised, leading to the even marbling and tender texture ribeyes are famous for.
Ribeye steaks are well-marbled with evenly distributed white flecks of fat throughout. Often, they will also have a thick strip of fat across the top end, which looks like an eye. The strip of meat over the eye is the spinalis, also called the rib crown or cap, and the bit of muscle tissue at the opposite end is called the complexus. Depending on how the meat is cut, the complexus may or may not appear on each individual steak.
Flavor and tenderness
Ribeye steak has a wonderfully intense beefy flavor. The even marbling means that as the steak cooks, the fat renders into the meat, giving the steak one of the most tender, buttery textures of all steaks.
Ribeyes from the middle portion of the cut will be the most tender and juicy, while those closest to the end will be the toughest. The only steak more tender than ribeye is filet mignon, but ribeye’s more beefy flavor makes it arguably a better steak.
Here is how to cook a ribeye on a Traeger.
Ribeye varies widely in price, from Japanese Wagyu costing hundreds of dollars per pound to a typical grocery store steak that may cost $12 to $20 per pound.
Chuck Eye Steak
Chuck eye steak is sometimes called the “poor man’s ribeye” and this moniker should give you a good idea of the chuck eye’s strong points. It has also been called “The Butcher’s Steak.” The legend goes that butchers have long removed this cut from the end of the chuck primal to save for themselves, and for good reason. As long as you keep it cooked medium or below, chuck eye steak can be a juicy, flavorful cut just like the more expensive ribeye.
Where does the chuck eye steak come from
The chuck eye steak comes from the chuck primal, on the steer’s shoulder, but it is cut only from the fifth rib, meaning that it shares a lot of characteristics with the ribeye and that there are only two chuck eye steaks on each steer. For this reason, chuck eye steaks can sometimes be difficult to find.
Chuck eye is well-marbled, but it can have larger areas of fat than a ribeye. In fact, the chuck eye steak looks deceptively like a ribeye, with the same strip of fat around the edge and the iconic eye of fat towards the top.
Flavor and tenderness
Although chuck cuts are mostly from the heavily exercised neck and shoulder region, and so are usually best cooked low and slow, because a chuck eye steak is from the back edge of the shoulder and has some of the same longissimus dorsi tissues as ribeye, it can be treated a little more like a steak. However, if it is overcooked, the meat will dry out and be tough and chewy. That said, if you treat a chuck eye right, it’ll treat you right too.
Chuck eye delivers the same strong beefy flavors as a ribeye without the same punch to your wallet.
Here is a great recipe for Grilled Chuck Eye Steak.
For the quality and flavor, chuck eye steak is a more economical cut of beef. It will cost you an average of $5 less per pound than a ribeye, only running around $6 to $10 per pound.
Chuck Eye Steak vs Ribeye: Which is Better?
If you are looking for one of the best steaks available, then without a doubt, ribeye is the winner. The ribeye is loaded with flavor and a juicy, tender texture that really can’t be beaten. That doesn’t mean that chuck eye doesn’t have a place at the table. When you can get a hold of a chuck eye steak, it packs an incredibly beefy bang for your buck that is not to be missed.
Let’s see how the contenders stack up.
Availability: You can find ribeyes in just about any grocery store meat department, but you may have to search out a specialty butcher shop to get your hands on a chuck eye steak.
Price: Although chuck eye cooks up just about as deliciously as a ribeye and is rarer than ribeye, the price has not risen as one would expect. Chuck eye is definitely the better deal of the two.
Flavor and Tenderness: Both chuck eye and ribeye have a wonderfully strong, beefy flavor. Chuck eye steak leans a little towards the tougher side but ribeye is fantastically tender.
Time: Chuck eye steak should be marinated and cooked a little slower than ribeye, whereas ribeye is great for a quick, hot cook and needs no marinade.
More Steak Comparison Guides
Now that you know the difference between a ribeye and chuck eye steak you can learn about some other classic steak cuts!