Prime rib can be roast beef, but roast beef is not necessarily prime rib. The difference between the two is subtle and can be confusing. Knowing one cut of meat is not like another takes time, and roast beef vs prime rib is a classic example of a case of mistaken identity.
The name of some cuts of meat comes from where they are found on the cow. A prime rib fits this bill, but not roasts of beef, which can come from different cuts of meat. The designation of roast beef is not due to a particular cut of meat but a particular cooking style.
“The main difference between Roast Beef and Prime Rib are as follows:
- Prime rib is taken from ribs six through twelve of the cow and is the only cut that can be genuinely called prime rib.
- On the other hand, roast beef can come from the rump, shoulder, neck, or chest area.
- Some roast beef can also be steak.
Let’s look at each of these differences in more detail!”
Where Prime Rib gets its name
The prime rib is located between the sixth and twelfth ribs of a cow. They are tender and juicy and can be prepared in several different ways. Second, only to beef tenderloin for tenderness and flavor, prime ribs are cooked as a standing rib roast, prime rib roast and can be cut into prime rib steaks and rib-eye steaks.
One of the most impressive displays of roasted beef you will likely ever see is a standing rib roast. A standing rib roast is cooked and served with the ribs attached, whereas a prime rib roast is not. The large eye in the heart of a rib roast is tender, juicy, and succulent because the fat marbling of this cut of meat keeps it from drying out while roasting.
Roasting as a standing rib, the juices of the bone soak into the meat, tenderizing them and adding extraordinary flavor. A prime rib roast, which is the cut of meat removed from the bone, is also very flavorful and tender. Often, eateries will purchase a lesser cut of meat and pass it off as prime rib. An easy way to tell if it is a prime rib or an imposter is by its shape, texture, and marbling. A slice of the prime rib will retain the tender eyepiece for which the rib-eye steak is praised, indicating that it is the real deal.
Commonly roasted cuts of beef
Quality is the key to tender beef when choosing a cut for roasting. Since there are a dozen different cuts of beef that roast well, you have options when looking for cuts of beef that will suit your budget. When cooked properly, they can be just as good as a more expensive cut of meat.
If you intend to impress your guests, serving prime rib roast, roasted whole beef tenderloin, or a New York strip roast, will do the job. These are the most expensive cuts of meat for roasting, of course, but for special occasions and holidays, carved roast beef is a treat.
Value cuts of beef for roasting include sirloin tip roast, shoulder roast, tri-tip roast, top round roast, bottom round roast, and eye of round roast. None of these cuts has the fat content and marbling of a prime rib or whole tenderloin roast. They require that they be cooked slow and low to get the best results.
Roast beef by any other name could be steak
As you see, four cuts of meat in this list are also used for steaks. First, the prime rib can be cut into prime rib steaks or rib-eye steaks. Next, the beef tenderloin gives us the most delightful steak of the cow, the filet mignon. Finally, the New York strip roast, which is generally cut into steaks, can be transformed into a wonderful beef roast.
Other cuts of beef that are often cut into steaks instead of roasting whole are the sirloin and eye of round. These cuts are leaner than costlier cuts and can be cooked to be tender and juicy if marinated before cooking.
There are also a few cuts that can be used for pot roast.
Any cut of meat can be carved from a roast and cooked like a steak. You may get a good result, and you may not, but steaks from the above cuts of meat will almost guarantee a tender, juicy steak or fine roast beef.