The Primal Cuts of Beef: Rib

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People might think “pork” when they think about ribs. But beef ribs have increased in popularity. That’s because they have more meat, are tender if cooked properly and work well not only for making a rack of ribs, but also for adding great flavor to stews and soups. 

Beef ribs are “more indulgent than pork ribs,” according to the BBC, and they’re absolutely right. Rib meat offers you the chance to make “fall off the bone” barbecue ribs, great sandwiches and flavorful soups. They also good to braise and to marinate in the liquid concoction of your choice.

The rib also is the source for one of the most delicious, popular streaks in the world: the ribeye.

The Cuts of Beef

The flavor profile of beef depends on the cut. Many consumers might remain unaware of this.  Chuck meat, for example, is great for burgers and the ground meat for tacos, while the tender and marbled loin beef produces famous steaks such as the porterhouse or T-bone.

Beef is typically divided along primal cuts. These cuts are: Chuck, rib, loin, round, flank, short plate, brisket and shank. Sub-primal cuts are taken from these primal cuts. For example, the loin can include the short loin, top loin and bottom loin.

From those sub-primals, butchers create portion-sized cuts for consumers to buy.

Where The Ribs Are Located

Beef rib meat has grown in popularity as people have come to realize that it offers exceptional flavor, The heart of the rib primal also produces great steaks, such as the prime rib.

The rib primal cut typically runs along the back of the cattle between the fifth or sixth rib to the 12th or 13th rib. Most rib primal cuts contain seven ribs. It’s bookended by the chuck at the front of the cattle and the loin toward the rear.

Dishes Using the Rib

The entire primal cut is a rib roast from which the steak cuts are made. For example, a ribeye steak is typically made up of the meat between the bones. A rib steak will contain a piece of the bone. The relatively new cowboy steak is essentially a thicker cut rib steak.

Then, of course, there’s the grill. Ribs are a staple at many backyard barbecues and other social events, and beef ribs can be cut as short ribs or larger ribs to satisfy any appetite. And because they come from a section just below the ribeye, they have additional flavor.

The rib primal cut also makes for the perfect slow-cooked holiday roast.

Beef ribs are typically the source of galbi, better known in the U.S. as Korean barbecue short ribs. These are usually served raw and then cooked on a grill at the table.

In Asian cuisine, the ribeye meat also is cut into thin strips that is used in stir fry or to make satay. Ribeye also is often the source for beef in sushi rolls that contain thin strips of meat.

Other Uses for Rib Cut

Every country and distinct cultures have found uses for the rib primal cut.

You can flavor stews with any cut of beef. But rib beef lends itself to this task because of its flavor profile. An example of this comes from British chef James Martin, who offers this recipe for making a beef stew with fluffy dumplings that he calls the “ultimate cold-weather comforter.”

The French style bone-in ribeye is a lot like the cowboy steak, with the extra meat and fat cut off the bone, exposing it like a “handle” on the steak. It’s served in some places with French Fries.

And, of course, there is the prime rib steak. Butchers usually cut the prime rib steak from the entire prime roast after it is cooked. That means it’s usually marinated in its own juices as it was slow-cooked as a standing rib roast. The point is, it is tender and flavorful and considered one of the best steaks you can eat.

The rib primal cut provides one of the widest varieties of dishes of any primal cut. Getting a rib roast sets you up to enjoy rib beef in many different (and very tasty) ways.

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