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The New York Strip and the Ribeye steak are both premium cuts of steak. They both come with a similar price tag and they look quite similar too. So, if you are confused about what is the difference between the two (or the difference between a skirt and a flank steak), you’re not the only one. Today, we are here to solve this mystery (such as we solved the mystery of prime rib vs ribeye).
We’ll give you a detailed overview of the New York Strip and the Ribeye cuts, so next time you can choose like a real professional. But, before we start, here is the short answer to the question – what is the difference between the New York Strip and the Ribeye steak?
The New York Strip and the Ribeye cut both come from the same muscle – called the backstrap or the loin. The Ribeye is cut from the front part of this muscle, in the rib section, and the New York strip is cut from the back part of the muscle.
The New York Strip and the Ribeye are both tender, richly flavored cuts. The main difference between the two is the level of marbling. The Ribeye cut is highly marbled which gives it a tender and smooth, more fatty texture. The New York Strip has lower degrees of marbling resulting in a tighter texture. However, it does have a thick strip of fat across one size which infuses the steak with flavor.
In short, this is the main difference between these two delicious cuts of steak. If you are interested in learning more about these two cuts and ways to prepare them, keep reading.
Table of Contents
New York Strip
What Is The New York Strip Steak?
The New York strip steak is cut from the part of the animal that is called the loin. More specifically, the muscle that makes most of the New York Strip cut is called the longissimus. Cows don’t really use this muscle that often, so the meat on the New York Strip steak is really tender.
Although New York Strip is the most common name for this type of steak, you’ll definitely find it under many other names. Besides New York, the steak is also connected to Kansas City, so it’s often called the Kansas City Steak in the area. You could also find it under Ambassador Steak, Boneless Club Steak, and sometimes Hotel-Style Steak in the US. In the UK and Australia, this type of steak is usually called Sirloin or Porterhouse.
As we already mentioned, the New York Strip steak is quite tender. This is because it comes from the part of the animal where muscles that are rarely in use are located. It’s not as tender as Filet Mignon that comes from the tenderloin, but it’s definitely the next best thing.
The New York Strip steak has a decent level of marbling, but it is still much lower than the Ribeye steak. Moreover, the New York Strip also features a thick layer of fat down one side. Because of all of this, the New York Strip has a uniquely chewy texture and a robust taste thanks to the high fat content.
The New York Strip is usually cut so that it’s at least 1 inch thick, and usually more. The added thickness prevents the steak from drying out, giving you more freedom when cooking the steak. When buying a New York Strip steak, always look for a cut that is relatively even in width and thickness from top to bottom – this indicates a quality cut.
The New York Strip steak is perfect for making on a grill. The sure-fire way to make this kind of steak is by searing it for a short time at the highest temperature you can get. Just get your grill as hot as it can be, and grill your steak turning every 30 seconds until you reach the internal temperature you want. Don’t grill too long, though, since you want to preserve the tenderness of the meat and not dry it out. The New York Strip steak is also delicious when made in a cast iron pan. The great thing about pan-frying a steak is that you can deglaze the pan later and create a wonderful sauce or gravy from the remaining juices, so that’s definitely something you should try out if you haven’t done so yet.
What Is Ribeye Steak?
The ribeye steak (also sometimes written as rib eye), comes from the rib part of the animal, as the name suggests. In particular, it comes from the part where the ribs six to twelve are located. Now, even though it comes from closer to the ribs, the ribeye is actually made mostly out of the same muscle as the New York Strip – the longissimus dorsi muscle. It does contain parts of some other muscles too, but that doesn’t make a big difference.
The Ribeye steak can be served with or without the bone, and just like many other cuts of steak, it is known under different names, depending on where you are. In the US, it is most commonly referred to as the ribeye steak, and probably anyone will know what you are talking about if you ask for a ribeye cut. However, it’s also not too rare to hear it called the “Spencer steak” or the “Delmonico steak”, after a cult restaurant in New York.
On the other hand, the ribeye is commonly referred to as the scotch fillet in Australia. In France, it’s named Entrecôte, literally meaning “between the ribs”.
The defining characteristic of the ribeye steak is the high degree of marbling it features. If you are confused by what we mean by marbling – it essentially refers to intramuscular fat. Therefore, we don’t mean the large fatty strips that some steaks have (and the ribeye usually has one too). Instead, marbling refers to the fat distributed across the lean part of the meat, resembling a marble pattern.
When you pick up a ribeye steak, you’ll immediately understand what marbling means, as it is probably the most marbled cut of steak. But what does this mean for cooking? Well, the high level of fat gives the ribeye steak a wonderful, exceptionally smooth texture and infuses it with flavor. In addition to this, the ribeye steak can often be bought with a piece of the rib bone inside. The fat will also prevent the meat from drying out which is why the ribeye is the perfect cut for beginners: it is really hard to mess it up.
While the steak can be cooked bone-on or boneless, cooking it with the bone will give you a more robust flavor. When buying the ribeye steak, make sure to choose a cut that is at least 1 inch thick for best results.
The ribeye steak is the perfect cut you can use if you want to experiment with different methods of cooking a steak. The ribeye is delicious prepared in a classic way on a cast iron skillet or a charcoal grill, but there are many more things you can do with it if you want to.
For example, it’s the perfect steak for two-zone grilling. What we mean by two zones is searing the steak on extremely high heat (really, as hot as you can get it), and then finishing it on indirect heat. The searing helps caramelize the outer layer of the meat, while the slow finish keeps it tender and moist.
The reverse sear method is another thing you can try with your ribeye steak. To be honest, you really can’t do the reverse sear with every cut of steak, but thanks to the high levels of marbling, you can definitely do it with the ribeye steak. The reverse sear method involves first cooking the steak on moderate heat until it’s cooked through, and then quickly searing it over an open flame. Even though a bit controversial, this method will give you a wonderful crust on your ribeye steak!
Arguably, preparing a steak is one of the most enjoyable things in life. Even though anyone can grill a steak, making it truly outstanding takes a lot of skill and experience every step of the way. The journey to the perfect steak definitely starts with choosing the right cut of meat. Both the New York Strip and the ribeye steak are widely available in butcher shops across the world these days, and you probably won’t have a hard time finding them even in supermarkets. In any case, choosing steaks with even thickness, preferably from prime grade beef, is always a good place to start.
Once you’ve selected your steak, all the rest is art. If you want something more buttery or smooth, always choose the ribeye, but if you want more of a statement and a distinct flavor, the New York Strip is definitely the best. In any case, we hope this guide has helped you on your steak-making journey. And feel free to check out our other reviews: