Buying the right steak can be tricky, especially when the same steak can go by many different names.
The stakes are even higher (pun definitely intended) when ordering a more expensive steak like the New York Strip or Ribeye
At a glance, both steaks look very similar.
To help you maximize your steak-buying dollar, we’ll explain the key differences and how to best cook these premium steaks.
Ribeye VS New York Strip Facts
The main difference between a ribeye and a NY strip is that the ribeye has more internal marbling or fat.
The New York Strip has a thick band of fat running down one side that you can’t really eat.
The Ribeye is a great choice if you are looking for a tender steak with plenty of flavor and a buttery smooth texture.
The marbling also makes the Ribeye a particularly forgiving cut to cook. Even if you overcook it, the fat helps it stay moist and delicious.
It can be served either boneless or bone-in.
Most New York Strip steaks have a reasonably large rim of fat on the side which gives it a robust taste. The closer texture and definite grain of the New York Strip make it popular with people who prefer their steak with a bit of chew to it.
If you’re struggling to tell your NY strip from your Ribeye, the video below compares the two steaks side by side.
Both the Ribeye and the New York Strip are cut from the longissimus dorsi, a pair of muscle strips that run down a steer’s spine on the outside of the ribs.
The longissimus dorsi, more commonly referred to as the backstrap or the loin tends to be an uncommonly used muscle in cattle. This lack of use makes steaks cut from the longissimus dorsi more tender than those cut from other, more active, muscle groups.
The Ribeye is cut from the rib section at the front end of the longissimus dorsi, and is a highly marbled cut with a smooth texture. Marbling is additional intramuscular fat, distributed throughout the meat that imparts a rich beefy flavor to the Ribeye.
The New York Strip is cut from the loin section, towards the rear end of the longissimus dorsi, and has a tighter texture and less marbling than the Ribeye.
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Where it’s located
The Ribeye comes from a section of the steer along the upper rib cage, close to the neck. Specifically, the area of the ribs stretching from ribs six to twelve.
The majority of Ribeye steaks are cut from the longissimus dorsi muscle. However, depending on where the Ribeye was cut from, it may also contain sections of the spinalis and complexus muscles.
Other common names
In the US, the Ribeye is often sold as the beauty steak, the Delmonico steak (named after the famous New York steakhouse), the cowboy cut (if served with bone-in) or the Spencer steak (if served with the bone removed).
The French refer to the Ribeye as the Entrecôte, which translates as “between the ribs.”
In Australia and New Zealand the ribeye is known as the scotch fillet.
The Ribeye is most well known for its deep marbling and rich flavor. When cooked properly, this fatty steak will melt in the mouth.
Ribeyes that are a combination of longissimus and spinalis muscles have a characteristic pad of fat separating the two tissues.
How to buy
Ribeye steaks should be readily available at all supermarkets and butcher shops.
Look for steaks that are at least one inch thick, preferably choice or prime grade.
If you really want to treat yourself we highly recommend the American Wagyu ribeye steak from Snake River Farms.
Best cooking methods
Two-zone Grilling – Grilling a Ribeye is best done with a two-zone fire. You’ll want to set you your gas grill with one burner on high and one on medium. If you are cooking with charcoal, shift your coals, so one area is hotter.
Depending on how you like your steaks cooked, sear your Ribeye on the hot side to brown the outside and then move it over to the medium side to finish it off. Remember, the best way to check if your steak is done is by using a meat thermometer.
The copious fat in a Ribeye can lead to flare-ups, so keep an eye on your steak and your tongs handy.
We have a full reverse seared ribeye recipe you can check out, or follow the steps below.
To cook your Ribeye using the reverse sear method, preheat your oven or grill to around 225-275°F.
Monitor the internal temp with a meat thermometer, and when it reaches around 90-95°F, throw it into the hot skillet with a knob of butter or over the hottest part of the grill and briefly sear each side for the perfect medium-rare.
New York Strip
Where it’s located
The New York Strip, also a section of the longissimus dorsi is a cut from the loin, towards the rear of the animal. The area the New York Strip is cut from is called the short loin primal and is located under the backbone.
The NY strip is one side of a T-bone steak.
Other common names
The New York Strip goes by many other names including Ambassador Steak, Country Club Steak, Kansas City Steak, Shell Steak (if served with the bone in), Top Loin Steak and Hotel Cut Steak.
In Australia and New Zealand, the steak is sold as a porterhouse or sirloin.
Coming from the same underused muscle group as the Ribeye, the New York Strip is a tender and richly flavored steak with characteristic chew and a thick pad of fat down one side.
The New York Strip is often cut to an inch or more in thickness. This is because it can lack the same level of marbling of the Ribeye, and the thickness helps to keep it from drying out when cooking.
These steaks can still be beautifully marbled, but won’t have the same level of fat as the ribeye.
How to buy
Because New York strip steaks have less marbling, you want to buy the highest grade you can afford.
Look for a cut that has a relatively even width from top to bottom. Steaks with a wavy shape or one end that is more narrow are from the sirloin end and won’t taste as good.
You can get quality New York strip steak delivered from Snake River Farms.
Best cooking methods
Hot and fast – The New York Strip takes to grilling better than the Ribeye because the smaller amount of marbling on the cut means it is less likely to cause flare-ups. Cooking a New York Strip hot and fast makes the best of its inherent tenderness.
Pan-Fry – You can also pan-fry your New York Strip. Get your pan smoking hot, throw in your steaks, and use your thermometer to bring it up to about 5°F away from the perfect temperature.
Once it’s there, take your steak off the heat to avoid overcooking, as the meat will continue to rise in temperature just after it’s taken off the heat.
Rest your meat for around a minute on a wire rack over a tray.
Then, collect up all the juices from that tray and our them back into your still-hot pan, heating them and then pouring them back over the steaks before serving in what Kenji López-alt, the Chief Culinary Advisor over at Serious Eats, calls the “Fat-Flash.”
Which steak is healthier?
If you are concerned about eating healthy, then you might want to choose the New York Strip over the Ribeye. While there really isn’t that much to choose between them, the New York Strip is the less fatty of the two steaks.
The best kind of problem
If you are being forced to choose between New York Strip and Ribeye, then the chances are you are in a win-win situation. Both are excellent cuts of beef, beautifully tender with a deep rich flavor.
However, they are not interchangeable.
So, next time you want buttery smooth texture and delicious rendered fat, you know to choose the Ribeye.
If you want a little less fat and a little more chew to your steak, you know to pick the leaner, but still beautifully tender New York Strip.
Do you have a favorite between these two steaks? Perhaps you’ve got a fool-proof method for cooking them that hasn’t failed you yet? We’d love it if you’d let us know in the comments below!