Buying the perfect steak can be quite a challenge, especially when different names are used to describe the same cut. When it comes to premium steaks like the New York Strip and Ribeye, the decision becomes even more crucial. At first glance, both steaks may look similar, but they have distinct characteristics that set them apart. In this article, we will delve into the key differences between these two steaks and provide cooking tips to help you make the most of your steak-buying experience.
The Ribeye vs The New York Strip: Unveiling the Facts
The main differentiating factor between the Ribeye and the New York Strip lies in the amount of internal marbling or fat. The Ribeye boasts a generous amount of marbling, resulting in a tender steak with abundant flavor and a buttery smooth texture. The marbling also makes the Ribeye forgiving to cook, as the fat helps it stay moist and delectable, even if slightly overcooked. It can be served boneless or bone-in, depending on your preference.
On the other hand, the New York Strip offers a robust taste with a reasonably large rim of fat on the side. Its closer texture and defined grain make it a popular choice for those who prefer a steak with a bit of chew. Although it is less marbled than the Ribeye, the New York Strip still delivers a tender and richly flavored experience.
To visually compare the two steaks, check out the video below:
Both the Ribeye and the New York Strip are cut from the longissimus dorsi, a pair of muscle strips located along the outside of a steer’s spine. Steaks from these muscle strips, also known as the backstrap or loin, tend to be more tender due to the muscles’ lack of usage compared to other more active muscle groups.
The Ribeye: A Closer Look
Where it’s located: The Ribeye is obtained from the upper rib cage, close to the neck, specifically from ribs six to twelve. Most Ribeye steaks are cut from the longissimus dorsi muscle, but depending on the cut, they may also contain sections of the spinalis and complexus muscles.
Other common names: In the US, the Ribeye goes by several names, such as the beauty steak, Delmonico steak, cowboy cut (bone-in), or Spencer steak (boneless). In France, it is referred to as the Entrecôte, which translates to “between the ribs.” In Australia and New Zealand, it is known as the scotch fillet.
Characteristics: Ribeyes are renowned for their deep marbling and rich flavor. When cooked to perfection, these fatty steaks simply melt in your mouth. Ribeyes that combine longissimus and spinalis muscles have a distinct pad of fat separating the two tissues.
How to buy: Ribeye steaks are widely available at supermarkets and butcher shops. Look for steaks that are at least one inch thick, preferably of choice or prime grade. For an exceptional experience, we highly recommend the American Wagyu ribeye steak from Snake River Farms.
Best cooking methods: Grilling a Ribeye is best done with a two-zone fire, searing it on the hot side for browning and then finishing it off on the medium side. Alternatively, you can try the reverse sear method, where the steak is slow-cooked and then seared for a perfect medium-rare.
The New York Strip: A Deeper Dive
Where it’s located: The New York Strip is also cut from the longissimus dorsi, specifically from the loin section towards the rear of the animal. It is part of the short loin primal, located under the backbone. The New York Strip is one side of a T-bone steak.
Other common names: The New York Strip has various other names, such as Ambassador Steak, Country Club Steak, Kansas City Steak, Shell Steak (with bone-in), Top Loin Steak, and Hotel Cut Steak. In Australia and New Zealand, it is sold as a porterhouse or sirloin.
Characteristics: Coming from the same underused muscle group as the Ribeye, the New York Strip offers tenderness, rich flavor, and a thick pad of fat on one side. Unlike the Ribeye, New York Strip steaks are often cut to a thickness of an inch or more to prevent drying out during cooking. While still beautifully marbled, they generally have less fat content.
How to buy: Due to their lower marbling, it is advisable to choose the highest grade New York Strip steak you can afford. Look for cuts that have a relatively even width from top to bottom. Steaks with uneven shapes or narrower ends are from the sirloin end and may not taste as good. Snake River Farms offers quality New York strip steaks for delivery.
Best cooking methods: The New York Strip is ideal for grilling due to its lower fat content, which reduces the chances of flare-ups. Cook it hot and fast to make the most of its inherent tenderness. If pan-frying, sear the steak until it reaches a temperature close to perfection, and then let it rest for maximum juiciness. Don’t forget to collect the juices and drizzle them over the steak before serving, a technique known as the “Fat-Flash” recommended by Kenji López-alt, Chief Culinary Advisor at Serious Eats.
Which Steak is Healthier?
If health is a concern, the New York Strip is the leaner option compared to the Ribeye. While the difference in fat content between the two is minimal, opting for the New York Strip can give you peace of mind.
The Decision: A Win-Win Situation
Choosing between the New York Strip and the Ribeye is a delightful predicament to be in. Both steaks are exceptional cuts of beef, delivering tenderness and deep, rich flavor. However, they are not interchangeable. If you desire a steak with a buttery smooth texture and delicious rendered fat, the Ribeye is the perfect choice. Alternatively, if you prefer a steak with a little less fat and a bit of chew, the leaner yet tender New York Strip is your go-to option.
Do you have a favorite between these two steaks? Perhaps you have a fool-proof method for cooking them? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below!
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