Rib Roast
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If you can picture Fred Flintstone tipping over in his pre-historic car at the end of the cartoon TV show, you will have a visual (essentially) of a rib section of beef.  The nearby picture does a good job as well.

The look of that cut, (though not one the size of Fred’s), is what we should think of when we think of Ribs or a Rib Roast. The cut is called a Rib Roast because the larger cut is well suited for Roasting, though it doesn’t have to be. 

Because a beef animal is fairly large, the beef rib portion is also fairly large (1-2 feet long) containing 7 ribs. For economic reasons, when you are not feeding the football team, and for reasons of convenience, a Rib Roast can be split down to a more manageable size of only 1 - 4 ribs. You can also purchase a smaller cut, or purchase the larger and break it down using one portion and storing the rest.


Rib Roast is available all year long.


The production of beef is carried about by three primary types of operations: Cow & Calf Operations, Weaner Calf & Yearling Operations, and Dry-Lot Feeding Operations (also known as “Backrounders”) which are the most expensive operations in the Beef Industry. To learn more about Beef Producers just follow the link to Smart Kitchen’s Page on Beef Producers. The Beef Producers are represented by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

American cattle production has remained almost stagnant between 1985 and 2009, growing just 6.4%, while the amount of beef imported has nearly tripled in that time, according to an analysis of USDA figures conducted by R-CALF USA, another the trade group that represents cattle producers.

Once raised, Beef is typically sold to Meat Packers who slaughter, inspect, and butcher the animals to provide Primal Cuts to butchers and portion cuts to consumers.

The Meat Packing Industry is in a period of consolidation. In 1999, the 10 largest beef-packing firms accounted for more than 90 percent of all Steer and Heifer slaughter in the U.S. In 2011, according to the Western Organization of Resources Councils three major companies controlled Beef market. Visit Smart Kitchen’s Meat Packers Resource Page to learn more.


A full seven bone Rib Roast, sometimes called a Prime Rib, or Prime Rib Roast, containing ribs #6 - #12 (counting from the head to the tail) usually weighs 16 Lbs (7.26 kg) and up, so it is often cut into two sections. Counter-intuitively, the “First Cut” Rib Roast, also known as the “Small End” Rib Roast, includes ribs #9 - #12, the last, not the first ribs (counting from head to tail). The thinking is that since the small end is closer to the Loin Primal Cut, it is the first in tenderness.

The “Second Cut,” is also known as the “Large End” Rib Roast and contains ribs #6 - #8 or #9. It is the second in tenderness of the Rib Roasts because it lies closer to the Chuck Primal Cut.


When shopping for Rib Roast, look for Rib Roast that has a clear, red exterior color known as the “Bloom,” that come from exposure to oxygen and not the more normal purplish-red color of vacuum packed beef. Your purchase should be cold, firm to the touch and, if packaged, free of any punctures or rips. Notice the “sell-by” date on the label and make sure you are buying product that is well within its dates of safe use as specified by the sticker. 

A Rib Roast that retains the rib bones can also be known as a Standing Rib Roast, or even a Prime Rib Roast. If the bones are removed it can also be known as a Boneless Rib Roast or a Rib Eye Roast. If the Rib Roast is de-boned, rolled, and tied, it is known as a Rolled Rib Roast.

Rib Steaks, sometimes called Cowboy Steaks can be cut bone-in from a Rib Roast. De-boned and portion cut, the Rib Roast can yield Rib Eye Steaks.


Raw Rib Roast should last for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Add an extra day of cold storage time if the Rib Roast is Marinated or oiled. Raw Rib Roast will keep for 2-3 months in the freezer without any appreciable deterioration in quality.

Cooked Rib Roast should be refrigerated for up to 1-3 days.

Culinary Uses

Rib Roast is a tender Portion Cut of Beef. On Smart Kitchen’s Home Plate it should be Cooked, it is Tender, it can be Thin or Thick depending on how it is cut, it is Moist, and Lean. Using the Home Plate we would call it Cooked, Tender, Thin or Thick, Moist, and Lean or noted in the home plate shorthand Rib Roast would be (C, T2T3-T4, M, L).

The Ribs of the Rib Roast are a nice compromise cut. They have some of the tenderness of the nearby Short Loin but also some of the beef flavor of the nearby Chuck and Plate. Ribs do well with long slow cooking methods, like RoastingBraisingGrilling (Low Heat), and Barbecuing (Low Heat).

The leftovers of a cooked Rib Roast can also be the source of Roast Beef For Sandwiches.

Portion Size

Allow 6 to 9 ounces (170 g to 255 g) per person of trimmed Rib Roast as a Serving Size.

Gluten Free


Low Fat


Low Calorie