Steak is a beautiful thing. It’s a meal that satisfies like no other, and when it comes to choosing the right cut, things can get a little heated.
That’s why we’re here to talk about two of the most popular options on the menu: New York Strip and Ribeye. These cuts are the source of many arguments, so let’s settle the debate once and for all. Grab a napkin and get ready for some mouthwatering info.
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New York Strip Vs. Ribeye
If you’re like most of the steak-grilling world, you’re probably thinking, “why not both?” That is an incredibly valid choice.
However, you may be forced to choose once you get to the store, especially with today’s prices. It’s best if you go into the debate armed with the facts. So let’s get to it.
The main difference between a ribeye and a NY strip is that the Ribeye has more internal marbling or intermuscular fat. This gives it its signature flavor and makes it more forgiving when cooking than other steaks, such as filet mignon or sirloin.
The New York Strip steak also has a thick band of fat running down one side that you don’t really eat, giving it its robust taste.
However, this fat content is much less than what is found in the Ribeye, so this cut may be preferable for those who are trying to reduce the fat in their diet.
The Ribeye is packed with flavor due to its high-fat content, plus its buttery smooth texture adds an unmistakable tenderness. It’s also more forgiving when you cook it. If you overcook this cut slightly, the marbling still ensures it stays juicy!
The New York Strip also has some serious taste going on – thanks to its thick band of fat running down one side. This cut has a more solid texture and will definitely delight those steak lovers who like a little more solid structure or “chew” to their steak.
Let’s Slice Into The Ribeye First
The Ribeye comes from the higher regions of a steer – right near the neck. It’s cut from the upper part of the rib cage in the area, stretching from ribs six through twelve.
It’s usually carved out of the longissimus dorsi muscle, but depending on where it’s cut, you might find cuts of both spinalis and complexus muscles in there too.
A Ribeye By Any Other Name…
Perhaps the better question is, “where is it located on a menu?” It may seem silly, but there are a few different names for the Ribeye, and if you’re in the mood for a specific texture and flavor, you might miss the Ribeye because it’s hiding under an alias.
It can appear on a menu as the Delmonico (named for the famous New York City steakhouse), a cowboy cut (this one usually has the rib bone on it), the tomahawk if it has the entire rib bone with it, or the Spencer if it is being served with the bone removed.
It is also called a Scotch filet, but that is generally how they refer to it in Australia or New Zealand. And if you want to get snooty, the French refer to it as the Entrecote, which means “between the ribs.”
What To Expect From A Ribeye
If you want a real treat, then the Ribeye steak is it! This steak will melt in your mouth like butter with its delicious marbling. They have two different types of muscles divided by their own fat pad, which not only adds to the texture, you get a full-flavored, juicy cut that cannot be beaten.
How To Shop For A Ribeye
Make sure you pick the best when looking for ribeyes in the supermarket or butcher shop. Inferior cuts are being sold as ribeyes because they come from the same part of the steer. However, they are not going to give you the results you want.
Be sure the Ribeye you bring home is at least an inch thick or thicker. It should be of choice or prime grade, and you need to pay careful attention to the marbling.
Those veins of fat running through the cut are the secret to grilling success. Take a minute and look through the selection for the best marbling. It is well worth your time.
How To Grill A Ribeye
Ribeyes are best grilled with the standard two-zone fire. I am a firm believer in charcoal as the best flavor for steaks, but a gas grill will also get the job done. If you use a gas grill, only light one burner, so you have a hot zone and a medium zone, just like you do with the charcoal on one half of the grill.
Sear your steak on the hot side of the grill until it’s brown on both sides. Then, move it to the cooler side of the grill (which still has plenty of heat for cooking the meat) to finish it. If you are unsure, use a meat thermometer to check the steak. An internal temperature of 130-140°F (55-60°C) will deliver a perfectly medium-rare ribeye.
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But What About The Reverse Sear?
If you really want to get fancy, this is a great way to cook a ribeye. To do this, set up a two-zone fire, get the grill to somewhere between 225°F and 275°F (107-135°C) and grill the Ribeye on the cooler side. While doing that, put a cast-iron skillet directly over the coals and let it heat up.
Be sure to monitor the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. When the internal temperature reaches 90-95°F (32-35°C), toss that baby into the hot skillet with a thick pat of butter. Briefly sear each side until it is a deep, rich brown.
It won’t take long since the skillet should be good and hot by the time you put the steak in it. Once it’s brown, put it on a plate and enjoy your perfectly prepared, medium-rare Ribeye.
Time To Talk About The New York Strip
Not to be outshined by the Ribeye, the New York Strip is a solid contender for an unforgettable celebration of carnivorous cravings.
Like the Ribeye, it comes from the longissimus dorsi of the steer. It is a tasty cut from the rear of the animal’s loin, just under its backbone. The New York Strip is incredibly tender and flavorful but more dense than the Ribeye.
Fun fact: The New York Strip is also one side of the famous T-bone steak.
Be Sure You’re Getting The Right Cut
This highly sought cut can be found under a lot of different names. So let’s strip away the mystery. The New York Strip is also known as the Ambassador Steak, the Country Club Steak, The Kansas City Steak, the Top Loin or the Hotel Steak. It is often referred to as the Shell Steak if they serve it with the bone.
If you are ever down under, pay attention. The Aussies call this one a porterhouse or sirloin. They do the same thing in New Zealand.
The New York Strip Has Its Own Uniquely Delicious Characteristics
The beauty of the New York Strip is the density of the muscle fibers that give it its unique mouthfeel and chewiness.
The New York Strip comes from the same muscle group as the Ribeye, giving you the same rich flavor and beefy goodness of its popular relative. That muscle group is also one the steer doesn’t use that often, so the tissue stays soft and tender.
The big difference is the New York Strip doesn’t have the same type of marbling as the Ribeye, so you need a thicker cut to ensure it doesn’t dry out on the grill. The fat for the New York Strip is in a band along one side of the steak. This makes it a healthier choice because it gives you a lower fat level than the Ribeye.
How To Buy The Best New York Strip
If you want to enjoy a New York Strip, it is essential to find the right cut at the grocery store or butcher shop. You want to buy the highest grade possible because the New York Strip has less marbling, which means the higher-grade steaks will be more tender.
You also want a thicker cut (an inch or more) to ensure you have enough fat in the steak to keep it juicy when it hits your plate.
You also need to find a steak that is somewhat even at the top and bottom. The more rectangular the shape, the better the steak will be. If the steaks are wavy or have a narrow end, it means they were cut from the sirloin end of the muscle and won’t have the true flavor of a New York Strip.
The Best Way To Cook A New York Strip
The beauty of a New York Strip is it’s a lot less fussy than a ribeye. It’s much easier to grill because the smaller amount of marbling means rendered fat is less likely to cause a flare-up from the coals. You need to cook it hot and fast to ensure it stays tender.
Once again, set up a two-zone fire (one burner on a gas grill) and sear the New York Strip quickly on the hot side of the grill. Once you flip the steak to grill the other side, insert your thermometer and monitor the internal temperature.
You still want the internal temperature somewhere between 130-140°F (55-60°C) but keep it at the lower end of the range. If you pull the steak just as it reaches 130°F (55°C), it will still cook a bit, adding five more degrees to its internal temperature as it rests.
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Oddly Enough, You Can Also Pan Fry A New York Strip
For this method of cooking, you still want to fire up the grill, but you will be putting a cast-iron skillet between the fire and the steak. Leave the skillet on for a while and let it get good and hot. The reason you want cast iron is that it can take the heat a lot better than most aluminum or stainless steel pans.
Once that skillet is good and smoking hot, drop the steak in for about 3 minutes per side. Once you flip the steak, monitor the internal temperature.
For this method of cooking, you want to pull the steak off the heat when the internal temperature reaches about 125°F (52°C). It’s a little under the perfect temperature, but as it rests, it will continue to cook.
If you rest the steak on a metal rack, you can also collect the juices that drip. Add those juices back into the hot pan for a minute or two, and then pour them over the resting steak. It’s a great way to add flavor and finish the steak.
Which Is The Healthier Option?
There has been a lot of debate about which cuts of steak are healthy and which ones to avoid.
Getting a good answer on steak or the healthiness of red meat, in general, is about as easy as nailing jello to the wall. That being said, we can give you the facts, and you can make the choice.
Both steaks are rich flavorful cuts of beef. The average calorie count for an 8oz ribeye is about 661 calories. It also comes with 0g of carbs, 35g of fat and 54g of protein.
The 8oz New York Strip comes in at 552 calories with 0g of carbs, 37.5g of fat and 50g of protein. As you can see, the two are neck and neck (or rib and rib in this case). That being the case, we recommend serving your mental health first and choosing the steak you like best.
The beauty of having to choose between a ribeye and a New York Strip is that it’s a can’t-go-wrong situation. Both are beautiful cuts of beef, and both deliver deep flavor, tender structures and an unbeatable dining experience.
My advice is to make sure you have at least one other person for dinner, buy and grill a Ribeye and a New York Strip, cut the steaks in half and have one of each on the same plate. Then you can decide for yourself.