New york strip and ribeye are two of the most popular steaks in restaurants and for cooking at home. They’re both super tasty, but unfortunately, they’re also pretty expensive. In this guide, I’ll help you determine which one’s more your style, the new york strip or the ribeye. Just know, there’s no wrong pick between ribeye and new york strip. Both are amazing and totally worth cooking up.
Let’s get into what makes them different.
New York Strip vs. Ribeye: At a Glance
The biggest difference between a new york strip and a ribeye is that a ribeye is more flavorful and tender than a new york strip. The ribeye contains 3-4 different muscles and has more marbling. In contrast, the new york strip consists mainly of one muscle and is leaner, making it easier to cook and eat.
Just because ribeye has a few advantages doesn’t mean the NY Strip is a bad choice. It’s one of the best steaks out there. Choosing between these two is a win-win; they’re both great options. I like eating both, but if I had to pick just one, I’d go for ribeye.
Let’s look at some of the other differences and similarities.
|New York Strip
|Location on the Cow
|Short loin sub-primal
|Contains 3-4 different muscles
|Contains one muscle
|Size and Weight
|On average, about 6 to 8 inches long and around 5 inches wide. A 1.5-inch thick strip weighs between 12 and 15 ounces
|On average, 6.5 up to nearly 8 inches long, and it’s about 3 to 4 inches wide. A 1.5-inch thick ribeye weighs between 15 and 17 ounce
|Pan-searing, grilling, oven cooking, sous-vide, and even smoking
|Pan-searing, grilling, oven cooking, sous-vide, and even smoking
|New york strip has a good, beefy flavor, but it’s not as robust as a ribeye
|Very rich flavour
|Tender but with a bit of good chew
|Pricey but a bit cheaper than ribeye
Location on the Cow
The strip steak, also known as the new york strip, is cut from a different area on a cow than the ribeye steak. The new york strip comes from the short loin sub-primal, which is at the front part of the loin primal. Despite its name, the strip is cut from a long muscle toward the rear end of the steer. On the other hand, ribeye steak comes from the rib primal, located between the 5th/6th rib (just behind the chuck and above the short plate) and the 12th/13th rib, right before you get to the loin primal. So basically, the rib primal has meat from the 6th to the 12th rib, and each section has a different mix of muscles.
As you can see, new york strip and ribeye come from different parts of the cow. What’s interesting, though, is that they do share some muscles. More on that below.
The ribeye has four main muscles. The biggest one is the longissimus dorsi, also known as the eye of the ribeye. This part is pretty tender and has a fine grain. The next muscle is the spinalis — one of the best muscles in a cow – it’s super tender, loosely grained, and tastes great. Then there’s the Longissimus Costarum, which often gets removed. Last but not least is the Complexus, a small muscle that might not even be there if your ribeye is cut from the front of the rib. Remember that these muscles’ size can change depending on where the ribeye is cut. You’ll see this mostly in how much spinalis, or “cap,” you get compared to the rest of the steak.
Now, let’s talk about the new york strip. Its main muscle is the longissimus dorsi, just like in the ribeye. But it feels a bit tighter here and has a more noticeable grain. It’s tender, sure, but it’s got a bit more chew than the eye of the ribeye.
What sets the new york strip apart from the ribeye is the amount of fat between the muscles—or the lack of it. I’m talking about intermuscular fat here, not the marbling (intramuscular fat) inside the muscle. If you look at a ribeye, you’ll see a bunch of fat between the muscles. The new york strip? Almost none. And that’s something I really like in new york strip —it simplifies cooking and eating.
One more thing, you can get both of these cuts, boneless or with the bone. A bone-in new york strip is often known as a Kansas City steak. Ribeye with a bone has its own set of cool names—the long-boned one is usually called a tomahawk steak, and the medium-boned version is known as a cowboy steak. And just as a heads-up, despite what some folks believe, the bone doesn’t add flavor to the steak.
Ribeye steak definitely has more marbling than a new york strip. Just look at the ribeye’s spinalis muscle, also called the ribeye cap. This is one of the most marbled parts of the cow. The new york strip isn’t too shabby either; it’s got a fair amount of marbling in its longissimus dorsi muscle, just not as much as the ribeye. Remember, I’m talking about steaks of the same grade of beef here.
Size and Weight
On average, a ribeye is about 6 to 8 inches long and around 5 inches wide. The new york strip, however, usually measures from 6.5 up to nearly 8 inches long, and it’s about 3 to 4 inches wide, depending on how thick the fat cap is. The ribeye and new york strip can vary a lot in weight since they can be cut to any thickness. But you’ll often find them cut to 1 to 2 inches thick. I always recommend a 1.5 to 2-inch thickness for an optimal steak experience. A 1.5-inch thick ribeye weighs between 15 and 17 ounces, whereas a new york strip of the same thickness weighs a bit less, around 12 to 15 ounces.
Remember, not every ribeye and new york strip is the same. The weight and size can vary a lot, especially depending on which part of the animal the steak was cut from.
New york strip and ribeye steaks are similar in size and thickness, so you can cook them the same way, be it pan-searing, grilling, oven cooking, sous-vide, or even smoking. No matter the method, both cuts come out great. But the new york strip has the edge of making your life easier in the kitchen. Why? It has less fat, both the intramuscular and intermuscular. This matters when grilling directly over the fire because ribeye’s higher fat content means you’ll have to deal with flare-ups more often.
Now, let’s talk about which one is easier to eat. With its lower fat content, the new york strip is definitely simpler to cut into and enjoy. ribeye, on the other hand, can be a bit of a hassle. It’s got a lot of this intermuscular fat, which is different from the marbling inside the meat. The fat between muscles is pretty rubbery and almost impossible to chew, so you spend more time trimming away the stuff you don’t want.
The higher marbling content in ribeye makes it juicier and richer in flavor than the new york Strip. The variety of muscles in a ribeye, particularly the spinalis muscle, adds complexity to its taste. While the new york strip may not have as robust a flavor as the ribeye, it’s worth noting that both cuts are delicious.
Ribeye is much more tender than the new york strip, especially in the spinalis area, which melts in your mouth when the fat melts. That’s not to say the new york strip is tough, but there’s a noticeable difference between them. The new york strip is still a pretty tender steak, just with a bit more chew. And just so you know, ribeye is the third most tender cut you can get from a cow, right after the flat iron steak and filet mignon.
When it comes to the new york strip and ribeye, cooking them to medium-rare doneness is usually the way to go. You can also go for rare or medium if that’s more your thing. I think medium-rare is the sweet spot for both types of steak, making the meat juicy and tender. When you cook it to a temperature between 130 and 140°F, the fat melts, making the steak even juicier and more flavorful.
For a steak with good marbling like new york strip and ribeye, medium-rare is the best choice for melting that tasty fat. If you’re dealing with leaner cuts like filet mignon, it’s better to consider cooking it to rare doneness.
New york strip and ribeye are both on the pricey side when it comes to cuts of beef. But if you really dig into the prices, you’ll find that ribeye usually costs a bit more, especially if you’re going for those rich marbled cuts or Wagyu beef.