T-Bone vs. Ribeye

Choosing between a T-bone and a Ribeye steak isn’t easy because both are fantastic cuts of steak. But I’m here to help you decide which one fits your taste buds better based on what you like.

T-Bone vs. Ribeye: Key Differences

T-bone and ribeye come from different parts of the cow, and while both are tasty steaks, they’re quite different in many ways. The T-bone is like a two-for-one deal: you get a new york strip and a tenderloin, divided by a T-shaped bone. The new york strip side has that beefy flavor and medium tenderness, while the tenderloin is super tender but not as flavorful. Ribeye’s a different story. It’s got 3 to 4 different muscles, including two really tasty ones: longissimus dorsi and spinalis dorsi. So, the ribeye ends up having a richer flavor than a T-bone. Plus, ribeye is more marbled, which means it’s juicier.

Comparison: T-Bone vs. Ribeye Cuts from the Cow
T-Bone vs. Ribeye: Location on Cow
T-bone vs Ribeye: A Closer Look
T-bone vs. Ribeye: A Closer Look

The T-bone isn’t the best choice for pan-searing due to its oddly shaped bone. When the meat shrinks during cooking, that bone makes it hard to get a good sear since it keeps the meat from making full contact with the pan. So, you could end up with a steak cooked unevenly, and you might miss out on that nice crust. Ribeye, on the other hand, doesn’t have that problem. You can cook it however you want, but so that you know, it’s delicious when cooked in a pan on the stove or the grill.

FeaturesT-BoneRibeye
Location on the CowShort loin sub-primalRib primal
MusclesTwo steaks in one with different muscles (Strip and Tenderloin)Contains 3-4 different muscles
PriceVery expensive, more than ribeyeExpensive
MarblingMedium for the strip, low for tenderloinHigh
Average weightA 1.5-inch thick t-bone typically weighs between 25 and 32 ouncesA 1.5-inch thick ribeye typically weighs between 15 and 17 ounces
Average sizeA t-bone measures about 8 inches long on the strip side and 2-3 inches wide. On its tenderloin side, it’s typically at least one-third as long as the strip and below 1.25 inches wide, usually around 0.5 inchesA ribeye measures between 6 to 8 inches long and gets up to about 5 inches wide at its widest point
Best way to cook itGrilling, smoking, or broilingPan-searing, grilling, oven cooking, sous-vide, and even smoking
TendernessStrip section: Tender but with a bit of good chew. Tenderloin section: extremely tenderVery tender but not as tender as the tenderloin section in t-bone
FlavorThe strip part has a good, beefy flavor, but it’s not as robust as a ribeye. The tenderloin part has a mild flavor.Very rich flavor
T-Bone vs Ribeye: Table Comparison

In this article, I’m sticking to the must-know differences between T-bone and Ribeye. If you want to dive deeper, check out my article on porterhouse vs. ribeye. I go into much detail in that one, so I don’t want to repeat myself too much here. But why am I sending you off to another article? 

Here’s why: a Porterhouse and T-bone are the same in flavor, texture, marbling, and even how you cook them. What sets them apart? It’s the size of the tenderloin section. A porterhouse has a tenderloin portion that’s at least 1.25 inches wide. If it’s smaller than that, you’re looking at a T-bone. So, whether we’re talking about T-bone vs. Ribeye or Ribeye vs. Porterhouse, it all boils down to that tenderloin size.

Porterhouse and T-bone steak compared to filet mignon and strip steak
Porterhouse and T-bone steak compared to filet mignon and strip steak

Porterhouse steak comes from the rear end of the strip loin, which has a larger tenderloin section, while T-bone comes from the front end, which has a smaller tenderloin section. Want more info and some pictures to go along with it? Check out my dedicated article on porterhouse vs. t-bone steak.

FAQs

What’s Better: T-Bone or Ribeye?

It comes down to personal preference. A t-bone allows you to enjoy two different types of steak in one cut. You get the mild flavor of a tender filet on one side and the beefier taste of a new york strip on the other. Conversely, ribeye is the go-to if you enjoy juicy, fatty cuts. It’s also incredibly tender and offers a richer flavor than the t-bone. Plus, ribeye is generally easier to cook. Both are awesome, so why not give both a try?

Comparison of T-Bone and Ribeye
Comparison of T-Bone and Ribeye

Which is Pricier: T-Bone or Ribeye?

Both are premium cuts, so yes, they’re on the pricier side. Ribeye usually comes out more expensive than t-bone when comparing cost by the pound. But if we’re talking about the price per individual steak, the t-bone often costs more than ribeye. To give you an idea: a 1.5-inch thick ribeye typically weighs about 1 pound, while a t-bone of the same thickness weighs closer to 2 pounds.

I can’t provide exact prices since they fluctuate based on location. However, you can check the latest price data for t-bone and ribeye in USDA retail reports.

Which is More Flavorful: T-Bone or Ribeye?

Without a doubt, the ribeye is more flavorful than the t-bone. The ribeye boasts a higher fat content, known as marbling, which significantly influences the meat’s final flavor.

Ribeye steak, seared in a cast-iron skillet with garlic, butter, and rosemary
Ribeye steak, seared in a cast-iron skillet with garlic, butter, and rosemary

Which is More Tender: T-Bone or Ribeye?

The ribeye is generally more tender than the new york strip section of the t-bone. However, the tenderloin part of the t-bone is even more tender than any section found in the ribeye.

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Written by: Adam Wojtow

Adam Wojtow is a Polish entrepreneur and writer who founded Steak Revolution in 2020 because of his passion for steaks. Adam has been cooking steaks for over 5 years, so he understands well all aspects of steak, from the types of steaks and their cooking times to choosing the best cooking technique for any steak.