The Difference Between New York Strip vs Ribeye Steak

Steak is a classic delicacy perfect for special occasions, a trip to the steakhouse, or seared quickly on your charcoal grill.

Even if you’re no stranger to steak, you may still be unsure of which cuts would best suit your needs. For a basic primer, check out our guide to the best steak for grilling.

In that guide, you’ll find both of the prime cuts of steak we’ll be looking at today:

  • New York strip steak
  • Ribeye steak

These are two of the most sought after and premium cuts favored by upscale steakhouses and grill connoisseurs the world over.

Today, we’ll break down what you can expect from these succulent cuts of steak, and we’ll also examine the differences between New York strip steak and ribeye steak.

Remember: there’s no right or wrong answer when you’re choosing between New York strip and ribeye steak. Both steaks are mouthwatering, and all that counts is finding which one most tickles your tastebuds.

Let’s kick off by breaking down the world-famous New York strip steak.

I. New York Strip Steak

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A NY strip is a single side of a T-bone steak.

You’ll encounter this steak going by many different names, including:

  • Hotel cut steak
  • Top loin steak
  • Ambassador Steak
  • Kansas City Steak
  • Country Club Steak
  • Shell Steak (when served with the bone in)

The New York strip steak is cut from the loin near the rear of the steer. The area this steak is cut from is known as the short loin primal. This is tucked beneath the backbone.

New York strip steaks are marketed as sirloin or porterhouse steak in Australia and New Zealand.

Properties of New York Strip Steak

The New York strip steak comes from the same muscle group as the ribeye. This area of muscle is underused, resulting in the steak being packed with flavor and extremely tender.

The NY strip steak has a characteristic chewiness, and you’ll find fat thickly padded down one side.

This steak is typically cut an inch or more thick. The New York strip doesn’t have the same degree of marbling as you’ll find on the ribeye – more on that below – so cutting it thicker prevents it from drying out when you’re cooking it.

How to Buy New York Strip Steak

The reduced level of marbling in a New York strip steak means it’s imperative to buy a decent grade.

Look for cuts that are even in width. Unevenly shaped strip steaks or cuts with a narrower sirloin end simply won’t taste as good.

If you are unable to source premium steaks in your area, consider ordering online from Snake River Farms. From a Tomahawk ribeye through to choice New York strip steak, you can even find wagyu beef at SRF, a true ranch-to-table specialist.

So, assuming you have your strip steak, how can you cook this cut to bring out its finest qualities?

How to Cook New York Strip Steak

The New York strip steak is better suited to grilling than the ribeye. Since there is less marbling on this cut, you should experience fewer flare-ups.

The best method of grilling this steak is hot and fast, coaxing out the tenderness of the cut.

Here’s what to do on the grill:

  1. Heat your grill to 900F
  2. Pop your NY strip steak directly onto the grill plate, flipping every 30 seconds. This will keep the steak’s internal temperature even. Use a thermometer to bring your steak to the ideal internal temperature for the required doneness.
  3. Let the steak rest for a minute. Place it on a wire rack above a tray
  4. Serve as preferred and enjoy!

Here’s what to do if you prefer pan-frying your strip steak:

  1. Get the pan smoking hot and throw in the steak
  2. Using your thermometer to check the internal temperature, bring the steak to within 5F of your preferred doneness temperature
  3. Remove the steak from the pan as it will continue rising in temperature even when removed from the heat
  4. Let the steak rest for a minute. Place it on a wire rack above a tray
  5. Serve as preferred and enjoy!

II. Ribeye Steak

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Most ribeye steaks are cut from the steer’s longissimus dorsi muscle. Depending on where, exactly, the steak is cut from, you may also find it includes parts of the complexus and spinalis muscles.

This section of the steer is found along the upper rib cage near the neck, spanning the sixth to the twelfth rib.

Ribeye is often known as:

  • Beauty steak
  • Delmonico steak
  • Cowboy cut (when served with the bone in)
  • Spencer steak (when served with the bone removed)

The ribeye is called the scotch fillet in Australia and New Zealand, while in France it is known as the entrecôte (between the ribs).

Properties of Ribeye Steak

Ribeye steaks are famed for their rich, deep flavor and outstanding marbling.

As long as it’s properly cooked, this super-fatty steak will melt in your mouth.

How to Buy Ribeye Steak

Ribeye steaks are widely available in all supermarkets and butchers.

Look for choice or prime grade ribeye cut at least an inch thick.

How to Cook Ribeye Steak

The optimum method of grilling ribeye steak is to create a two-zone fire. If you’re using a gas grill, set one of the burners to high and another to medium. If you’re cooking with charcoal, shift the coals so you have one hotter area.

The ribeye has so much fat that you could easily encounter a flare-up when you’re grilling. Make sure you keep a close eye on your steak throughout, and keep some tongs handy in case you need to intervene.

Using the reverse sear method runs counter to the received wisdom that you need to sear the meat first to lock in the juices. This is an urban myth.

Instead, here’s how to cook a ribeye steak using the reverse sear method:

  1. Preheat your grill or oven to 275F
  2. Cook your steak until the internal temperature is 90F to 95F
  3. Transfer the steak to a hot skillet with some butter, or place it on the hottest part of your grill
  4. Sear each side of the steak briefly for a perfect medium-rare ribeye

OK, now you have a clear understanding of each of these steaks, and you also know how to cook them with confidence, let’s break down the similarities and differences between the New York strip and ribeye steak.


III. New York Strip Steak vs Ribeye Steak: Similarities

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  • The cuts are often of similar shape and size, even if the ribeye can also be sold with the bone in
  • Both these cuts of steak come from the longissimus dorsi area of the cow. This describes two muscles running down the spine and outside the cow’s ribs. The New York strip is cut from the short loin primal area from the rear of the cow. The ribeye is found along the upper rib cage
  • The New York strip and ribeye steaks both have tender meat and a rich flavor. This is due to both cuts coming from a very underused muscle group
  • These cuts of steak cost roughly the same, pound-for-pound. Sometimes, ribeye is fractionally more expensive
  • Each cuts responds best to having the outside seared so a crust forms, along with slow cooking so the internal temperature is optimal
  • Both these cuts of steak are popular the world over, and both cuts are easy to acquire.

IV. New York Strip Steak vs Ribeye Steak: Differences

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  • Visually, these steak are quite different, certainly when it comes to the fat distribution. With a ribeye steak, the marbling extends throughout the meat. With a strip steak, there is instead a thick pad of fat. This often goes uneaten as the rim of fat is super-thick, but it adds depth and richness to the already great flavor of this steak
  • The ribeye is slightly more tender than the NY strip, and it’s also richer. This is due to the marbling
  • The NY strip steak has a tighter texture than the ribeye and a signature steak chew. The ribeye, by contrast, is much smoother
  • The ribeye has more fat than the New York strip, so avoid this cut if you’re watching your weight
  • The cooking method for these steaks also differs. The ribeye has such a high fat content that fiery flare-ups are not uncommon. To mitigate this, use a two-zone grilling method. Either sear the steak on high and then finish it over a medium heat. Alternatively, harness the reverse sear method we outline above to grill your ribeye like a pitmaster. Cook first on medium and then finish the steak on high. New York strip steaks, on the other hand, typically work best when cooked hot and fast. Whether you’re grilling your strip steak or using a pan, cook it on a high heat, flipping it every 30 seconds

V. New York Strip Steak vs Ribeye Steak: Verdict

Now, if you’re choosing between a New York strip steak and a ribeye steak, you’re in for a taste sensation either way.

Although we have repeatedly referenced the difference in marbling, this is not to say that the New York strip steak doesn’t boast any marbling. It does, just not to the same extent as the ribeye. Cooked to perfection, a NY strip steak can still pack plenty of flavor.

If you prime concern is a super-smooth texture and as much rendered fat as possible, the ribeye wins every time.

This route is not for everyone, though, and if you’re looking for more chew and a little less fat, while still benefiting from some marbling, roll with the New York strip steak. While leaner, this cut is still extremely tender and tasty.

So, both of these cuts are well worth your time, and both will yield a delicious meal assuming you get two things right:

  1. Buy the best grade of beef you can find. If you’re taking the trouble to buy prime cuts of beef, don’t try shaving off a few cents by compromising on quality
  2. Take the time to practice grilling and searing steaks so that you can bring out the finest qualities, whether it’s an NY strip or a ribeye on the menu

Before you head off today, take a moment to bookmark Madiba. We update our content daily on all aspects of grilling. We’ll help you choose the right gear for your needs, and we’ll provide you with plenty of handy guides like today’s showdown of New York strip vs ribeye steak. Come back soon!

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