“What is a good price for ribeye steak?” is a little like asking “what is a good price for a car?” It depends on what you want – an economical Kia or a Ferrari super car.
In the U.S., ribeye steaks generally start around $8 per pound for your basic supermarket offering and range up to $170-$240 dollars per pound for imported Japanese Wagyu. That’s a huge difference!
The good news is that quality ribeye steaks are available at all price levels. Let’s walk through the details.
What is a Good Price for Ribeye Steak?
Here is a sampling of ribeye prices in 2020. The main takeaway is that much like with wine, the price goes up very quickly with each jump in quality grade. In fact, the range we found is 30x.
|Grade||Country of Origin||Type of Retailer||USD ($) Per Pound|
|Wagyu (A5)||Japan||Online importer (e.g. Crowd Cow)||$170-$240|
|Wagyu (A4)||Australia||Online importer (e.g. Debragga)||$80-$130|
|Wagyu-Angus Cross (A3-A4)||U.S.||Online retailer |
(e.g. Snake River Farms)
|USDA Prime +||U.S.||Online retailer |
(e.g. Snake River Farms, Holy Grail Steaks)
|USDA Prime||U.S.||Wholesaler (e.g. Sam’s Club)||$16|
|USDA Choice||U.S.||Wholesaler (e.g. Sam’s Club)||$12-$14|
|USDA Choice||U.S.||Supermarket e.g. (HEB, Safeway, Publix)||$10-$16|
|USDA Select||U.S.||Supermarket e.g. (HEB, Safeway, Publix)||$8-$10|
What is a Ribeye?
Ribeye steaks come from the rib area between the chuck (shoulder) and loin. Rib steaks come from the rib primal area of cattle. A ribeye steak comes from the center best portion of a rib steak.
Technically speaking, rib steaks have bones and ribeyes have the bone removed. That distinction has largely been lost in the U.S. and around the world. The terms “bone in” and “boneless” ribeye are widely used.
These steaks contain a high degree of intramuscular fat, also known as marbling. As ribeyes cook, the fat melts into the steak resulting in a velvety and buttery taste that is VERY tender.
In fact, only filet mignons are generally considered more tender. However, ribeyes have a more classic beef taste, making them, arguably, the most popular cut with true steak connoisseurs.
Ribeyes are also known as Delmonico, Spencer or Scotch filets.
Factors That Determine Ribeye Price Per Pound
Below are the main factors that can affect ribeye steak prices:
- Marbling – Wagyu (greater than prime), USDA Prime, USDA High Choice, USDA Low Choice, etc.
- Bone – bone-in vs. boneless
- Aging – dry aged vs. wet aged
- Feed Type– grass fed vs. grass fed / grain finished
- Thickness – 0.5 inch vs. 1 inch +
- Distribution – supermarkets vs. local butchers vs. online retailers
- Country of Origin – Japan, U.S., Australia. Argentina, etc.
Going back to our car analogy, an economy Kia would translate to a domestic, low choice, thin cut (e.g., half inch), non-organic, supermarket ribeye.
The Ferrari analogue would be a Japanese, full-blooded Wagyu, organic, greater than prime, thick cut, ribeye from a specialty importer.
Ribeye steaks are a great choice for any home chef. Classic beef taste; more tender than most other steak cuts; and more affordable than filet mignon and porterhouses. That is a winning combination that is hard to beat.
What is a good price for ribeye steak? Prices vary tremendously based on the 7 factors we detailed above. For everyday cooking, paying $10-$12 per pound should allow for a really good steak. Informed shoppers, who take the time to learn how to properly prepare a ribeye, can create great meals at affordable prices.
And for that special occasion….there’s always full-blooded Wagyu available.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the primary grades of ribeye steaks?
This can be a little confusing, as there are multiple standards. American, Japanese and Australians all have their own grading standards. There is also an international standard Beef Marbling Score (BMS) that is used.
For the ribeyes in U.S. supermarkets, they will have one of three USDA grades – Prime, Choice or Select. Here is a helpful visual.
Japanese Wagyu cuts grade out much higher than prime. Domestic and Australian Wagyu cross (e.g., Wagyu bred with Angus) are usually considered Prime plus.
Are supermarket ribeye steaks good?
Supermarket steaks are perfectly fine. Prepared correctly they can be both tender and tasty. Most will have less marbling and will be cut thinner than premium steaks, but all foods have varying levels of quality. That is just a fact of life.
For us, there are two keys. First, all supermarket ribeye steaks are not equal. Choose the thickest one with the best visible marbling. Second, experiment a little to learn the method of preparation that most suits your taste.
This is a skill worth learning as you (hopefully!) will cook a lot of ribeyes. Many great videos exist from Alton Brown and Gordon Ramsay to enthusiastic weekend grillers. We really like the reverse sear method with ribeyes. It’s definitely worth checking out.
What are the methods of cooking ribeye steaks?
This question could be the subject of an entire blog. That said, at a high level the most common techniques are:
- Stovetop skillet
- Reverse sear (cook at low temperature to start and and finish by searing at high temperatures in a skillet or on a grill)
- Gas grill
- Wood/pellet/charcoal grill (adds a smoky flavor that many home chefs prefer)
- Infrared grill (sear briefly at 1,500+ Fahrenheit like premium steakhouses do; retail models, such as Beefer Grills, are now available to the public).
What accessories do I need?
Once you chosen a cooking method, the most important accessories are your cutting board and steak knives. For preparing steaks, we always recommend an end grain cutting board. Unlike regular cutting boards, these wonders are BOTH knife friendly (won’t dull your knife) and board friendly (cutting board is resistant to knife scratches). A good steak knife is also a must. The good news is that knives with great customer reviews exist at all price levels. Here are some of our favorites.
Should Wagyu ribeyes be prepared differently from traditional steaks?
The short answer for me is “yes.” First of all true Wagyu is very expensive so you don’t want to make any mistakes. The primary mistake beginners make is overcooking the beef. Here is a video from Crowd Cow that we find to be helpful.