Cowboy Ribeye Vs Bone In Ribeye

Cowboy Ribeye Vs Bone In Ribeye (Detailed Comparison!)

Ever wondered about the difference between Cowboy Ribeye and Bone-In Ribeye steaks? These two cuts share a common characteristic – the bone – but there are some distinct features that set them apart.

Cowboy Ribeye and Bone-In Ribeye are similar in that they both have the bone attached, which enhances flavor and presentation. However, the key difference lies in the size and shape. Cowboy Ribeye is a large cut with a long bone resembling a tomahawk handle, making it a visually striking showpiece. On the other hand, Bone-In Ribeye refers to a traditional ribeye steak with a shorter bone, offering a more standard presentation. 

Exploring the nuances between Cowboy Ribeye and Bone-In Ribeye can help you make an informed choice when it comes to selecting the perfect steak for your preferences and occasions.

In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the differences between Cowboy Ribeye and Bone-In Ribeye steaks to help you make your choice. Let’s begin!

Cowboy Ribeye Vs Bone In Ribeye (Overview)

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Why Steak Choices Matter

Now, you might be wondering, “Why all this fuss about steak choices, huh?” Well, here’s the scoop. Imagine going to an ice cream parlor and always getting vanilla when there are 31 flavors to choose from.

Sure, vanilla is classic, but wouldn’t it be fun to give chocolate chip cookie dough or strawberry cheesecake a whirl?

The same goes for steak.

You see, each cut of steak has its own unique personality, just like you and me. They can be as different as night and day, and knowing these differences can turn a good meal into an absolutely mind-blowing one.

Choosing the right steak can be like hitting the bull’s eye in a dart game – satisfying and thrilling!

Understanding Steak Cuts 

Cowboy Ribeye Vs Bone In Ribeye
Anatomy of a cow|Source:


Ever wondered where on earth (or rather, where on a cow) our delicious ribeye cuts come from? Well, you’re in luck! Just like you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t fully appreciate a steak without knowing its roots.

Picture a cow, will you? Now, imagine a cowboy riding high on a horse, lassoing a cow right behind its head.

That area, my friend, between the shoulders and the middle of the back is where our beloved ribeye cuts hail from.

It’s an area that doesn’t get much exercise, so it’s tender and marbled with just the right amount of fat. Yum!

So, whether it’s a Cowboy Ribeye or a Bone-In Ribeye, they both start off from the same prime real estate. But then, what sets them apart, you ask? Let’s find out in our next section.

Deep-Dive: The Cowboy Ribeye

Time to ride into the sunset with our first contender: the Cowboy Ribeye. Now, don’t let the wild-west name fool you, there’s nothing rough and tumble about this steak.

The Cowboy Ribeye is a bone-in, large cut of beef from the rib section, usually weighing in at a whopping 2 pounds.

Picture two footballs – that’s roughly the weight of this steak! It’s the big kahuna, the grand poobah of the steak world, and it’s just as flavorful as it is hefty.

The Unique Characteristics of a Cowboy Ribeye

What makes our Cowboy Ribeye so special? You’ve probably guessed the first part – it’s size. This isn’t your everyday steak, it’s like the grand finale of a fireworks show, big and spectacular.

But, it’s not just about size – there’s more to this cowboy than meets the eye.

The bone in the Cowboy Ribeye isn’t just for show, oh no. It lends an extra depth of flavor to the meat, making it richer and juicier.

Plus, the meat near the bone cooks slower, leading to a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture. You know how the best part of a roasted marshmallow is the gooey center? It’s kinda like that!

Another standout trait is the marbling. Now, we’re not talking about the kind you did in art class. Marbling refers to the little streaks of fat interspersed with the muscle in the steak.

When cooked, this fat melts, basting the steak from the inside out. The result? Each bite is a juicy, flavorful party in your mouth!

Popular Cooking Techniques for Cowboy Ribeye

Ever heard the saying, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat?” Well, there’s more than one way to cook a Cowboy Ribeye too.

Grilling is the most popular method, thanks to the smoky flavor it lends. Picture a sizzling steak, with grill marks crisscrossing the surface, enveloped in a mouthwatering aroma.

But don’t forget about roasting or broiling, both fantastic options, especially for a steak as thick as our Cowboy Ribeye.

These methods ensure that the steak cooks evenly and the interior reaches the perfect temperature without the exterior getting overcooked. It’s all about balance, like riding a bike.

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Serving Suggestions and Pairings for Cowboy Ribeye

You wouldn’t wear a tuxedo to a beach party, right? Likewise, pairing the right sides with your steak is crucial to creating a harmonious meal.

The Cowboy Ribeye, with its robust flavors, is like the lead singer in a band, so it pairs well with backup singers that complement, not overpower it.

Think grilled vegetables, a creamy mashed potato, or a simple green salad. For a more decadent touch, consider a side of sautéed mushrooms or a wine-based sauce.

Speaking of wine, a full-bodied red like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Zinfandel can stand up to the bold, meaty flavors of the Cowboy Ribeye.

It’s like a duet, where both the steak and the wine sing in perfect harmony.

Deep Dive: The Bone-In Ribeye

Now, imagine a basketball player. Tall and well-built, standing proud and strong, ready for action. That’s our Bone-In Ribeye.

A big, beefy steak, with the bone left in, but not quite as large as its cowboy cousin.

The bone might not be as long, but it’s there alright, adding a punch of flavor and an extra dash of drama to this hearty cut of beef.

What makes the Bone-In Ribeye stand tall on the podium of steaks? It’s all about balance.

This steak has a nice equilibrium of meat, fat, and bone, kind of like a well-coordinated ballet performance.

The bone adds flavor and retains moisture, the marbling melts and bastes the meat as it cooks, and the substantial amount of meat promises a satisfying, robust flavor with every bite.

Let’s not forget the ‘eye’ of the ribeye, a circle of muscle that is known for its superior tenderness.

It’s the heart of the steak, tender and juicy, just like the middle of a perfectly baked brownie.

Best Practices for Cooking Bone-In Ribeye

Now, onto the juicy details – how to cook this bad boy. The Bone-In Ribeye is flexible and forgiving, like a good yoga teacher.

It can handle high heat, making grilling and broiling excellent options. These methods sear the outside, creating a tasty crust, while the inside cooks to your desired doneness.

One golden rule? Let your steak rest before cutting into it. Just like you need a breather after a tough workout, so does your steak.

This rest allows the juices to redistribute throughout the steak. The result? A steak that’s juicy from edge to edge.

Remember, practice makes perfect. So don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and give it a go!

Ideal Accompaniments and Wine Pairings for Bone-In Ribeye

Alright, you’ve cooked your masterpiece, but what next? The right accompaniments can elevate your steak from great to unforgettable.

The Bone-In Ribeye, with its rich, bold flavors, pairs well with sides that can stand up to it without stealing the show.

Think along the lines of roasted potatoes or a classic baked potato. A side of grilled asparagus or steamed broccoli can also offer a nice, fresh contrast to the richness of the steak.

And for the grand finale, a wine pairing. The Bone-In Ribeye calls for a wine that can match its robust flavors, like a hearty red.

A Bordeaux or a Malbec could be the perfect duet partner for this steak, balancing out its rich flavors and complementing its savory depth.

Face-Off: Cowboy Ribeye vs. Bone-In Ribeye


Imagine biting into a Cowboy Ribeye: the burst of rich, beefy flavor, the slightly smoky, mouthwatering taste, and the savory goodness of each marbled, juicy bite.

It’s like tasting a bit of the wild west with its robust, hearty flavor profile.

Now, let’s switch gears to the Bone-In Ribeye. One bite and you’re enveloped by its full-bodied, meaty flavor.

It’s a melody of taste with high notes of savory umami, deep bass notes of rich beefiness, and a touch of sweetness from the marbling.

In this flavor face-off, it’s a tight match.

Both are flavorful, but the Cowboy Ribeye packs a bit more punch due to its size and higher fat content, while the Bone-In Ribeye is more balanced, offering a harmonious blend of flavors.


Texture-wise, there’s an interesting dance happening. The Cowboy Ribeye, with its thick cut, offers a range of textures in one steak.

The outer edges, more exposed to the heat, have a lovely, crusty sear. Then, as you move inward, the meat becomes more tender and juicy.

It’s a delightful roller coaster ride, going from crispy to tender and back!

The Bone-In Ribeye, on the other hand, is more consistent. The meat around the bone is super tender and juicy, while the outer parts also offer a satisfying sear.

It’s like biting into a cloud that’s been seared to perfection, tender and even from edge to edge.

3.Nutritional Value

If you’re watching your waistline, you might be wondering: which of these beefy behemoths is the healthier choice? Well, let’s take a look at the scorecard.

Both the Cowboy Ribeye and Bone-In Ribeye are high in protein, a nutrient that helps you feel full and fuels your muscles.

However, the Cowboy Ribeye is a bit fattier due to its marbling, which means it’s higher in calories.

The Bone-In Ribeye, while also a rich source of protein, typically has less fat and fewer calories.

It’s like choosing between a decadent chocolate cake and a less-rich chocolate mousse. Both are delicious, but one is definitely lighter.


And finally, let’s talk money. Which steak gives you more bang for your buck?

The Cowboy Ribeye, with its large size and dramatic presentation, usually comes with a heftier price tag. It’s like buying a fancy designer dress – you pay more, but you’re getting something special.

The Bone-In Ribeye, while not cheap, is usually less expensive.

It’s a high-quality steak that offers excellent flavor and tenderness, but without the extra cost of the Cowboy Ribeye’s showy bone.

Expert Opinions: Chef and Butcher Insights

In doing research for this article, I talked to a number of chefs and butchers who gave me their insights into the topic of cowboy ribeye vs bone in ribeye.

Some chefs were smitten with the Cowboy Ribeye, drawn to its sheer size and spectacle. They said cooking it feels like a grand event, like preparing a Thanksgiving turkey or a holiday ham.

Plus, its rich flavor and varied texture make it a star on the plate.

But the Bone-In Ribeye had its fair share of chef fans too. They appreciated its balance of meat, fat, and bone and its consistent tenderness. 

Their top tip? Don’t rush the cooking process. Allow the steak to come to room temperature before cooking, and always rest it afterward.

It’s like letting a racehorse warm up before a sprint and then cool down afterward.

Butcher’s Point of View

Butchers are the ones who handle steaks day in day out, so their perspectives are really important to this topic.

According to the butchers that I talked to, both steaks have their unique appeal. They suggested choosing a Cowboy Ribeye if you’re after a showstopper, a steak that makes your guests’ eyes pop out.

But, if you’re seeking a reliably tender and flavorful steak, they recommended the Bone-In Ribeye. They’re always on the lookout for a good balance of marbling and lean meat, and this cut often hits the bullseye.

Their pro tip? When buying a steak, look for even marbling throughout. It’s kind of like sprinkles on a cupcake – evenly spread out is best.

DIY Guide: Preparing the Perfect Steak at Home

Here is a step-by-step guide to cooking the perfect steak at home.

Step 1:Selecting Quality Steaks

Choosing a steak is a bit like choosing a new pet. You have to pick the one that feels just right for you.

For both Cowboy Ribeye and Bone-In Ribeye, there are a few things to keep an eye on when you’re at the store or butcher shop.

First off, you want to check out the color. A fresh steak should have a bright, cherry-red color, not a dull brown. It’s kind of like picking a ripe apple.

Next, take a look at the marbling. These are the little streaks of fat within the meat. Remember, the more marbling, the juicier the steak. It’s like picking a fluffy, buttery croissant over a plain roll.

Lastly, if you can, try to get a steak that’s at least an inch thick. This will give you a juicy, tender steak instead of a dry, overcooked one.

Step 2: Cooking Techniques

Now that you’ve chosen your steak, it’s time to cook it up. There are a few methods you can try, each with its own unique results.

Grilling is like the summer camp of cooking methods. It gives your steak a smoky flavor and beautiful grill marks. It’s perfect for thicker steaks like the Cowboy Ribeye.

Searing, on the other hand, is like sunbathing. It gives your steak a lovely, crispy crust on the outside while keeping the inside nice and juicy. This method is great for both the Cowboy Ribeye and Bone-In Ribeye.

Then there’s sous vide, a fancy French technique that means ‘under vacuum’. It’s like a hot tub for your steak, cooking it slowly and evenly in a water bath. It takes a bit longer but gives you a perfectly cooked steak every time.

Step 3: Key Tips for Cooking Cowboy Ribeye and Bone-In Ribeye

Here’s the game plan for cooking a winning steak, whether it’s a Cowboy Ribeye or a Bone-In Ribeye.

Firstly, season generously. Don’t be shy with the salt and pepper. It’s like adding glitter to a craft project – it makes everything better.

Secondly, don’t forget to preheat your cooking surface. A hot grill or pan gives you a beautiful sear and locks in the flavors. It’s like sunbathing – you won’t get a tan unless the sun is hot.

And finally, let it rest! This is crucial. After cooking, let your steak relax for a few minutes. It allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicy, flavorful steak.

It’s like taking a nap after a long day – it helps you recharge.

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Cowboy Ribeye Vs Bone In Ribeye (Bottom Line)

That concludes this article on cowboy ribeye vs bone in ribeye. Now comes the million-dollar question – which steak is the one for you?

If you’re after a big, bold steak that’ll make you feel like a champion griller, the Cowboy Ribeye might be your match. It’s like choosing the biggest roller coaster at the theme park – thrilling, challenging, and immensely satisfying.

But, if you’re after something tender, flavorful, and foolproof, the Bone-In Ribeye could be your perfect steak. It’s like choosing your favorite comfort food – it never fails to deliver joy.

So, whether you’re a Cowboy Ribeye fan or a Bone-In Ribeye enthusiast, remember, there’s no right or wrong answer.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the Main Difference between Cowboy Ribeye and Bone-In Ribeye?

The main difference between the Cowboy Ribeye and Bone-In Ribeye lies in the size, bone structure, and often, the flavor profile. The Cowboy Ribeye is essentially a larger version of the Bone-In Ribeye and includes a much longer bone, hence it’s often also called a ‘bone-in ribeye’. This extended bone gives the Cowboy Ribeye its distinctive ‘tomahawk’ appearance. Both steaks come from the rib section of the cow and are rich in marbling, which contributes to their juiciness and flavor. However, due to the larger size and more bone, the Cowboy Ribeye often has a slightly richer taste than the Bone-In Ribeye.

How to Cook Cowboy Ribeye vs. Bone-In Ribeye to Perfection?

To cook a Cowboy Ribeye or a Bone-In Ribeye to perfection, the initial steps are the same. First, let the steak come to room temperature. Season it generously with salt and pepper or your favorite spice rub. Preheat your grill or pan to a high temperature for a nice, crisp sear. For both cuts, sear each side for about 2-3 minutes for that perfect crust.

Now, here’s where the two steaks diverge. For the Bone-In Ribeye, which is typically smaller, the searing might be enough to cook the steak to medium-rare. If you prefer it more well-done, you can lower the heat and cook it for a few more minutes on each side.

For the Cowboy Ribeye, because of its larger size, after searing, you’ll want to move it to a lower heat to finish cooking. This process, known as reverse searing, ensures that your steak is evenly cooked without burning the outside. Using a meat thermometer can be very helpful to avoid overcooking – aim for an internal temperature of about 130-135°F for medium-rare.

What Makes a Cowboy Ribeye More Expensive than a Bone-In Ribeye?

A Cowboy Ribeye is generally more expensive than a Bone-In Ribeye because of its size and presentation. It’s a larger cut, including a large section of the rib bone, which contributes to its weight and the price per pound. Additionally, the extended bone that gives it the ‘tomahawk’ look requires more work in terms of butchering and it also adds to its appeal as a showstopper piece of meat. These factors combine to make the Cowboy Ribeye a pricier option compared to the Bone-In Ribeye.

Which Steak Cut is Healthier: Cowboy Ribeye or Bone-In Ribeye?

In terms of health, both the Cowboy Ribeye and Bone-In Ribeye are quite similar. They both come from the same part of the cow and contain comparable amounts of fat and marbling, which contribute to their flavor. Therefore, they have similar nutritional content, including calories, protein, and fat.

However, the larger size of the Cowboy Ribeye means that a single portion might contain more calories and fat compared to a typical serving of Bone-In Ribeye. Remember, though, that a balanced diet is about more than just individual foods. It’s how you prepare your steak and what you serve it with that can make your meal healthier or less so.

As a passionate enthusiast of smoking, grilling, and BBQ, Mark has dedicated his life to perfecting the art of outdoor cooking. With over a decade of experience in the field, he has honed his expertise and authority on all things related to meat smoking, grilling, and BBQ. From mastering the perfect cut of meat to choosing the right wood for the smoker, Mark has the knowledge and experience to help you become a pro at outdoor cooking.

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