Is Prime Rib Beef Or Pork, And What’s The Difference?

Last update:
is prime rib beef or pork

If you want to impress your dinner guests, then choosing the right meat is crucial. With so many options out there, it can be intimidating because you don’t want to embarrass yourself. We got you covered and will answer all your beginner questions, including, ‘is prime rib beef or pork?’

Is Prime Rib Beef Or Pork?

Prime rib is a juicy and tender cut of beef. It has marbled meat in the center and is surrounded by fat. Sometimes, it’s also called a prime-standing rib roast. Some people call it a ribeye, but a ribeye is slightly different from a prime rib. The word “prime” is a USDA grade. 

Prime Rib vs. Pork

A barbecue dinner wouldn’t be complete without serving up some prime rib. Prime rib is delicious, but so is pork; they both have a special place in our hearts and on our plates.  For those still in the dark on the differences between the two, we’re here to clarify what it is, how you prepare each one, and what some alternatives are. 

There are some essential factors used to determine if a cut of beef is prime rib. These include the age of the cow and the amount of fat between the bones. The more fat there is, the higher the USDA grade a cut of meat will receive, with prime being the highest grade. A cattle used for prime rib must be between 9-30 months old. Pork has its own, more confusing, grading system but is based on marbling as well.

Where Does Prime Rib Come From?

Prime rib is a cut of beef from the primal rib, taken from the first stage of butchering. More specifically, you’ll find prime rib at the top center part of the steer. It’s considered the best part of a cow’s rib section, which is the same when dealing with pork. 

is prime rib beef or pork

A whole prime rib contains the sixth through twelfth ribs. Since an entire primal rib has seven ribs, it’s probably best to buy a small portion of one unless you’re feeding a large crowd.

How Much Does Prime Rib Cost?

Prime rib isn’t a cheap cut of meat since it’s one of the best cuts you can get. Pork will almost always be cheaper unless it’s specially cured. At Costco, a bone-in prime rib is $17.99/pound. A prime standing rib roast is $24.99/pound, and ribeye is $25.99/pound. Whereas a bone-in pork loin is roughly $4.60/pound.

Prices are likely to be similar at other stores. Obviously, you’ll spend more money if you buy more meat. A 10-pound prime rib roast may cost you $200. A choice rib is cheaper than prime rib, but it has a lower USDA grade. If you need something more affordable than prime rib, though, you may want to consider a choice rib instead.

Some companies sell prime rib online, but you should expect to pay much more for it since it needs to be shipped. Online retailers are able to select the best cuts of prime rib for their customers, so if it’s in your budget, you may want to consider this option. Pork is also available through online ordering.

When considering the cost of prime rib, you should expect each person to eat one pound. If your prime rib is boneless, plan for one half-pound per person. Remember, your barbecue guests will be eating side dishes, too, so you don’t need to give out massive portions of meat. Pork can be portioned out a bit smaller since the animal itself is a bit smaller.

What Goes With Prime Rib Beef Or Pork?

A traditional prime rib is served with a sauce made from the meat’s natural juices. This sauce is called au jus. Prime rib pairs well with many different side dishes. You could serve it with creamy mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, or cheesy greens. You can find ideas for tasty side dishes here.

Pork tends to be much more casual. Depending on the cut of pork you get, you could simply serve french fries with it to create a very tasty meal. Pulled pork is a perfect example and can easily be turned into pulled pork sandwiches which are perfect with french fries. 

At the end of the day, you can serve your prime rib or pork with anything you think would go well with them. Don’t forget the au jus with prime rib, though. 

How to Prepare Prime Rib

  1. Remove it from the fridge for three hours prior to cooking to ensure it reaches room temperature.
  1. Cut away the bones and tie them back with string. 
  1. Place a thermometer in the meat, ensuring that it’s not touching the bone. 
  1. Place it in a roasting pan fat-side up and cook at 500 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.
  1. Reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and cook until your thermometer reads 115 for rare, 120 for medium rare, or 130 for medium. A 10-pound rare roast should take 2 hours to cook. You can find the full prime rib recipe here.
is prime rib beef or pork

Since prime rib is so expensive, it’s better to cook it rare than to overcook it. Be careful not to waste the meat by cooking it for too long!

Alternatives to Prime Rib

If you can’t find prime rib at the grocery store (or you’re short on cash at the moment), you’re not out of luck. Some alternatives to prime rib taste great – maybe not the same, but still worth buying.


Like a prime rib, this cut of meat also comes from the primal rib of beef. A ribeye steak is a heavily marbled slice of muscle cut between the sixth and twelfth rib. Unlike prime rib, which is cut from a rib roast, ribeye has already been cut from the cow carcass and trimmed. 

A ribeye and prime rib both have rich flavors, but it’s milder in ribeye than in prime rib. One ribeye steak is cheaper than a prime rib roast, but it’s more expensive per pound. If you cannot find prime rib at the store, a ribeye is a suitable alternative.


If you’re looking for something cheaper than prime rib, tri-tip may be a good substitute. This triangular cut of beef comes from the end part of the loin on a cow’s hip (also called the bottom sirloin subprimal region), just above the flank. 

When cooking a tri-tip, sear, and roast it before cooking it in the oven for 10 minutes per pound of meat. 

This cut can be a bit tough if you cook it rare or medium-rare, but if that’s what you’re going for, cook it until the meat reaches 125 degrees Fahrenheit at the thickest part. One great way to cook tri-tip is by using garlic.

Pork Prime Rib

Lastly, you could substitute beef prime rib for a pork prime rib. As I mentioned earlier, this isn’t technically a prime rib because it comes from a pig and not a cow, but it’s still delicious. For a flavorful barbecue dinner, check out this recipe for pork prime rib.


Can You Get Prime Rib From Any Grocery Store?

No, you cannot get prime rib from any store because it is considered a premium cut of beef. It costs more than other parts of the cow so that farmers can sell their product to the highest paying customer. Discount supermarkets will have beef, but they may not have prime rib.

Is There Another Name For Prime Rib?

Yes, there is another name for prime rib. It can also be referred to as a standing rib roast. This is due to how it looks before it’s cooked because it stands up on its own in an impressive sight. When you hear ‘standing rib roast,’ it always refers to beef prime rib and not pork; even though there are pork roasts with ribs that look similar, they won’t be called that. 

Is Prime Rib Steak?

Yes, prime rib is steak technically, but in most cases, when people use the term ‘steak,’ they are referring to a NY strip, filet mignon, or a ribeye. This is a word used to identify the preparation method since you can also go to a restaurant and order a tuna steak. It’s most commonly used to describe beef but tells you how it will be prepared.  


To sum it all up, prime rib is a high-grade cut of beef known for its flavor and juiciness. It is NOT pork; it comes from the cow. It’s easy to prep and serve, even for barbecue beginners. For special occasions, there is no substitute, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying prime rib beef or pork whenever you like.

Darren Wayland Avatar


Leave a Comment