Can You Buy Prime Rib at the Grocery Store?


Prime Rib, as its name suggests, is not your run-off-the-mill grade of meat. It’s precisely what you need if you’re planning something special, as its aroma, and taste is to die for. But can you buy Prime Rib at the grocery store?

I searched through for this, and here’s what I found.

Yes. Prime Rib can be bought at higher-end Grocery Stores. However, the ones that do have it, don’t usually sell it labeled as Prime Rib. Instead, it can be found by the name of Beef-Bone-in-Rib-Roast or standing rib roast. To get the best Prime Rib, ask the butcher for the most marbled, tender, and flavorful one. 

I know a lot about meat, considering that I spent over twenty- years working in 9 different stores owned by Whole Foods.

But I also enjoy eating really good beef too! After reading this short article, you’ll be confident about being able to select the right kind and grade of prime rib.

So let’s begin and learn all about getting Prime Ribs from the Grocery Stores.

Continue reading!

What is a prime rib called at the grocery store?

Most grocery stores don’t offer prime rib (it’s expensive, so the demand for it is low).

But you can get it in some. Note that “Prime rib” can also be a style of cooking. So, you’ll have to be sure about what you want. It’ll all become clearer as you read on. Beef-Bone-in-Rib-Roast is what’s it’s known by in many stores.

Prime Rib is also known as a standing rib roast. The formers’ name simply indicates the section the cut is from (beef ribs), while the latter (standing rib roast) derives its name from the fact that when it’s being roasted, it’s often positioned standing on the ribs.

And depending on what you prefer, you could have it bone-in or boneless. The bone-in option is often preferred by many because when the bones are cooked with it, it enriches the flavor.

So, when you’re ready to buy, you could simply say you’ll like “rib roast” or “prime rib roast” at the grocery store and tell them whether you prefer the bone-in or the boneless option.

But if they’re not available at the store, how do you get them? You could also get them from some butchers.

How do you order a prime rib from a butcher?

It’s helpful to understand that the label “prime” can refer to two different things.

Knowing what both are will help you order the right prime rib from a butcher. The label can either refer to the cut or the grade. The cut relates to which part of the cow it’s from, while the USDA determines the grade.

The best grade of beef has the most marbling; it’s tender and flavorful. It’s designated as USDA Prime. This is what you want. And you should let the butcher or the person attending to you at the supermarket know this. Because it’s expensive, Prime often ends-up in high-end hotels and restaurants.

The next grade below Prime is Choice; this is not what you want if you want the best. You could simply walk-in and talk to a butcher, or if it’s a first-rate butcher, you could place an order online.

Let’s continue to check out some important stuff that’ll help you choose the best prime rib.

What is the best prime rib to buy?

Go for a roast that’s brightly-colored, and that has milky-white fat.

Flee from those that are dull-colored and full of yellow fat! Yes, the fresher, the better. You want to choose the most marbled meat. This is a critical criterion in the grading because the more marbled prime rib is from young, well-fed breeds.

You must stay a little wary to ensure you get the genuine article, because the label “Prime,” alone, does not prove that you’re getting both USDA Prime grade beef in addition to prime rib.

But in all honesty, USDA prime alone doesn’t always mean better.

I actually conducted a live taste-test challenge that I detailed in a recent article of mine. I bought 4 types of steaks, cooked them identically, and then my family and I did a taste test with really surprising results (there’s a video in that article if you’d rather watch than read).

Just click here to read it on my site.

The best is sometimes the most expensive (that’s how the world works, right). But not always. So, choose Prime in most cases, or grass-fed choice. But, if you’re short on budget, then opt for Choice. ‘Prime’ is the highest USDA grade. It’s followed by ‘Choice,’ and lastly, you have ‘Select.’

I would recommend you steer clear of select, or any beef that doesn’t tell you the grade.

In a nutshell, be guided by the USDA grade shields, they’re so simple and easy to see. Don’t believe that simply because you saw the word ‘prime,’ that you’d got the best. Only about 2% of all beef qualifies as USDA Prime. But, if you can afford it, that’s the best prime rib to buy.

How much does a 10 lb prime rib cost?

At the risk of sounding a tad repetitious, I’ve mentioned that the prime rib is expensive. And because you’ve read this far, you know why that is so. But you’ll agree with me that there are some special occasions when nothing but prime rib suffices, right?

So, let’s say you’ll like to buy 10 lb of prime rib. By how much would that set you back? 

Be ready to pay about $349.99. It’ll be cheaper if you opt for Choice or Select rather than USDA Prime. Naturally, the cost also differs depending on where you’re getting them from. You’ll probably need to place an order to ensure that it’s available when you need it.

Now, let’s check out something many people find a tad confusing. (And, I don’t blame them).

Is prime rib the same as ribeye?

No, it’s not.

Prime rib and ribeye are similar. The similarity means they can be easily confused. In a bit, you’d be able to distinguish them easily.

So, let’s check out each one and what differentiates them. The word ‘rib’ is common to both, and that’s a pointer that both are from a cow’s rib section. (Interestingly, ribeye steaks are what you get when you cut prime rib roast into steaks).

They are both from the rib area but differ in terms of the specific part of the rib they’re from, how they look, how they are cooked, and even how they taste.

Think of the milder and well-marbled part of the rib, that’s where the ribeye is from.

It’s usually from the 6th to 12th rib, and it’s a portion of the longissimus dorsi muscle. Marbling means the meat contains intramuscular fat that has white specks – which looks similar to marble (if you look at it with a fresh eye).

The prime rib, on the other hand, is from the center of the primal beef cut and often contains significant parts of the rib bone.

It’s also known as standing rib roast or beef rib roast. Besides, it’s a large roasting joint. It’s usually more flavorful (because it has more bones, fat, and connective tissue) and more massive than the ribeye.  Naturally, it’s more expensive.

But aside from the USDA grade, you’d be surprised to learn that some grocery stores have better meat quality than others.

1 USDA Prime steak is not always the same from store to store.

Luckily, I break down which of the top grocery stores has the best meat in a recent article of mine. What really surprised me was how much Prime beef gets rationed to larger chains due to small supply.

Just click it to read the article on my site

Did I cover all you wanted to know about whether you can get prime rib at the grocery store?

It has a rich flavor, and it’s tender. It’s high-quality and pricey, and the demand for it is low. It’s considered the “Holy Grail” of all beef cuts. Naturally, it’s a bit rare. But you can get it to buy at some grocery stores and butchers.

So now we know what is prime rib, how to order prime rib from a butcher, and the other names it’s called. We also looked at its cost, the difference between ribeye and prime rib, and naturally, what to look out for to make sure you buy the best prime rib.

And so, I hope that you will get your delicious Prime Rib from the nearest grocery store and have a lavish meal.

Jeff Campbell

Hi! I'm Jeff Campbell. I was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades. I worked in 9 stores in 4 states, not counting the hundred-plus stores I've assisted in other ways. I was a Global All-Star, a Gold Pen Winner, and won Top-10 Store (company-wide) 3 times in addition to Best New Store (company-wide).

Recent Content