Cap of Ribeye
Day two of our 5 days of ribeye continues with the cap of ribeye. Many steak lovers consider the cap of ribeye to be the best muscle on the steer. The flavor and texture of a cap of ribeye can’t be matched. Tender, beefy, juicy, and melt in your mouth. As we move on to our second day talking about different cuts that involve the ribeye let’s learn more about the cap of ribeye.
Where does the cap of ribeye come from?
The cap of ribeye comes from the top outer edge of the ribeye steak. As you can see this particular muscle has a lot of marbling. That marbling results in some awesome flavor and texture. The loose texture of a cap of ribeye makes it different than most other steaks. Where most steaks have a fairly tight texture with a great chew the cap of ribeye almost falls apart due to its loose texture. The great, beefy flavor of the cap of ribeye is similar to the rest of the ribeye but the extra marbling takes it to the next level.
Cap of ribeye can also be called the ribeye cap or by its technical name spinalis dorsi. Whatever you call it you are talking about an awesome piece of meat. Cap of ribeye is basically peeled off the ribeye “eye” and tends to be a somewhat thin steak. Unlike a regular ribeye or NY strip or porterhouse where you can get different thicknesses cut the cap of ribeye pretty much is what it is since it is the whole muscle.
The cap of ribeye makes up about 9% of the rib primal weight which itself is about 9% of the total weight of the steer. Overall you are looking at only 6-8 pounds of this steak per animal which isn’t a lot. Most ribeye caps sold commercially are in the 1-1 1/2 pound range.
How to cook cap of ribeye
As with most thin steaks hot and fast is the way to go. For me that means either a grill or hot cast iron pan. At its thickest the cap of ribeye is rarely more than an inch thick so you don’t really need to reverse sear or finish this steak in the oven or anything like that. Sear it for 90 seconds per side and take the internal temperature. With an expensive steak like this you really need to watch your temperature. Anything beyond medium rare with this cut and every meat aficionado in the world will be knocking at your door and shoving the hot coals down your pants for ruining a piece of meat of this quality. Keep flipping every 30 seconds or so until you get an internal temperature of 120 degres, pull the steak off the heat, tent with foil, and rest it for at least 5 minutes.
Salt and pepper is all you need for a cap of ribeye. Salt the steak generously either right before you cook it or salt it and let it sit uncovered in your fridge overnight. Some people put pepper on before cooking, others wait until after. I can go either way on that one. Don’t overshadow the great flavor of this steak with other seasonings.
Where to buy a Cap of Ribeye
Unless you have the world’s greatest butcher in your town you will have trouble finding a cap of ribeye. Most butchers don’t want to cut this muscle off the ribeye. The majority of consumers want to buy a full ribeye steak or full rib roast. If a butcher cuts off the cap they will be left to try and sell just the ribeye filet (come back tomorrow and we will talk about that one). The ribeye filet is an awesome steak itself but since it is unfamiliar it is hard to sell.
Your best bet for a cap of ribeye will be to order online. I have always loved the steaks from Snake River Farms. Their cap of ribeye sells for $99 for an 18 oz steak. Sticker shock? Definitely. Worth the price? Well, not every day of course but for a treat? Definitely. Celebrate a big job promotion or anniversary or birthday with a cap of ribeye. You won’t want to be shelling out $100 for a regular family meal or a backyard cookout with the neighbors but if you are looking for something special go with the cap of ribeye.
Snake River Farms also sells their American Wagyu cap of ribeye. This one is a bit heavier at 20-28 ozs and runs $149. For more information on American Wagyu you can read this: Grading American Wagyu Beef. If you really want to go all out give the Gold Grade American Wagyu Cap of Ribeye a try.
Cap of ribeye isn’t a common steak and you will rarely even see it on a steakhouse menu but it is definitely worth trying at least once in your life.
Like what you read? Be sure to share it with your friends and come back tomorrow to learn about another cut of beef.