What Exactly Is Prime Rib?

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The Holiday’s are upon us, and it’s time to talk ‘Prime Rib’!  It is by far the most requested cut of meat for holiday dinner parties and the like.  So what’s the story here?  Let’s dig in.

So, what is ‘Prime Rib’, anyways?  The word Prime is in reference to the USDA grading scale. Prime being the best, then Choice, then Select.  This scale is based solely on intramuscular fat density, or “marbling”.  Rib is in reference to the cut itself.  So, ‘Prime Rib’ is a Bone-In Ribeye Roast that is densely marbled.  Now for the catch, not all Bone-In Ribeye Roasts (aka Standing Rib Roast) being sold as Prime Rib are actually ‘Prime Rib’.  I’ll explain.

First off, Prime beef is not cheap.  So, anyone telling you that you can get all you can eat Prime Rib for $13, isn’t really selling Prime Rib.  Sure they’re selling Ribeye, but there’s no way it’s Prime at that price. In this way, Prime Rib has sort of become like Kleenex.  It doesn’t matter what brand of tissue you’re using, it’s still Kleenex.  So, be sure and ask if what you’re buying is prime rib, or ‘Prime Rib’.

Now onto the obvious question.  Do we sell Prime Rib?  We prefer to sell Grass-fed/finished Beef. Well what does that mean, right?  When cows eat grains, it fattens them up.  This is how dense marbling is achieved. So, since Grass-fed/finished cows never eat corn or soy or any type of grain, they don’t tend to be excessively marbled the way Prime beef is.  For this reason, Grass-fed ranchers don’t even bother to pay the USDA to grade their beef, as it would not add value.  So be weary of anyone claiming their Grass-fed beef is Prime.

I hope that clears the air a little on Prime Rib versus Standing Rib Roast.  Here is the pricing break down.  You can place your order here.

Grass-fed/finished – $20/lb0

Newport Pride ‘Prime Rib’ – $18/lb

Certified Angus Natural Beef (Grades Choice and above) – $16/lb

Please bear in mind that while the Certified Angus Natural Beef and Newport Pride Prime Rib do have a grain finish on them, none of these animals have been administered hormones or antibiotics.  We fully stand behind the quality and care these operations take.

 

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Dry-Aged Beef = Real Value

Dry-aged Ribeye VMC

We know what you’re thinking.  Why does some of the beef look so… different?  Looks can be deceiving, and in this instance, that is most certainly the case.  

Our beef looks different than what you may be used to because it is ‘dry-aged’.  Well, what the heck does that mean?  Here’s some perspective. 

All beef is aged.  Freshness is really only something to be concerned with when it comes to ground beef, but that’s an entirely different conversation.  Back to aging beef…

There are two ways beef can be aged, ‘wet-aged’ which is what 99.99% of all meat retailers prefer to buy and sell.  And ‘dry-aged’ which is what we prefer to buy and sell.  The difference may surprise you.  

Wet-aging is quite simply the process of cryovac or vacuum sealing a cut of beef directly after it is cut off of the carcass.  This process is most common because, and this is very important, it causes the cut of meat to retain moisture.  Why does that matter?  It matters because meat is sold by the pound.  Wet-aging allows the seller to pass on this moisture to you, the consumer.  So, when the cut of meat is weighed, the moisture retention affects the total weight.  Quite simply, you’re buying water.  

Well, what about dry-aging, then?  I’m glad you asked.  Dry-aging is the exact opposite of wet-aging.  You see, dry-aging induces moisture evaporation.  Do you see where I’m going with this?  Over the aging period, which with our beef is around 21-29 days, the whole carcass can lose as much as 12% of the total weight due to, get ready for it, moisture evaporation.  What does that mean for you?  Keep in mind, meat is bought and sold by the pound.  Since our beef has been dry-aged, and a great deal of the moisture has evaporated, when you buy beef from us that is what you are buying, BEEF, not WATER.  And isn’t that the reason you came into the store to begin with?  But wait… there’s more! 

Since much of the moisture has evaporated from our beef, this affects the flavor in a massive way.  What you are tasting when you eat beef from us is… you guessed it… BEEF!   And as it turns out beef is delicious.  

So, while our beef may appear to be unappealing, remember that dry-aging has incredible value for you, the customer, in terms of price and flavor.  

 

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Why I Fly ‘Old Glory’ Outside My Business

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Norman Rockwell comes to mind when picturing a small business flying an American Flag outside for all to see.  It is rather emblematic after all.  And I suppose in a way it is a bit showy, and perhaps even boastful.  But then again, isn’t that the point of a flag?  I write this not to cast shame on those who do not fly our flag outside their business or home, because I cherish and would do anything to protect the right to choose not fly the flag.  Rather, I write this to bring into focus the reasons I do fly the flag.  

Upon completion of my business in November of 2011, I took it upon myself to find a place in town that sells American Flags (made in America), with the intention of flying it out front for all to see.  In retrospect, it was a foregone conclusion in my mind to do so.  There was no debate as to whether or not I would.  But the question “why” remains, and as I hoist Old Glory onto her perch each morning, I can’t help but reflect.  

The reason is simple.  My business is an accomplishment.  It is years upon years of planning and raw diligence incarnate.  The flag out front is a symbol that loudly states that America is still a place where your fortune, whatever that may be, is simply on the other side of your best effort.  To put it bluntly, hard work pays off.  Even though most interpret that as a law of nature, the beauty of America is that we embrace it… nay, we apply it! 

My flag says that American ingenuity, or more to the point human ingenuity, is a force of nature.  It says with each whip in the wind that the only thing required of you is all you’ve got.  But that after you’ve given it, shame is something you’ll never again have to experience.  It makes no promise of success, for what is success?  But it does guarantee that your effort will always be paid back in pride, and that is something no amount of money can buy.  

Old Glory sees past inabilities when she looks upon us.  She sees only potential, and promises that no matter your skill set, no matter your abilities, they are ample, and will more than suffice, assuming you give it your best shot.   

So the next time you drive by The Ventura Meat Company, and see Old Glory waving in the wind, don’t think of it as mere obligatory gesture.  It is a proclamation that America is still The Promised Land, but that a piece of that land is never given, and can only be earned.  

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Location

  • The Ventura Meat Company
  • 2650 E. Main Street
  • Ventura, CA 93003

Contact Us

  • PHONE: (805) 667-9159