Taking a huge slab of meat, and cutting it into steaks is an easy way to have good quality steaks without paying $16 – $20 per pound for a typical Prime Rib Eye steak. The Boss at Home (my lovely and kind wife), ok’d me to buy a slab for Father’s day. She was still surprised (somehow) when I did it. Oh, well, short memory I guess.
I know a few people who have done this for filet mignons with nice success. I am more of a rib eye guy though, and it is a bit more of a financial commitment, as a slab of Rib Eye is about 20 lbs, and a slab of tenderloin is about 9 to 10 lbs. It is also a bit more of a skill commitment, as given the small diameter of filet steak, it is a bit harder to cut a Rib Eye uniformly.
At Costco, a slab of rib eye runs about $10/pound for Prime, so it’ll run about $200. A cut Prime Rib Eye steak goes for $16 / pound at Costco. Interesting enough, the Choice Rib Eye steak goes for about $10.95/pound, so you basically can have a “Do It Yourself” (DIY) prime steak for the same price as a Costco cut Choice steak. So, if you cut it yourself, you’ll have a better steak and save a few bucks.
How To “Easily” Cut Rib Eye
- Slightly Freeze The Slab – You don’t need to do this, but I found it a lot easier to uniformly cut a steak by doing this. I left is in for just 1 – 2 hours. Not enough to freeze solid, as that will affect the taste and texture, but enough to keep it firm.
- Prepare the Work Surface – If you are like me, I don’t have specialized cutting boards or knives, so I improvised a bit. I took 2 feet of plastic coated butcher paper, laid it on my counter, then put down two cutting boards, so it could support the entire slab of meat. My thinking is, should it get messy, worse case, the butcher paper will protect my counter.
- Remove the Slab From the Packaging – I just rested it on a cutting board in my sink, and cut off the plastic wrapping, and let any blood (there was not a lot) to drain in the sink.
Knife Selection – If you don’t have a proper butcher knife (I don’t), I just selected the largest knife I could find (it was an 8″ chef’s knife). I went ahead and sharpened it a bit, but I think this is optional, as it was pretty sharp to begin with.
- The First Cut – The slab of meat doesn’t have nice square ends, so the first cut won’t give you a beautiful steak. Some will cut off 5″ – 10″ for a Rib Roast. I chose to just cut off the 1st 2″, really just to give me a nice flat steak surface. The end I cut off, I reserved, as it is perfectly good meat. We used it later for some high end shish kabobs.
Remaining Cuts – I chose to cut my steaks about 1″ – 1.25″. I am not a fan of the ultra-thick 2″ – 3″ cuts at Costco (I can’t eat that much steak). No, I didn’t use a ruler, I just eye balled it. I took care to cut uniformly through the steak, with as few cuts as possible, and did my best to keep a uniform thickness. Basically, I tried to keep my knife perpendicular to the board as I cut. My first few were not perfect, but good enough. By the third steak it was easy.
- Trimming Fat – This slab didn’t have a huge amount of fat on it, and Rib Eye doesn’t have any tendons, or tough silver skin. I chose to leave the fat on, knowing I could trim it later when I grilled. I only lost maybe 1/4 lb to fat, so much doesn’t go in the trash.
The Result – Even at a thinner steak, the Prime quality meat was a noticeable improvement even over Costco’s normally excellent Choice steaks. We got about 20 steaks out of this. We wrapped and taped them in butcher paper.