Rib-eye is a high-quality cut with nice fat marbling in tender, flavorful meat. Its saturated fat, cholesterol and calorie content make it a delicious dish best enjoyed in moderation, but you can make it a bit healthier by baking it rather than cooking it in oil on the stove top. Whether you're preparing rib-eye steaks or a rib-eye roast, mimic the effects of pan searing for a nice crust by starting the oven out at a high temperature, then reducing it to evenly cook the meat through without burning the outer layer of meat.
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Salt the rib-eye roast or steaks liberally 45 minutes ahead of time with coarse kosher salt. If you salt right before cooking, the salt draws moisture out of the meat and it never gets reabsorbed, yielding less tender and juicy results. By salting this far in advance, the briny moisture is reabsorbed, keeping the meat moist and adding flavor.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit about 30 minutes before cooking. Home ovens typically need this long to fully heat up, and your beef won't develop a well-browned, crisp outside without this heat. The crusty exterior provides a pleasing textural contrast to the soft, succulent meat underneath.
Line the bottom of a shallow roasting pan with foil if you're making a rib-eye roast to catch the rib-eye's drippings during cooking. Grease the rack of the roasting pan with nonstick spray. Line a baking tray with foil if you're making rib-eye steaks and grease the foil with nonstick spray. A foil lining greatly simplifies cleanup after dinner, and it's a convenient way to get the drippings if you want them for a sauce or gravy.
Pat freshly cracked black pepper over the outside of the steaks or roast. Pat on other seasonings to taste, too, if you like; garlic or onion powder, chili pepper powder, dried thyme and dried tarragon make tasty additions. Place the roast on the rack of the roasting pan or space out the steaks on the lined baking tray. Put the meat into the center of the oven.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F after about 20 minutes if you're making a roast or after about 5 minutes if you're making steaks. Continuing to bake the meat at too high a temperature yields scorched exteriors and overcooked insides.
Bake a rib-eye roast to 10 degrees below the final desired temperature; bake rib-eye steaks to 5 degrees below the final desired temperature. Final targets are as follows: 145 F is medium -- and the minimum recommended temperature per the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- 150 F is medium-well and 160 F is well done. Use an instant-read thermometer to measure the meat's internal temperature. Cooking times vary based on a number of factors; expect a bone-in rib-eye roast to take about 23 minutes per pound for medium, expect a boneless roast to take about 28 minutes per pound for medium and expect 1 1/2-inch-thick rib-eye steaks to take about 15 minutes for medium.
Transfer the beef to a serving platter or plate. Let a roast rest for at least 15 minutes; let steaks rest for 10. While a roast rests, its internal temperature rises about 10 degrees; the temperature of smaller steaks rises about 5 degrees. Resting provides opportunity for the meat's juices to settle so they don't leak out when the meat is cut.