I'm trying to compare prices for bone-in vs boneless beef rib roasts (aka standing rib roast aka prime rib aka ribeye roast). What is the weight of the bones as a percent of the total pre-cooked weight? Without this number it's impossible to compare prices. (Please no debate about which is better - save that for another thread.)

  • Of course it won't be an exact number, but a range or even a single data point would be helpful. 10%? 25%? I ended up buying a boneless roast that was $9/lb instead of a bone-in roast at $8.50/lb. That's only about 5% premium for not having bones so it seems like a better deal. Next time I buy bone-in I will cut it off and weigh it to answer my question.
    – mpoisot
    Dec 21, 2017 at 14:29
  • 3
    I've removing some comments which said essentially there's no answer because the numbers vary. This is a perfectly valid question, and if the answer is that there is a significant range, please write an answer saying so - preferably including some idea about what that range is.
    – Cascabel
    Dec 21, 2017 at 20:52

2 Answers 2


The key factor is going to be the breed of cattle. Angus, a very high quality beef, also has heavy bone structure and a less favorable bone-to-meat ratio, where as limousine has a lighter bone structure with more meat-to-bone. Other breeds will vary as well, with hereford being (IMHO) the 'happy medium'. But, of course, each individual steer is going fall with a range of possible values rather than a constant factor.

Such value propositions really come down to individual taste and priorities. I suggest to that the comparison is really not just a xLb of bone-in vs. yLb of bone-out. The quality of getting bone-in (again, IMHO)is far superior. The attached rack provides for a degree of insulation and allows for a slower roast protecting the whole rack from over-cooking (a sin to be sure).

If you are stuck on just 'doing the math' if you are looking at a whole (7 bone) prime rib, the rack, the bones, along with the meat & fat attached to the bone that would remain if the rack were to be removed, will account for about 15% of the overall weight (give-or-take all of the variables mentioned - and more). For something 'more or less' than the whole prime (ribs 6-12) as you can see the bones will vary in size depending on whether you are at the short end or the large end of the rack.

enter image description here

This article, from Weber, offers a good deal of analysis of the rib roast in general and may provide some good additional information for you.

Bone-In vs. Boneless

Beef rib roasts are sold two ways—bone-in or boneless. There are several advantages to cooking a bone-in beef rib roast:

  • Fat and connective tissue that surround the bones add moisture and flavor to the meat as it breaks down during cooking.
  • Rich flavor from bone marrow may migrate into the meat during cooking.
  • Bones slow the cooking of meat and limit the evaporation of moisture.
  • Bones are easily removed after cooking and make a tasty treat for the chef!

Buy a bone-in beef rib roast whenever you can.

  • Good point about different breeds having different ratios of fat, muscle and bone. Another wrinkle to throw into the problem.
    – mpoisot
    Dec 21, 2017 at 21:49

Cooked Beef rib bones weigh 1/2-oz per inch.thats the average weight of the meatless bones only w/ no meat on them. A-6 - inch bone is-3-oz . A-12-inch bone is -6-oz- etc etc.

  • 1
    Can you extend this answer so that it actually answers What is the weight of the bones as a percent of the total pre-cooked weight? (and without duplicating other answers)?
    – user34961
    Oct 4, 2018 at 7:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.