A beef roast from the rib section between the short loin and the chuck. The three most popular styles are standing rib roast, rolled rib roast and rib-eye roast. The standing rib roast usually includes at least three ribs (less than that is really just a very thick steak). It's roasted standing upright, resting on its rack of ribs, thereby allowing the top layer of fat to melt and self-baste the meat. A rolled rib roast has had the bones removed before being rolled and tied into a cylinder. Removing the bones also slightly diminishes the flavor of this roast. The boneless rib-eye roast is the center, most desirable and tender portion of the rib section. Therefore, it's also the most expensive. Many rib roasts are often inappropriately labeled prime rib. In fact, they can't be called prime rib unless the cut actually comes from USDA Prime beef--rarely found in meat markets today.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.