Don't rely just on the USDA grade. Use your eyes. Look for girth, marbling and color. A 1.25-inch steak is ideal; thinner than that is hard to cook properly and much thicker is a roast. Look for steaks with deep red color with fine marbling throughout the steak.
How to Grill the Best Ribeye Steak
Before I get into how to grill the perfect ribeye, I have to add a disclaimer: I don't think there’s only “one right way” to cook most things on the grill and a large part of it is just a matter of personal preferences. Some will say only flip a steak once. Others will tell you to flip repeatedly. Some will say season an hour before, some will tell you to do it just before grilling, and still others will say wait until after you've grilled to season with salt. You can go crazy with all of the options.
For me, simple is better when it comes to a ribeye. It doesn't need fancy sauces, techniques or voodoo – it just needs you to stay out of the way and let it be a ribeye steak.
Have You Seen Junior's Grades?
You might have heard to “let your steaks come to room temperature” but that is not practical or food safe. Just take them out about 30 to 45 minutes before grilling which is enough time to temper them for more even cooking.
A good ribeye brings so much flavor to the party that you only want to enhance, not cover it up. Some of the best steaks I’ve ever had were just cooked with salt and pepper. Cooking competition steaks is one thing but for eating at home, let the steak shine. Season them just before putting them on the grill.
I'm a big proponent of the “reverse sear” technique for New York strip steaks and filets but not so much with ribeyes. Reverse seared ribeyes come out more like prime rib than grilled steak and if I wanted prime rib, I would cook it. The same goes for sous vide. I like my ribeyes hot and fast, with a few crispy edges and some char.
There are lots of ways to check if your steak is done but none of them beat an instant read thermometer. To get a more accurate reading of your temperature, don't stab the probe down into the steak. This can get you closer to the heat source and give falsely high readings. Come in from the side of the steak.