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Cote de boeuf

Updated: Tue, 22 September, 2020

Côte de bœuf, tomahawk steak, one bone rib, rib steak or cowboy steak is the most satisfying cut of beef: a cross between an enormous steak and a mini roast. Barbecue it or oven roast it, as long as you get it medium-rare.

cote de boeuf

What is côte de bœuf?

The French seem to be rather grandiose about their beef cuts: côte de bœuf means 'side of beef' - probably because it keeps falling onto one side when roasted in the oven. It is a slice cut from the whole rib of beef joint, on a solitary bone.

raw cote de boeuf

Is it the best cut of beef?

What a question. There are some who will only ever go for a fatless, tendonless, pristine and sterile fillet steak. There are sworn sirloin afficionados and there are rib eye fans. I'm leaving out T-boners because those guys are just greedy; and how is it even possible to eat so much?

seared and roasted cote de boeuf

The same goes for people's favourite cut for a beef roast: some like it topside, some like it sirloin. I say: all fine as long as it's not overcooked. Sirloin is a bit dry for me and roasting a whole fillet belongs on a special occasion, though it's ecstatically nice with wild mushrooms.

So is rib of beef the best after all?

I won't commit to a decisive answer to that question. What's best is what looks best on a given day at a given butcher's. You should never buy expensive cuts of meat without seeing them (I know, sometimes easier said) because you might set out to buy a nice bit of sirloin and the rump steak on display will sweep you off your feet: marbled, darkened with aging - and on special offer.

rib steak on the bone

Why I like côte de bœuf

What do you do if there are only two of you and you crave a beef roast? Not an easy question to answer. As much as I like there being just the two of us, we’re systematically deprived of good things like a whole lamb leg roast.

Even with chicken, it’s a two-dayer. Half freshly roasted chicken on day one, the other half cold with a salad on day two, so it might seem a little boring a perspective even though I love roast chicken, hot or cold. Unless we’re having people round of course which is not every day and I normally go a bit more elaborate then than a roast chicken.

tomahawk steak

A proper beef rib-eye roast, full works, standing bone, at least three ribs is a rare occasion. So what do you do, to reiterate my original question?

That's when a côte is simply the best.

one bone rib joint

A steak AND a roast

Because it is basically an enormous rib-eye steak with the bone in, I would be tempted to cook it all in a pan, like a steak, but then I like my beef barely cooked and The Weather Man is of the medium-rare orientation. So I sear it and stick it in the oven for the statutory time, 15 minutes per pound at 180C.

You can skip the searing, whack the heat up in the oven for an initial 10 minutes, then follow by the prescribed time at lower temperature but it runs a risk of overcooking. And a charred mustardy crust is so gorgeous, it's worth putting up with a bit of smoke in the kitchen.

Cote de boeuf

Servings: 2Time: 50 minutes


  • 2lb (900g) one rib beef joint
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp mustard powder


1. Bring the beef to room temperature – it can happily sit on the worktop, uncovered, for a good few hours. If it isn’t tied with string, wrap a length of butcher’s string around it in the middle and tie the ends to make it more compact. Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper and the mustard powder and rub it well in on both sides and into the fat.

seasoned rib roast

2. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.

3. Heat up an oven-proof pan or skillet large enough to fit the beef on its side until almost smoking. Drop a little oil into it and place the beef on one side to sear. Cook for about 2 minutes, turn over and sear for further 2 minutes. Try to sit the côte up on its bone side but don’t worry if it doesn’t want to stand – it will probably eventually fall over anyway.

how to sear cote de boeuf

4. Put in the oven and roast for 30 minutes for medium rare (the timing is 15 minutes per pound at this stage). You can turn it over halfway through, especially if you’re using a cast iron pan, so it doesn’t brown too much on one side.

5. Let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. Carving one rib côte is tricky so try and do it as much on the diagonal as you can but it will never slice very neatly – the taste should compensate for this.

Originally published: Wed, 1 June, 2016

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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