Beef Bewilderment–Buying the Perfect Roast

Nothings seems as perplexing as buying a roast for the dinner table. Chuck–braise–rump–top round–sear–bottom — eye of the rib–rolled rib…confused yet? Welcome to the world of buying beef.

It doesn’t have to be so confusing. For most beef buyers, the roast is a great value with so much variety. It’s also the perfect leftover food.

However, most of us aren’t sure what to buy. That tough piece of roast you bought would make a better door stop than something for dinner. Many customers swear off roast because they’ve had a bad experience.

Help is on the way. Let us guide you through the wilderness of roast beef!

As we roll into the holidays, here are a few tips for buying roast. Remember that roasts are cut from the shoulders, ribs or middle section and hindquarters of the cow.

The Chuck:

  • The Chuck Roast/Shoulder Roast. My personal favorite. These cuts are made from the shoulder. These muscles get plenty of work in a cow’s life. This cut is tough but full of flavor. Because the chuck features more connective fat, it is higher in marbling. It’s perfect for slow roasting and stew meat. If you do not have a soup bone, buy the chuck and cut up for stew meat. You won’t be sorry. Its usually a good buy. This is when fat is really a good thing.

The Round:

  • From the hindquarters, this is where you’ll find the rump, beef and sometimes the tip roast. This is leaner than the chuck. It is a tough cut of meat that needs to be slowed cooked. Yes, these muscles are worked and makes for less tender meat. These cuts are economical and perfect for leftovers. remember to braise with plenty of salt and pepper. Here’s where  cutting thin slices against the grain is best.

The Rib:

  • This is where the most tender of the roasts –the cadillac of cuts — are found. These muscles are worked far less, leading to tenderness and taste. The ribeye roast is the most famous, tasty of them all. Noted for its flavor and tenderness, it is the best and by far most expensive. Another name for this cut is the tenderloin fillet minion roast. Make sure to buy the prime cut at the lower end of the ribs. This cut is all that and more. Don’t let the sticker shock of these cuts worry you. It is so worth it!
  • The standing and rolled rib roasts are found near the ribeye at the opposite end. They are almost as good as the ribeye. These cuts are a little tougher. It’s best to cook these like a chuck roast. Sometimes the butcher will grade these as prime or choice. A carefully cooked choice standing roast can taste like the more expensive prime ribs. Never underestimate the value of the standing or rolled roast. Hungry yet?

The Beef Sirloin:

  • These sirloin or tri-tip cuts are between the ribs and the hindquarters. An excellent cut that needs to be grilled or cooked slowly. This is a delicious cut of meat. Do not mistake this for the prime rib or the standing rib because it is not. Still, it’s great for the dinner table. A little cooking finesse ( slow cooking) and spices can make for a wonderful roast.

There is a lot to be said about all the cuts of roasts. Some have a favorite. Taking a little time will help in buying the best cut of beef.

Remember that the roast is more than a specific cut of meat. It is meant to be cooked carefully and shared with family and friends.


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