Choosing The Right Roast

Posted On: November 21, 2013

It’s the holiday season and across America the slow cooking recipes are coming out of the pantry.  There are plenty of great recipes to choose from, weather it’s chicken and dumplings, your favorite soup or a Beetnik favorite, roast.

There are nine main sections of beef in a cow, but for the purposes of this post we will focus on three of the most popular ones; especially pertaining to the holiday season! The location of the beef on the actual cow makes a difference in its fat content, tenderness, and of course, cooking style.  Here’s a quick run-down of the three most common types of roasts and what makes them so different.


Chuck roast is one of the more inexpensive sections of the cow, located around the cow’s shoulder. The meat is fairly tough, but very flavorful. It’s best suited to pot roasts, short ribs, and steaks. The best cuts from this section are the chuck eye and flat iron steaks.

Method: Brown the roast before cooking low and slow for 2-4 hours with vegetables.  Braising, or cooking meat in a small amount of liquid like a beef stock and red wine mixture, is also a good choice for chuck roast.


The rib is considered one of the best, most flavorful sections. As a result, it is also one of the most expensive. This is home to grilling favorites like ribeyes and back ribs.  Ribeye is much fattier than tenderloin, which makes it much more flavorful. It roasts beautifully lightly seasoned in a skillet.


  • Allow the roast to come to room temperature to ensure even-cooking. This means leaving it out for up to two full hours right before roasting.
  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  • Use a paper towel to pat the roast dry.
  • Rub butter on the cut ends of the roast.
  • Create a seasoning rub or paste with ingredients such as pepper, coarse salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Make a series of ½ inch deep slits all over the top of the roast as well as the sides. Rub your seasonings all over the roast, covering all exposed meat.
  • Place the roast in a heavy metal roasting pan, bone-side down.
  • No matter what size roast you have, you will start it in a pre-heated 450 degree oven for 15 minutes then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees for the balance of cooking time. Cooking times will vary depending on size of the roast and desired level of doneness. The following chart gives approximate times for to reach “rare” at various sizes.

(3) Ribs, 7 to 8 lbs. 15 minutes at 450°, Then 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours at 325°

(4) Ribs, 9 to 10 lbs. 15 minutes at 450°, Then 1 ½ to 2 hours at 325°

(5) Ribs, 11 to 13 lbs. 15 minutes at 450°, Then 2 to 2 ½ hours at 325°

(6) Ribs, 14 to 16 lbs. 15 minutes at 450° Then, 2 ¾ to 3 hours at 325°

(7) Ribs, 16 to 18 lbs. 15 minutes at 450° Then, 3 to 3 ¾ hours at 325°

Every half hour or so, baste the ends of the roast with the drippings. Use your meat thermometer about a half hour before the expected end of the roasting time. Make sure to insert it in the thickest part of the meat, not touching the fat or bone. When the internal temperature reaches 120°, pull it out of the oven and cover with foil. Let the roast sit for twenty to thirty minutes. It will continue to cook during this time, reaching a temperature of about 125° to 130°. This resting period allows the juices and flavors to permeate the roast.

Rare meats measure in at 120° to 125° with a bright red center that grows slightly pinkish towards the exterior.Medium rare meats measure between 130° to 135° and are characterized by their extremely pink center portion that grows brown towards the exterior. Medium meats reach a temperature of about 140° to 145°have a light pink center, brown outer portions. Medium well is achieved at 150° to 155°. Well done is reached at about 160°


The short loin is widely hailed as the tastiest section of meat. From here, we get the Portherhouse, the T-Bone, the New York Strip (sometimes called the Kansas City Strip), and the Top Loin. There is also a layer of Tenderloin that lies in between the short loin and sirloin that gives us not only tenderloin steaks, but cuts of Filet mignon and Chateaubriand taken from the most tender parts of the tenderloin. This is often the most expensive section of the cow, as well as being very low in fat and extremely well marbled.Tenderloin is extremely low in fat, which means it cooks very quickly. As a result of this, it is normally served rare to medium rare, making it very tender.

Method: Roast or Grill!!

Prep the beef

Trim any fat and silver skin and season as desired.

Roast: Browning the tenderloin first is optional, but it does caramelize the outside and lock in the juices. In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Quickly brown the tenderloin on all sides in the hot oil. Transfer the roast to a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Preheat oven to 425°F. Insert an oven-going thermometer into the center of the tenderloin. Roast, uncovered, until desired doneness according to the timings below. Transfer meat to a cutting board and cover with foil. Let stand for 15 minutes before slicing. The temperature of the meat will rise during this time (this is reflected in the timings below).

Grill: For a charcoal grill, arrange medium-hot coals around a drip pan. Test for medium heat above the drip pan. Place meat on the grill rack over drip pan. Cover and grill, allowing 3/4 to 1 hour for a 2- to 3-pound roast (135°F) and 1 to 1 1/4 hours for a 4- to 5-pound roast (135°F). Add more charcoal to maintain heat as necessary. (For gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Adjust heat for indirect cooking.) Cover and let stand for 15 minutes before slicing. The temperature of the meat will rise 10°F during the standing time.

Well, that is it folks! Have fun experimenting with different cuts, flavors, and textures this holiday season! Oh and send us your feedback; as we always love to hear from you!

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