The dinner you’re hosting is just around the corner—maybe it’s for Christmas or a family reunion. You’ve decided on side dishes, dessert and drinks. Place settings have been counted, napkins folded, stemware polished. The only thing left to do is head to the grocery store to purchase ingredients. You’ve made your list and checked it twice, but there’s still a looming question in your mind: “How do I know which beef roast to buy—and how much do I need?!”
Look for Marbling
The amount of marbling plays a huge role in the tenderness, juiciness and flavor in a beef roast, whether you’re choosing one for a special occasion or everyday dinner. Marbling, the little white flavor flecks within the lean beef, are key to great taste. Those little flecks of fat melt during cooking, and in the process, they baste the beef on the inside, shares Diana Clark, meat scientist for the Certified Angus Beef ® brand. Look for a roast with lots of white flecks, like one above. Marbling yields amazing flavor and that’s a fact!
Base Pounds on Number of People
When buying a roast, plan on a pound for every two guests, and a half-pound per two children. Then, add an extra pound just in case, or just because leftover roast makes for delicious future meals!
Six adults (3 lbs.) + four kids (1 lb.) + extra (1 lb.) = 5 lb. roast
Love a Little Fat
Clark recommends asking your butcher to leave some fat on the outside of the roast—an 1/8- or 1/4-inch fat layer is ideal. It conducts heat as it cooks, and also helps to develop a wonderful crust while basting the roast with flavor. You and your guests may choose to remove it from the slices before eating, but your roast will be more flavorful for having been cooked with the outer fat.
Choose an Ideal Roasting Cut
We all have our favorite cuts of beef, but there are several that are ideal for special occasions, and others that make everyday favorites due to size and cost. A few of the brand’s very own Chef Michael Ollier’s favorites are:
For special occasions:
- Tenderloin (chateaubriand)
- Rib Roast (prime rib, boneless rib roast, bone-in rib roast, standing rib roast)
- Strip Roast (N.Y./Kansas City strip roast, top loin roast, split strip roast)
For everyday dinners:
- Tri-Tip Roast (bottom sirloin roast, triangle roast)
- Top Round Roast (top round pot roast, top round London broil)
Want even more step-by-step help? Download the free Roast Perfect app on your smart phone. It’ll walk you through picking a roast, asking for the right size, cooking to the ideal temperature and more.