Wondering how to cook roast beef? Learn about different cuts, cooking times, and get amazing recipes and more in this comprehensive article.
There are many different cuts of beef roast and each one yields a different result or appearance when it’s finished cooking. While it can be easy to pick up anything labeled as a beef roast when you’re shopping in the meat department, it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into before you cook it.
Let’s say that you find a recipe requesting one type of beef roast, but you buy another cut variety. If the recipe doesn’t turn out exactly as you were expecting, is it the roast’s fault or did something else just happen to coincidentally go wrong?
Because you swapped the roast out, you may not know unless you tried the recipe again with the correct cut.
This isn’t to say that swapping one roast cut for another should be excluded in its entirety, as there are several different cuts of roast that can be interchanged without any significant changes to the end results of a recipe.
Knowing more about roasts and their cuts can help you to know which ones can be switched and which ones require a different cooking method.
Roasts are cut from the shoulder (chuck) of a steer and from around the rib and loin areas. They can also come from the round, butt and back leg, brisket or chest. Pretty much anywhere where a good amount of fat and meat can be cut, with the fattier roasts coming from the front end of the cow.
The most tender roasts come from the parts that move the least, whereas the tougher cuts come from the spots that are moved more often. Tender roasts come with a heavier price tag, whereas the tougher cuts are generally more affordable and more commonly found inside your grocery store.
Your supermarket will most likely carry the common cuts of beef, but if you’re looking for more variety, it’s important to go to a butcher shop as they can cut meat upon request, introduce you to cuts you didn’t know about and they’re also more likely to have a bigger variety of cuts because they source their meat from farmers. You can learn more about roast cuts here.
Storing a Roast
At the grocery store, the roasts are all in a foam or plastic tray and wrapped in plastic wrap. This is a good way to temporarily keep the roasts covered but shouldn’t be left like this in your fridge for too long.
After bringing home your cut of beef, you may find it wise to place a small plate or tray under the wrapped roast to help catch any additional blood drips that come from it. The larger the cut, the more drips can happen- and this just saves you from a lot of unnecessary cleaning later.
You want to keep your roast in the fridge for no more than 5 days before cooking. If you can’t use it within that time frame, remove it from the original wrapping and place it in a zipper topped bag and freeze until you’re ready. Then you can either thaw the roast or use as frozen depending on the recipe and method of cooking.
The Different Beef Roast Cuts
- Could also be labeled as a pot roast or chuck roll
- Its a cut from the shoulder with fat marbled throughout the meat, making it ideal for one-pot cooking methods.
- Also known as arm roast or pot roast
- A lean cut of cheap beef that is often best when braised.
- Cut from the breast area is this lean flat cut of beef with a fatty point.
Strip Loin Roast
- Also known as top loin roast
- A lean cut of beef cut from the rib roast near the animals behind. This is where the New York strip steaks are cut from.
Top Sirloin Roast
- Also seen as top butt because it’s cut from the hip bone. It’s lean and flavorful with some marbling in the meat.
- While not incredibly cheap, it’s still more budget-friendly than the tenderloin cut.
- A triangular cut of roast taken from the top of the sirloin. It is said to have the perfect marbling and perfect for smoking or grilling.
- The most tender roast comes in this cut from under the spine as it has almost no fat or flavor.
- It’s a very labor-intensive cut to retrieve, which causes the cut to cost a bit.
Top Round Roast
- Also known as inside round because it is cut from the inside of the steers back leg.
- It’s similar to the top sirloin in fat and flavor. Commonly used for deli roast beef.
Bottom Round Roast
- This rolled rump roast is a budget cut from the outside of the back leg of the animal.
- It has nice marbling.
- Also known as a standing rib roast or prime rib.
- You typically find these cut into rib roasts with 3 or 7 ribs in them.
Eye of Round Roast
- A circular cut from the bottom round and a very lean roast.
- Best cut into thinly sliced pieces.
Sirloin Tip Roast
- May also be seen labeled as “knuckle.”
- A cheap cut of beef taken right off the knee. It’s similar in flavor to the top sirloin roast, and a lean cut.
As you can see, there are a lot of options available and plenty of cheap cuts to work with for a stricter budget. Each one offers a different experience and can be cooked in a different way. Check out some of my favorite beef recipes today if you’re interested in trying a new cut.