by Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime
In the past month or so, I was invited to visit the Certified Angus Beef brand up in Wooster Ohio at their culinary and education center for a Roasting Retreat. It was quite an enjoyable and learning experience. Their chefs and staff had abundant tips and knowledge even for a long time cook such as myself. I have been preparing roasts for about 35 years now, and got an early kitchen start out of high school working in a commercial kitchen where I learned how to roast a steamship round of beef, learning about it standing on my feet. Although I no longer work in that industry, I have made roasts aplenty for family and friends, and it is one of the most delicious and comforting meals we have every time I do.
Behind the Scenes with CAB Chefs
Chef Michael Ollier, Chef Ashlay Pado, Chef Peter Rosenberg
Choosing a piece of beef can seem like a very intimidating thing to do. I remember when I shopped with my mother as a child, being bewildered at the grocer’s meat counter at all the selections. There were so many different cuts of meat, how did one know which to choose for what they wanted to make? What was the difference between them? After all, they all looked red and beefy to me. It took me a long time to sort all that out even as I grew older and started cooking things on my own. And this is something you really don’t have to go through for yourself, all alone in a wilderness of food. As a beginning cook, or even an experienced foodie, there is always something to be gleaned from reading about food. So I hope my notes here are of a help, and as well, our friends at Certified Angus Beef have put together their Roast Perfect app, which you can carry with you to the market and even into the kitchen, so while you pick out the perfect roast, and even if you are attempting to cook it for the very first time, the experienced chefs from CAB are right there with you every step of the way. I have to tell you that even cooking for as many years as I have now, that I still came across a thing or tow that made me say “Aha!”
Although I don’t get into tips for sauces here I can recommend a couple of volumes on Sauce Mastery:
- Larousse Gastronomique
- Culinary Institute of America: The Professional Chef
- Sauces by James Peterson
- Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child
- Jacques Pepin’s Complete Techniques
How a Sauce can dress up a Beef Roast
I have been asked by friends about Certified Angus Beef. They came on my radar between 15-20 years ago when I first saw their product in Meijer stores in the Dayton Ohio area. It had been marketed as premium beef cuts and indeed it was. Certainly better than the “regular” cuts offered on the meat counter. Although not the same caliber (or expensive price) as Wagyu or Kobe beef, it certainly is the best you can buy in most grocery stores, and often at a better price than lesser cuts of beef.
Beef Techniques with Chef Michael Ollier
But as part of my association with CAB I have been using their RoastPerfect app which you can get for Android or iPhone. When I first started using it, I even had a Windows phone, and got around not being able to download to that by using BlueStacks and Droid4x, which are sort of proxy software you can use to view apps on your laptop. Bluestacks I had been using for awhile, but it did break with a Windows10 install, so I moved to Droid4x, which works fine. I did want to mention that for using Instagram off the laptop, Droid4x was sort of lacking compared to Bluestacks, so for that I switched to the InstaPic app so I don’t have to transfer pics from my laptop to my phone and then again upload to IG. And I have also upgraded to an iPhone (yay!) so I can start doing Periscope videos on Twitter (I will be having fun with you on that very soon!) (Just imagine Tom Hanks with the Super 8 on Apollo 13 filming all the cool stuff bloggers get to do!) (And let’s hope that like Tom Hanks playing Jim Lovell in that movie that anyone watches my periscopes at all instead of switching to something else…) (Ha!)
On the Roast Perfect app, which you can take with you to the market, there are listed a number of roasts, which are suitable for oven roasting, with full instructions given on the app. Roasts not listed are better suited for other cooking methods, such as braising or cooking in a slow cooker.
If you look in the photo below, you can also see varying degrees of marbling running through the meat like white veins. Having this in the meat is considered desirable, as it leads to moist tender meat. Some fat around in pockets or trim is also okay as that can be trimmed off later.
- Boneless Rib Roast
- Bone-In Ribeye Roast
These two are what people often know as Prime Rib, although “Prime” refers to the grade of beef and you can buy a rib roast that is not prime. The difference between the two is perhaps best defined by ease of slicing the boneless, and also it will cook faster without a bone. On the other hand, leaving bones in meat while they cook does add something flavor-wise, at least in my opinion.
Rib roasts begin with seven bones, and this larger roast is split into two smaller roasts, so you have an option. They are called the two different cuts. The first cut (as it is known), contains bones 9/10-12, comes from nearer the loin end, and is sometimes referred to as the “small end” It has leaner meat but slightly larger bones and is often slightly higher priced. The second cut, which comes from closer to the chuck end, contains bones 6-9/10, has slightly smaller bones (therefore more meat per pound) but it is also a bit fattier. Some people do like having the extra fat, as it does flavor the meat. You can always cut it away when eating, so that is not an issue.
When the rib roast is boneless and sliced into steaks, these are called rib-eyes (one of my favorites!)
- Strip Roast
The strip roast is an elegant roast which is also known as the top loin of beef (not to be confused with a top sirloin roast). When it is cut into steaks, these are where your strip steaks come from, as I am sure everyone has had at one time or another. So you know the texture and flavor of this meat already.
I have an example of a boneless roast prepared: Boneless Prime Rib Roast with Spicy Dijon 3-2-1 Crust
- Tenderloin Roast
This is a very tender and elegant roast and also very lean and healthy. Because of the leanness, when it is cut into steaks it is usually prepared wrapped with bacon. You know this one as the filet mignon.
I have an example of this roast prepared: Lendenbraten with Black Truffle Sauce
- Top Sirloin Roast
Petite Sirloin Roast
This roast is the first of the less expensive cuts of roasts which can be used for everyday, yet still dressed up for a special occasion. The top sirloin is a fairly large roast, and the butcher usually cuts it into two pieces at a place where they naturally separate. The smaller piece is called the sirloin cap, which is I have also seen called the petite sirloin roast. The bigger side of it is about 2-3 times the size of the cap, and they will sell that one whole, as a top sirloin roast, or cut it into three sections of roast (filets). These are usually tied with butchers twine to retain shape. If it isn’t, you can ask your butcher to do this for you.
I have an example of the petite sirloin cut of roast prepared: Petite Sirloin Roast Chasseur (Hunter’s Style)
When cut into steaks, these will be sirloin steaks. Although the next roast is typical for sirloin tips, I use the top sirloin cut into bites and sauteed, although you could use either: Sauteed Sirloin Tips
- Top Round Roast
This roast is very similar to the sirloin, except that it is even more lean (cut into steaks you know this as a round steak). It is best cooked to a maximum of medium-rare to medium. You will find this to be true on all the lean roasts, even the tenderloin. And while some people (my own dear mother comes to mind) will not have anything to do with a steak less than well done, this is something to keep in mind because if it is cooked they way they prefer, they just aren’t going to like it. For well-done meats, choosing the ones with more fat, like the second cut rib roast, is generally preferred, as the fat will lubricate meat when it gets hot, much like the way lubricating a car’s engine with motor oil keeps it in top shape, and unless it is a piece of fat that will be cut away anyway, most of that drips out and disappears the same way water will exit meat as it cooks. The top round is also best when it is thinly sliced. This makes it a good choice for roasting, chilling overnight, then the next day thinly slicing into roast beef for sandwiches such as Beef on Weck, or piled high on mashed with gravy for a great comfort meal.
- Eye of Round Roast
- Tri-Tip Roast
- Sirloin Tip Center Roast
- Ball Tip Roast
These roasts are very lean, like the eye of round, and as we go down the list, the meats do become leaner, and also become tough if improperly cooked. They aren’t born that way! Make sure you use the RoastPerfect app to guide you there, even if you use another recipe. Make sure that recipe goes by the guidelines in the app! It’s the business of CAB to know beef, walk the beef and talk the beef. It’s what they do.
There will be a few other kinds of roasts you may not find on your RoastPerfect app, and that is because the app is about roasting. As we get into these other kinds of roasts, they are better suited for braising (Cooking in liquid) just because of the nature of these cuts. Some of them, if cut into steaks, like chuck steaks, might get by as being grilled if a tenderizer is used on them (especially those with papain) or pounded into a pulp, like they got on the bad side of Muhammed Ali, doing a little rope-a-dope on them, breaded with flour, and pan-fried for Chicken Fried Steak. But after that, we are really talking pot roast and slow cookers. Want a #BraisePerfect app? Let them know and tell them I sent you. Because I do love me some braised beef, wrapped up in a tortilla with homemade salsa and melty cheese and…you get the idea. Or how about a seriously tender roast from the slow cooker with Guinness stout ale? Erma Gerd.
- Chuck Roast
- Bottom Round
- Rump Roast
And you know, I am not being paid to see this but…my love affair with CAB canned be summed up thusly:
Don’t go sharing your devotion…cook all your beef for me!
I love this brand!
Merry Christmas, my friends, and may your holiday feast be the best ever! ~Sue
Certified Angus Feast
If you’d like, download the RoastPerfect app in the App Store or on Google Play. It’s free.
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Disclosure statement: This post is associated with a sponsored social media campaign by Certified Angus Beef® Brand in conjunction with Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.