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Beef recipes - Roasts & Miscellany

This page starts with some recipe highlights for both "core" roasts and what we're calling roast-steak "in-betweeners" (roast cuts that are best prepared like steaks). Following the highlights, you'll find a summary table outlining the sometimes-subtle differences among roast cuts, with suggested cooking methods and recipe links. Enjoy!

Core Roasts: Some highlights

It took the internet by storm a few years back, but in our household now, Mississippi Roast is a workhorse dish. We serve the peppery meat with rice or quinoa, then repurpose leftovers in sandwiches or tacos. The recipe for our favorite version is behind a New York Times paywall, but there are plenty of free versions a click away as well.  By the way, the Times and some others use Chuck roast, and that works great, but so do the roast cuts from the round, e.g, Rump roast, Top Round roast, Eye roast, Sirloin Tip roast

Mississippi roast baby
What happens with Mississippi Roast in our family

This pot roast is mostly a standard take on the classic recipe. Easy to make and heartily delicious, it's become our other roast standby.  

The British have a Sunday Roast tradition, and customer Lindsay T. who hails from the UK and now calls NoVA home heartily recommends this Jamie Oliver recipe -- note that what the Brits call "Topside" we call Top Round roast. Germany's classic pot roast, Sauerbraten, uses ample vinegar to put the "sauer" in what's a sweet-and-sour dish: Customer Janell S. from Bethesda recommends this recipe which uses Eye roast and herself produced this delectable result:    

Sauerbraten

Beef roasts can also become amazing sandwiches.  Adam grew up in New England, where there's a proud roast beef sandwich tradition with epicenter on Boston's North Shore, but our region has its own formidable contribution!: The Baltimore Pit Beef sandwich, which is generally made from Top Round, Bottom Round or Rump roast, slow-grilled.    

Steak-Roast In-Betweeners: Some highlights

In this inelegantly-named category, we cover a few cuts that look something like roasts, and do have a bit in common with roasts, but are generally prepared like steaks. (Key to all of them: Cut the against the grain when serving.)

London Broil can be a little confusing. First, to get one thing out of the way: London Broil was not created in England but rather here in the US Mid-Atlantic! - in Philadelphia, in the inter-War years, according to James Beard.  London Broil is a preparation style that can be applied to various cuts; your Near Country London Broil cuts come from the Top Round. But what good butchers and cooks do with London Broil is create a steak from a roast - yes, using high-heat cooking. Here's a recipe that has the key marinating and cooking steps well laid out. 

Picanha is the Portuguese name for what the French call culotte steak and in English is more blandly known as rump cap or sirloin cap. The reason it's more commonly known by its international names is because while Americans mostly haven't figured out what to do with the cut, the cut is a fixture in Brazilian steakhouses and French bistros -- as a matter of fact, for those of you who know the DC-area Medium Rare restaurants, whose limited-by-design bistro menu revolves around steak frites, it's culotte/Picanha that they exclusively serve. To prepare your Picanha, most recipes will guide you to trim the fat cap and slice up the large roast-like cut into individual steaks, then lightly season and reverse-sear. We like this recipe that guides you through the prep and adds a mushroom cream sauce.     

Then there's Tri-Tip. A big deal in California, this cut is barely known around our region. But there's a reason why Left Coasters dig on this triangular shaped muscle: It's flavorful, and pretty easy to grill, whether you complement it simply with garlic bread or prepare it as they do in Santa Maria, California, with a special salsa. Tri-Tip is also great for entertaining. Why? The tapered end will cook more fully than the wide end, giving you a gradient of finished temperatures with which you can accommodate your guests varying tastes.

Roasts: Summary Table

Here we summarize the various beef roasts we typically allocate to subscribers. A few notes on cooking methods:

  • The suggested primary cooking method is listed first, followed by common alternatives 
  • "Braise" includes all moist-cooking methods, including slow cooker, Dutch oven, pressure cooker and Instant Pot
  • Sous vide is not included in the table, but sous vide plus searing can always substitutes for dry roast or grilling
  • When grilling a lean roast, use indirect heat followed by a sear - don't over-expose to high heat

Roast name

Defining qualities

Cooking methods

Notable dishes 

(* = Local specialty)

Basic Roasts

Top Round

(aka: Topside)

  • Leanest roast of all
  • Uniform texture with virtually no fat or connective tissue
  • Dry roast
  • Braise

Bottom Round

  • Lean roast with slightly more marbling than the Top Round
  • Uniform texture
  • Braise 
  • Dry roast

Rump

  • Similar to Bottom Round  (which it’s next to), with somewhat more robust flavor
  • Braise
  • Dry roast 

Eye of Round

  • Very lean
  • Cylindrical shape makes for even slices 
  • Dry roast
  • Braise

Sirloin Tip

  • Very lean
  • Comes from where the Sirloin converges with the Round 
  • Braise
  • Dry roast

Chuck & Chuck Tender

  • Collagen-rich, and also has some marbling 
  • Braise

Brisket 

  • Comprised of two muscles: The Flat (aka, First Cut, “Lean Brisket”), and the Point (aka, Second Cut, “Fatty Brisket”, Deckle) 
  • Butchering choices allow for huge (9+ lbs.) and smaller cuts
  • Braise
  • Smoke

Roast-Steak In-betweeners

London Broil

  • It’s Top Round, cut into thick steaks for steak-style preparation
  • Dry roast (Broil)
  • Grill

Um… 

Tri-Tip

  • A mainstream steak option on the West Coast (more niche here) 
  • Tapered shape allows for easy preparation of gradient of temperatures (great for entertaining)
  • Grill
  • Dry roast

Picanha

(aka: Culotte, Sirloin Cap)

  • Very popular in Brazilian steakhouses and French Bistros
  • Generally cut into strips before cooking
  • Grill
  • Dry roast

Roastable Miscellany

  • Soup Bones: In your soup pot these impart nice collagen and minerals from the bones and bone marrow, as well as beef flavor of course from the meat. If you allow your soup to boil, you'll get these benefits from the soup bones -- which is enough for many home cooks -- but much of the meat may end up too tough to eat. With a low-and-slow cook that doesn't get above a simmer, the meat will not be as tough and you can carve it off the bone and include it as a tasty feature in your soup. (The soup bones are basically thin-cut osso buco -- a dish that's cooked with a long braise.)  There are lots of flavors that work well with beef soup - a good combination to start with is tomatoes, mixed vegetables and greens.  
  • Oxtail: Here is a delightful Caribbean-style oxtail stew recipe

 

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