Best Cut Of Beef For Roast Beef


If you’re looking for the best cut of beef for roast beef, then your search just ended.         This post will look at a range of different roast beef cuts, and help you decide which one to go with. We’ll start by taking a look at the various cuts provided by each type of animal, before examining each cut in more detail. Finally we’ll help you be better informed when you get your meat cutter with tips on how to find the best roast beef cut.

How to cook the perfect roast

Roast dinners are a Kiwi favourite, and stress-free way of feeding a lot of people with one meal. They can still be a little intimidating, though, especially if you haven’t made one before. There’s a bit of preparation, but the good news is once it’s in the oven, a Sunday roast dinner usually takes care of itself. 

With this easy guide to cooking beef, pork, lamb and chicken, you’ll soon be a roast dinner master!

Preparation in 8 easy steps

Depending on the size of the roast and the number of people you’re feeding, you may need as much and two and a half hours for all the preparation, cooking, resting, and carving time before your roast is ready to plate and serve.

  1. Before you start, make sure you have enough trays and can fit them in the oven. As a minimum, you will need an oven tray for your meat and another for vegetables. Maybe two trays of vegetables depending on how many people you’re feeding. 
  2. Know the correct cooking temperature for your cut of meat and cooking time. This is so essential, it’s worth saying twice. Ask your New World Butcher for advice if you’re not sure.
  3. Plan ahead of time, so you know what has to go into the oven and when. The last thing you want is some of your food to go cold while you’re waiting for the rest to cook!
  4. Take your meat out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you put it in the oven. Never put cold meat into a hot oven. This will allow enough time for the beef or lamb to come to room temperature and result in more even cooking.
  5. Preheat the oven. You want to cook the meat at a single consistent temperature for the entire cooking time. TWhile you’re waiting for the oven to heat up, peel and cut your vegetables.
  6. Cook the meat on a meat rack. This helps to ensure even circulation of heat so the meat cooks at the same pace throughout. It also ensures consistent browning.
  7. Get your utensils ready. You’re going to need a roasting pan, meat rack, thermometer or skewer, a board for resting the meat on and a carving knife. 
  8. Warm your plates. This isn’t essential but it does help to keep your food warm while you’re eating.

How to cook roast beef

The perfect roast beef probably comes a close second in most Kiwi households. Follow these tips on how to make sure it’s tender, juicy and delicious.

Seasoning roast beef

Most of the time, adding a little salt and pepper to the outside of the beef roast, then basting it as it’s cooking is all the seasoning it needs.

If you’re feeling a little fancy or want to try something different, try this Horseradish crusted roast beef recipe. Blend horseradish, pink peppercorns, your favourite Italian herbs until smooth, mix through flour and breadcrumbs, then coat your roast before placing it in the oven.

Do you need to sear beef?

Searing meat before you put it in the oven is a good way to boost the flavour of your roast meat. The process of searing caramelizes the beef’s natural sugars forming a rich golden brown crust.

While your oven is warming up, pour a little oil in a large frying pan on a high heat. Once very hot, add your beef roast and sear each side, making sure it’s golden brown. As a general rule, to get that golden brown, crispy surface you’ll need to sear the meat for at least 10 minutes – so be patient! You can use this time to add salt and pepper to the outside of the beef too.

Why basting helps

Basting helps to keep your roast beef juicy and stops it drying out. Every now and again, take the roast out of the oven and use a spoon to pour the juices fromthe bottom of the roasting tray over the top of the meat.

How to rest roast beef

Resting your roast beef is essential. The beef will keep cooking even after it’s taken out of the oven. The heat from the oven forces all of the juices inside the beef to the centre. Resting your beef roast before cutting and serving allows the juices to be reabsorbed throughout the rest of the meat, so every slice is tender and juicy.

The time taken to rest will depend on the size of the cut. Generally, you should let your roast rest for 10 to 20 minutes before carving. A rule of thumb used by some chefs is 1 minute resting time for every 100g of meat.

Beef cuts and cooking times

In the Butcher’s section of your local New World you’ll find a variety of different cuts of beef. All of them can be roasted, but cooking times and methods will vary.

Live in the North Island?

For example, if you’re roasting Prime Rib on the Bone or a Standing Rib Roast, leaving the bone in will act as a heat conductor, adding flavour and reducing the cooking time.

Some cuts of beef are more tender than others, and so they’ll need to be treated differently to make sure you get that perfectly cooked roast beef every time. More tender beef cuts need a higher heat for a shorter amount of time, while slightly tougher cuts prefer a lower heat for a little longer. Ask your New World butcher!

TIP: Roasts with bone-in cook more quickly than boned and rolled roasts.

Slow roasting beef cuts

Some cuts of beef need to be roasted for longer on a lower heat. For these cuts, pre-heat your oven to 160-170℃ and cook it for longer. See below for information about cooking times.Bolar, Rib-eyeRumpChuckRolled-rib roasts

TIP: The best way to roast these beef cuts is fatty side up, placed on a meat rack inside a roasting dish 

Fast roasting beef cuts

Some cuts of beef require much shorter cooking times but at a higher heat. For these cuts, preheat your oven to 220℃ for a shorter cooking time. See below for information about cooking times.FilletRump eyeSirloinStanding ribRib eyeScotch fillet roasts. 

Beef cuts for the slow cooker

If you’re looking for ‘falling-off-the-bone’ delicious roast beef then then look no further than your trusty slow cooker (AKA the ‘crock pot’)! Simply, pop your meat in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to eight hours until the meat is tender. 

This is a great way of cooking slow roasting beef cuts, locking in the flavour and making them tender and juicy. 

Cooking times for roasting beef

Getting the cooking time right is a crucial step to getting that perfect rare, medium or well done roast. The table below is for your typical fast roasting cuts. Use the times as a guide and make sure you check the internal temperature with a thermometer or use a skewer to make sure your meat is cooked.
Weigh your raw cut first, as that will tell you how long it needs to stay in the oven. 

  Minutes per 500g Internal Temperature of Cooked Beef
Rare  20-25 mins50℃ 
 Medium 25-30 mins 65℃
 Well Done 30-35 mins 75℃

So for example, if you had a 4kg roast and you would like to serve it medium rare, you would want it in the oven for 100 minutes, or just over an hour and a half.

If your roast is particularly lean, or you want it cooked on the rarer side, don’t leave it in the oven as long. If your cut of beef is quite fatty or you like your roasts well done, it may take a little longer to cook.

How to know when your beef is cooked

There are two ways to check whether your roast beef is cooked how you want it. 

Using a meat thermometer

Meat thermometers come in analogue (which are usually safe to leave in the oven) or digital which are battery operated. Use the thermometer at around the time you expected the meat to be done and always insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat away from any bone, grizzle or fat. Take  two readings from different places particularly with any cuts that are an ‘odd’ shape.

Using a skewer

Take a thin metal skewer and stick it through the thickest part of your beef roast. Remove the skewer and gently press the meat around the skewer hole until you can see the juices.Red Juice: Your beef roast is underdone or rarePink Juice: Your beef roast is medium-rareClear Juice: Your beef roast is mediumNo Juice: Your beef roast is well done or overcooked.

How to carve roast beef

Whether your roast is bone-in or out, you hold it steady with a long-handled fork. 
Look for the direction of the grain, which is the direction of the muscle fibres. When carving roast beef, you always want to carve against the grain. By cutting against the grain, you make the fibres shorter, and the beef easier to chew. Cutting with the grain gives you a chewier piece of meat, which is less tender.

How to Cook a Beef Roast Well Done


Cooking a beef roast well-done makes the meat less tender and juicy, and considerably more chewy, than beef cooked to a lower temperature. For this reason, it’s important to pick the best beef cuts for roasting. Loin, chuck and rib meat are optimal, being the most tender and juicy cuts. While you can follow basic recipes for cooking a beef roast well-done, all ovens vary, and the size, shape and cut of your beef affects the total cooking time. For precision, check your roast’s temperature periodically rather than relying on any stated cooking times.

  1. Roasting pan
  2. Meat thermometer
  3. Aluminum foil
  4. If you’re roasting the beef in a convection oven rather than a conventional oven, preheat to 275 degrees F. Take the roast out when the internal temperature is 125 degrees. The roast beef’s temperature will climb another 30 degrees following removal, reaching well-done.
  5. Make sure your meat thermometer is labeled safe for use during cooking in the oven. If yours isn’t, you’ll have to remove the beef roast occasionally as the end of the cooking time nears to check its internal temperature.

How to Cook a Perfect Roast Beef

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about how to cook roast beef. Here, we answer your most pressing questions so you can cook a perfect roast beef — every single time.

Prime Rib with Roasted Vegetables

Roast beef has long been a favorite centerpiece for the Christmas table — one bite and it’s hard to argue against this particular tradition. Whether served for Christmas or as a classic British Sunday dinner with veggies, Yorkshire pudding, and horseradish cream, roast beef is at once comfort food and celebration. Here’s how to do it right.

What is roast beef?

The broad term “roast beef” refers not so much to a specific cut of meat, but to the cooking method: While a pot roast is, in fact, a type of beef roast, it’s not considered roast beef, as it’s usually prepared by braising in a closed dutch oven or slow cooker as opposed to roasting uncovered. (Consider this: pot roast is cooked in … a pot! Roast beef is cooked in a roasting pan.)

So if a roast isn’t always roast beef, then what is roast beef? Simply put, roast beef is any cut of beef that’s prepared by roasting. This means there are a wide variety of cuts you can choose from.

In general, the best cuts for roast beef are large and tender — avoid tough chuck roasts. Rib roast, top sirloin roast, round roasts, tri-tip, and tenderloin should all make for a tasty roast beef. Meat that is darker in color with a thick layer of fat and good marbling throughout is most likely to stay juicy through the roasting process.

A note on round roasts: These cuts are leaner, but the top round and eye of round are still good — and more economical — choices for a roast beef. The bottom round roast (or rump roast) is the leanest of these roasts and will need to be cut thin in order to be tender on the plate.

How to prep roast beef

Luckily, choosing your roast may be the most difficult part of the process! Roast beef is actually quite simple to make, and it’s well within your reach to cook a stunning roast the very first time you make one.

There’s not a lot of hands-on prep time required for most roast beef recipes, but you do want to take the roast out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes (for large roasts, up to 2 hours) before you cook it to help it come to room temperature.

Season the meat following whatever recipe you choose (we’ve got some tasty ones at the end of this article). For most cuts of meat — and particularly for leaner varieties — you’ll want to drizzle the beef well with olive oil, then rub it all over the roast along with some kosher salt and black pepper.

For extra browning, you may be called on to sear the roast on all sides over high heat before roasting, but this step is purely optional.

Cook your roast beef on a rack to allow the hot air in your oven to circulate around the whole roast, making it cook more evenly. If your roast has a thick fat cap on it, place the fat side up on the roasting pan. This way, as the fat starts to melt in the oven, it will drip over (and into) your roast for extra flavor and tenderness.

How long does it take to cook roast beef in the oven?

Like many things in cooking, it depends. Your cooking times will vary based on the size of your roast, how well you want your meat done, and your oven temperature. Many recipes call for starting the roast at a higher temperature (anywhere from 400°-500°F) and then finishing off in a slower oven (anywhere from 275°-375°F).

If you’re up for some light math, here’s a rule of thumb: For every pound of meat you’re roasting at 350°F, it will take approximately 18 minutes for rare, 20 minutes for medium, and 25 minutes for well-done. But your cook time can vary widely based on the cut used.

Bottom line? Pick a roast beef recipe for the specific cut you want to use and refer to the guidelines in your recipe. Expect cooking times to range from 1 to 2 1/2 hours for an average 3- to 5-pound roast.

How to know when roast beef is done

Clearly, you can’t go by time alone to judge when to take your roast out of the oven. So how do you tell? Here’s one question where we can give you a definitive answer: Take the temperature of your meat. For the best results (and peace of mind), may I recommend the Yummly® Smart Thermometer? Using a meat thermometer, check the internal temperature of your roast beef. As a rule of thumb, take your roast out of the oven when it reaches a temperature 10° below your desired degree of doneness, as the beef will continue to cook as it rests.

Roast beef cooking temperatures

Rare125 degrees F
Medium-Rare135 degrees F
Medium145 degrees F
Medium-Well150 degrees F
Well Done160 degrees F

The Yummly Smart Thermometer is a wireless, app-based solution to protect your meat. The leave-in thermometer continuously monitors both internal and ambient temperatures, then alerts you on your phone when your roast is done.

What’s resting?

Without getting into the science of it all … no, your roast is not tired, but yes, it needs to rest. Resting simply means letting the meat sit for a minimum of 10 minutes before you carve it (up to 30 minutes for larger roasts). Why? To keep those juices where they belong: in your roast. Resting also helps even out cooking.

Carving a roast too early will flood your cutting board with delicious juices that will never make it to your unlucky diners’ mouths. Resting the roast gives the beef time to reabsorb those flavorful juices. Don’t skip this important step, no matter how hungry you are! While it’s not a reason for resting, this step also gives you time to prepare a sauce and put your sides into warm serving dishes.

What to with serve roast beef

The leaner the roast, the thinner you should carve your slices. While a tender prime rib doesn’t need any adornments — save for a decorative sprig of fresh rosemary or thyme — you can’t go wrong with a decadent sauce or gravy on the side.

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