What size roast do you need to feed all the folks at your feast?

Beef 101: How To Buy A Roast

What size roast do you need to feed all the folks at your feast?

Christmas dinner is just around the corner … or maybe you’re planning a New Year’s celebration. 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. 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, and because leftover roast makes for delicious future meals!

Six adults (3lbs.) + four kids (1 lb.) + extra (1 lb.) = 5-lb. roast

Fat on roast

Love A Little Fat
It’s good to have some fat on the outside of the roast. It conducts heat as it cooks, and also help to develop a wonderful crust while basting the roast with flavor. An 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch fat cover is ideal. You and/or your guests may choose to remove it from the slices before serving, but your roast will be more flavorful for having been cooked with the fat on.

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 mak everyday favorites due to size and cost. A few of our favorites are:

For special occasions:

  • Tenderloin (chateaubriand)
  • Rib Roast (prime rib, boneless rib roast, bone-in rib roast or standing rib roast)
  • Strip Roast (NY strip roast, Kansas City strip roast, top loin roast or 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)

Find a complete list of roasting cuts here. And for more roasting information, see what Chef Michael Ollier has to say!






Published by

Jennifer Kiko

Jennifer lives on a rural route with her husband, kids, horses, cows and faithful Labs, Cash and Carter. She's an aspiring foodie and enjoys making good food for great friends. She lives next door to a winery, plays the piano, and admits to growing too many tomatoes.