Butcher's block: Cuts of roast beef

Our interactive illustration is your quick primer to cuts of roast beef, plus get our Test Kitchen tricks and recipes for succulent roasts. 

How to cook a perfect roast beef
Roast Prime Rib with Rosemary Red Wine Jus LiƩ
Photography by Jodi Pudge
Test Kitchen tender beef tip: Always carve roast beef against the grain, which shortens long muscle fibres, maximizing tenderness. Roasts are often tied against the grain, so cut parallel to the twine of a tied roast.

Beef for roasting
Beef roasts are classified as either Oven, Quick and Rotisserie Roasts. These cuts are cooked using dry heat, meaning no liquid is added to the pan. A shallow roasting pan with a rack is all you need. (read about pot roasts which cook using liquid on page 2)

Regular roasts are cut from the hip and loin sections of the carcass.

Premium roasts are cut from the loin and rib sections.
What is the difference? Premium cuts have more marbling and a covering of fat, which produces a more tender roast. However, you can increase tenderness of regular cuts by marinating for four to 24 hours.

The dry roasts listed below are best cooked rare to medium; however premium roasts can be cooked to well done with still tender results because of the marbling.

Dry roasting cuts and recipes
REGULAR OVEN ROASTS - restaurant-style roast beef that's caramelized on the outside and juicy on the inside.


QUICK ROASTS - these are mini roasts weighing 1 lb (500 g) or less. Quick Roasts will cook to medium in under an hour. Season as you would an oven roast.
  • Top sirloin
  • Strip loin
  • Rib eye

ROTISSERIE ROASTS - cut for even cooking on the grill. They can be grilled on rotisserie or by indirect heat.

Page 1 of 2:  Pot roasts explained and our best pot roast recipes on page 2. 

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This article is featured on Tastes of Canada: Beef