No it is not homework. In a way I wish it were because I think it would be great to take a cooking class. Alas, though, I am a 46 year-old math teacher who just likes to cook.
My mom always made roast beef using eye round and it was usually tough. My butcher tells me that anything with the word round in it is not tender enough for roast beef. I've made nice roast beef using tenderloin, standing rib roast, and boneless rib roast. But these are a little pricey for any but special occasions. So I was thinking that if top or bottom round was generally more tneder than eye round it might be worth trying it despite what the butcher said. Or if not, then I want to find out what other cuts might produce a roast that is more tender than the "round"s but less pricey than the rib roasts. And all of them cost too much to do a lot of experimenting, so I was hoping someone here might be able to help me. I'm new here -- just registered -- so I apologize if I've misunderstood the purpose of this discussion group.
This site has had many students come in and basiclly ask us to do their homework for them,Hence Chroses reply.
Chrose is a top draw chef,it's always good to get his thoughts.
As to your question. For roast beef (for sandwiches and the like)top round is what works best.There is more fat and marbling in the bottom round so this is a good canidate for braising and or stewing,however the top round is very lean and with out the interior marbling to allow it to braise well.so dry heat,nicely seasoned top round "sliced very thin" works well.
Tenderlion ofcourse being the muscle that gets a free ride is very tender and also expensive,but when entertianing..a nice warm,rare slice of tenderlion with a little sauce or condiment on a roll is very nice.As is roast sirlion.
The eye round (which is from the gooseneck) of the leg is very tought and has to be braised (excellent for pot roast)but not for rare beef.
anyway, I hope this helps a bit and enjoy cheftalk
One of the better good, cheap cuts you can buy is a good chuck roast. The bone-in variety that looks like a big slab. If you look, you will notice what looks like an "eye" and by a small curved bone. That "eye" is the end of the standing rib with a partial rib bone attached. The other side of the roast with the long bone (scapula?) attached is much tougher and chewier. I usually cut the roast in two, get a 2 ribsteaks or a small roast out of the eye and use the other meat for something else (excellent burger). And the good part is that chucks can be as cheap as a $1.00 a pound. Another good grocery store tip: when you see "square cut lamb shoulder roasts" for cheap, try one. Cutting one up you will find a 4 bone lamb rack in there. Save the rest for stew or sausage and get a lamb rack for $1.00!
A great link but remember that American and UK butchery are significantly different in the cutting, which means that many of the cuts mentioned by Delia are not available in the US (and US recipes refer to cuts not available in the UK).
I apologize if I came off as snide. Recently we had a spat of students trying to get us to do their homework and the way your question was worded it was a possibility that I mulled over. I took a chance on attempting to be clever in case I was wrong (as is apparently the case) I would be happy as is everybody else to answer any and all questions, so don't hesitate to ask. I hope your question was answered to your satisfaction.
As for my 2 cents worth: My butcher tells me that anything with the word round in it is not tender enough for roast beef.
I find that funny in a way and would be hesitant to take the butchers word for anything. Next he'll tell you that the best burgers are made from Tenders! What I mean is that as has been said, Top and Bottom roasts are standard cuts used for "Roast Beef" However being what they call "locomotive tissues" they are inherently tough with little marbeling to help in tenderness. Thats why many roasts that are cooked medium well and cut before proper resting tend to be tough and dry. Eye Round being the worst possible choice! Long slow cooking will help your roasts immensly as wwill lining the pan with vegetables and a little water to not only create a little jus but also add some moist heat to help the tenderness. Cook it slow, cook it medium rare, let it rest! and with a little patience you'll have a lovely reasonable priced roast.
No need to apologize at all. The teacher in me actually appreciates the fact that you support the academic process by not doing people's homework for them.
What I've been doing so far is pre-heating the oven to 250, putting in the roast and dropping the temp to 200. I set my thermometer alarm at 118 and when it sounds I take the roast out, boost the oven to 500 and then put the roast back in for 15 minutes or so. Then I let it rest for about 30 minutes before carving. I always cover it with foil while it is out of the oven. I haven't put it in with any liquid but I will try that when I try a bottom round roast. I assume that I want to be sure that the meat is sitting above the liquid as opposed to sitting in the liquid, is that correct? Any other comments or suggestions for my process?
Thanks to you and everyone else here who have so kindly shared their knowledge. I'm just an amateur with no aspiration to become a chef, but I enjoy cooking and this seems like a nice place to come to learn.
When oven roasting (especially the dryer cuts of meat from the hind end) thread lardoons (fat) through the meat. It will counteract the tendency to dryness by artifically introducing the "grains" of fat that used to permeate the naturally tender cuts such as rib roast. (When choosing a steak or rib, for example, one looks for marbling as a promise of tenderness, but as so little of today's beef is adequately marbled this process is useful even on these more tender cuts.)
There are a couple instruments that in the days before the fat crisis were used to introduce the fat into the meat. One that I have is has an 8-10" long, pointed metal trough into which you put the fat, then insert it into the meat. You may find it easier if you make a "pilot hole" in the meat with the instrument before inserting the fat itself. The other instrument I have used has a "needle tip" on one end that widens to the other end so that you can insert the fat inside the cylindrical end and then draw the apparatus through the meat, depositing the fat behind it. For more detailed info and diagrams, see the old joy of Cooking (larding, p 444).
Less trouble, but less tenderizing is to use the slabs of fat to tie on the outside of the meat (barding) to "baste" these drier cuts.
My "Joy" has this info on p.420. People utilize the "barding" principle when they cover meats (& meatloaf) with strips of bacon to introduce both flavor and fat.
Of course there are other books that describe these techniques, but most all of us have acces to Joy.
With a little ingenuity, these techniques can also be used to introduce flavors (garlic, garlic + whatever you fancy with your beef) into the meat.