Holiday Roast(s) - Easy peasy or high risk?

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Joined Dec 16, 2017
New poster here. I am an aspiring home chef and enjoy cooking for my family as well as entertaining. I am working on the menu for Christmas dinner for 16 people. For past Christmas dinners I have done filet mignon on the grill (which I am pretty competent at) as well as pork tenderloin roasts and other dishes throughout the years. However, with the number of guests this year I am thinking that a beef roast or two might be a good choice - and maybe not require as much attention as 16 individual steaks do. I'm considering doing a large tenderloin roast (~3.5 lbs) and then either a similarly sized rib roast, or maybe just two tenderloin roast. I like the idea of having two types of roasts to accommodate different tastes, but I don't want to make it too complicated. I prefer to stay pretty true to the cut when cooking beef dishes so generally just a touch of olive oil and some salt and pepper, though I will make a couple sauces to accompany the roasts in this case.

Anyway, although I have cooked a LOT of steak I have never really cooked a beef roast before so I am hoping for some encouragement, or fair warning, as to whether I should take it on for Christmas dinner or just stick to what I know. Don't necessarily need recipes or instructions (at least not yet), but just some general guidance. I know this all probably sounds pretty amateurish, but we typically go all out for Christmas dinner with high-grade cuts, so in addition to not wanting to disappoint the guests with a failed attempt, I also don't want to waste several hundred dollars worth of beef. Plus, I really strive for perfection when entertaining, so I don't want to disappoint myself with marginal results either. Any sage advice or words of wisdom?

Thank-you,

Matt
 
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Roasts are traditional holiday meal. Steaks would be very intensive, right at a time you probably have a lot to do to get the rest of the feast on the table. Suggest you pick one type of roast... or if two do beef and ham (example) rather than two beefs. Nobody in their right mind will complain that you served rib roast when they wanted tenderloin - or vice versa. Cooking a holiday feast can be stressful so simplify as much as possible while keeping it yummy and feastive.
 
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Thanks for the replies. I'm thinking I'll go with just the tenderloin roast for everyone with maybe a peppercorn sauce and bearnaise sauce. Now, I can get two 3.5 lbs tenderloin roasts or I could also get three 2.0 lbs centers of the tenderloin for about the same price to make chateaubriand. The guest list is basically 11 adults and 5 kids. I like the idea of chateaubriand but just worried it might not be enough - not even sure the two whole tenderloins will be enough as some of this group really likes their steak. Thoughts?

Thank-you,

Matt
 
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1 pound of meat per adult, 1/2 per kid under 10, kids over 10 I treat as adults(and I watched one put down an entire slab of spareribs by himself!).

You could have a ham in the crockpot and to the rib roast on the grill or in the oven. Leftover ham is great for sandwiches so I would make a big one.
 
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What equipment do you have?
I assume you do have at least one oven and stovetop?
Just asking as it will (partly) decide what you can do and not.

maryb maryb , I think 1 pound per person is a bit much. I normally count on 200-300 gram per person, obviously depending on sides. Although you raise a good point in there being no harm in having left over's...

I would go for a ham and a roast beef.....
 
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I agree with the others, 2 beef roasts are redundant. I usually have two meats for the holidays too but I like them to be contrasting. Very often I’ll do beef and pork, or beef and turkey. Turkey breasts are on sale after thanksgiving so I stock up and they’re perfect for slicing and arranging in platters.

If this is your first time making a roast then I suggest not to make things too complicated, you’ll thank us for that later. Here’s the dilemma with “high-grade” cuts. They have to be cooked perfectly and held at temperature perfectly. Personally I avoid them when I have a lot of people coming because too many things can and do go wrong. I enjoy cooking cheaper cuts of meat because they are forgiving and can be even cooked the day before with great success. A 10lb shoulder of lamb for example only costs me $30 for example and can feed 10-12 people. And all I have to do is cover it and stick it in the oven for 4 hrs. It’s not fussy. Same thing with pork shoulder or belly. You want to impress people? Make a slow roasted pork belly - just the sight of it makes people drool. And can be cooked completely the day before and just rewarmed the day of. You can’t do that with a tenderloin or with a prime rib. Food for thought.
 
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Just look at this pork belly. I’ve done this a lot. Cook it the day before, press it over night and then cut into small pieces and warm in the oven to serve. It doesn’t get any easier or more delicious.
 

pete

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This year, I am doing boneless pork loin roast. I have a whole loin that I am going to cut in half and stuff each one with something different. I will get a sausage stuffing with dried cranberries and cinnamon scented apples and rubbed down with smoked paprika. The other will be stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, breadcrumbs and parmesan and it will get rubbed down with lots of garlic and rosemary. Although there are only 9 of us (6 adults and 3 kids) I am doing the whole loin (about 6-7 pounds). It's Christmas and people tend to overindulge so I want plenty to go around, with some leftovers. If I was serving 16 people I would probably be looking at a beef rib roast (not tenderloin) and probably go with with something in the 9-11 pound range.
 
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That is raw weight, not cooked...

What equipment do you have?
I assume you do have at least one oven and stovetop?
Just asking as it will (partly) decide what you can do and not.

maryb maryb , I think 1 pound per person is a bit much. I normally count on 200-300 gram per person, obviously depending on sides. Although you raise a good point in there being no harm in having left over's...

I would go for a ham and a roast beef.....
 
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Joined Dec 16, 2017
Thanks for all of the replies - this has been a really helpful forum. We have a pretty decent kitchen - double oven, gas cooktop, and also a high-end grill that is great for searing if needed. This is our last Christmas in this house with a lot of memories, so I want to make it nice and go out with a bang. I have spoiled these guests with good steak Christmas dinners for the past several years and don't want to let them down this year so I want to really focus on the beef - but still want to change it up just a bit. I'm still leaning towards the tenderloin roast, but maybe I'll pair it with a ham. That way I don't have to be so worried about the beef portions per person. Thinking 7 lbs of tenderloin roast and a nice sized ham should be plenty.

Now I have to decide on the sides. I'm picturing twice baked potatoes, some sort of green vegetable, maybe roasted or creamed corn if I can find it and a nice bread or dinner roll. For starters maybe scallops or even small lobsters accompanying a salad and soup. I welcome any additional suggestions.

Thank-you,

Matt
 
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To bad you aren't close, I have creamed corn in the freezer that I packed last fall LOL
 
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