What is a good cut for a roast beef dinner that doesn't break the bank?

I have a hankering to make a roast because I've never done it! I believe in researching before jumping in the deep end, so I thought I'd pose this question here. We're hosting dinner parties on two consecutive weekends, and if the first roast goes well, we'll make it again - the 2nd group only eat solid American fare. I see some classic methods of slow-low oven roasts so in addition to my question about a good cut for roast beef, if you have recipe recommendations, I hope you will share. Thank you!

  • Posted by: fuhsi
  • October 17, 2021


fuhsi October 18, 2021
Thank you to everyone for weighing in, you have all been great!
702551 October 18, 2021
If you are going to be cooking large roasts, it is highly recommended to acquire a digital instant read thermometer to reduce the risk of overcooking an expensive piece of meat. Do not cook by time: cook it until it is done.

You can buy the popular $100 Thermapen or you can buy a $25 Lavatools Javelin. They both do the same basic task.

If you go the latter route, the money you save can be used to buy a probe thermometer which is super convenient. You can program a heat alarm so when it reaches a certain temperature it starts beeping. No more periodically getting up and jabbing your roast to see if it's done.
MMH October 18, 2021
I strongly agree. I like the Polder with a remote so I don’t have to open the oven door.
MMH October 18, 2021
America’s Test Kitchen recommends eye of round. It’s lean & in my opinion a a cheaper and lovely alternative to beef tenderloin.
fuhsi October 18, 2021
Thank you - there's a Cook's Illustrated recipe from forever ago that seems to be THE recipe using eye of round.
AntoniaJames October 18, 2021
Thanks for the tip, MMH. I have never served a roast at a dinner party, as it seems tricky keeping the meat from becoming dry, over cooked, etc. in that setting. I appreciate this resource however, as it's nice to serve a nice beef roast to family every so often. I look forward to trying this! ;o)
KLS October 18, 2021
IF it's the recipe where you salt the meat, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 24 hours, then slow roast @ 225 Deg F until until it reaches 115 deg F, then turn off the oven until it reaches 130 deg F for medium rare, that's the one.
It's the only one I use and it's foolproof as long as you pay attention to the temperature; don't walk away.
I also lard the roast with garlic before salting. It's truly the best recipe.
fuhsi October 18, 2021
That's the one! Thanks for the confirmation and suggestions.
MMH October 18, 2021
That’s it. I can’t remember where i got this tip for the leftovers but it is also foolproof. Slice thin & rewarm in beef stock. The meat will stay the perfect medium rare from the recipe.
Nancy October 18, 2021
I am cautious about first-time making a recipe new to me with guests. I only do it with immediate and extended family and having plenty of eggs on hand to make an omelet if something goes wrong with the main. If your guests at first planned dinner party are up for that kind of dining adventure, go ahead. If not, do a trial run with the home team before the two parties.
As for cost and cut, I recommend brisket as relatively low cost for pound (as all beef seems expensive these days). Also, it is easy to cook ahead and doesn't require exact timing to get the degree of doneness you want. Last, leftovers make wonderful sandwiches or taco fillings
Two recipes especially good are classic and much loved recipe from the late Nach Waxman (available at food52 and many other sites) and one from a Texas cook using red wine and spices.
On the other hand, if you want to spring for a rib roast, for the taste, drama of carving and ability to control degree of doneness (rare, medium, well done), I would suggest recipes from either Food and Wine magazine or allrecipes site.
This will be more expensive and more dramatic in the serving.
Good luck with your first roast beef, and please tell us how the dinner parties go!
fuhsi October 18, 2021
Thank you for your thoughtful advice and the recipe iinks! I have some confidence following a recipe because my mother was not in love with cooking and this was a staple she made for company, the oven is new and very predictable so far, and the first group are an adventurous bunch.

I've never had luck with brisket, so am going to try this soon! I think of pot roast as an immediate family meal, not for company, but you may have opened my mind for future recipes.

Thank you, Nancy!
fuhsi October 22, 2021
Nancy, your common sense won me over, once I realized the degree to which I'd have to monitor temperature and timing - better to practice first. And thank you for your brisket recipe suggestions! I'll start with the Nach Waxman because it's a Genius Recipe.
Recommended by Food52