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Tuscan style roast beef for 70

post #1 of 10
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I'm doing a Christmas dinner for 70. Not in the restaurant, but at home in my neighborhood. I'll do the majority of my cooking at home (Viking 48" range) and have three ovens in the Clubhouse in which I can roast/hold as well. I've sold the organizers on a Tuscan theme (decor figures into this, so Tuscan was a little more pointed than merely 'Northern Italian') and a main course of roast beef lavishly imbued with rosemary and garlic. Though most will take their meat rare, tragically I'll have to have med-well on hand for this crowd. Only vegetables will be served with the meat, as a pasta 'primi' precedes the beef.

Prime rib--at least as usually prepared--would just be too big. It could work cut off the bone and rolled, though I've never done that. Nor offhand can I think of any other beef cut that would adapt well to that. Not that rolling's neccessary, it's just that it produces such a tidy portion. Or am I not thinking hard enough?

Any other cuts anyone would reccomend, even something one wouldn't roll?
post #2 of 10
Top Round.. Knuckle Face Sirloin, Bottom Round(IF tenderized). Towards the ends are medium, toward the middle should be med rare. I don't suggest any rolling onj any meat cuts except Flanks and skirts.
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post #3 of 10
It should be noted that in Italy roasts are usually cooked all the way through, hardly ever will you find them to be medium the way we eat here.

Eye rounds would do very well with this, but only if tenderized with salt 24 hours prior to cooking.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #4 of 10
An eye round is cut out of top round, or top sirloin if you like, but total flap section is off. Its great for feeding 5 to 8 people. This would be price prohibitive for volume serving. Whole round should be used or even a trimmed cut called a Spencer Roll.
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post #5 of 10
You didn't mean "rolled." You meant "trussed" "or tied," which means tied up with string to hold its shape. If you did mean "rolled," pretend you didn't and just roll your eyes.

Boned out roasts, taken from the "prime rib" are fine. However, don't count your oven space before it's hatched. Such roasts don't take up significantly less space than bone-in roasts because bone-in supplies its own rack -- a thing you'll need with each boneless roast. A boneless rib-roast (aka eye of rib, or "rib eye") is just as good as one with the bones; except, that is, for the lack of bones.

If you do want to For Chrsitmans, I'd stay away from the bargain primals like round or chuck, and stick with the luxury primals. The three biggies are tenderloin (from the loin), "NY stripper," and top sirloin. Each is more than suitable for the occasion. Each is easy to carve, with no special direction. None takes any special preparation -- season and stick it in a hot or slow oven, and roast as you desire. Each will adapt perfectly to whatever beef-appropriate seasoning you like.

Rib (bone out, and tied): A boned out rib may be your best choice, because of its seasonal associations, because they're so widely available during the season, and are often heavily discounted for the holidays.

Tenderloin (tied); And you thought rib was expensive. But again, there are often very good sales as the holidays approach. Absolutely spectacular cut of meat, and very easy to handle. The ladies love it. First choice for the holidays, if you can afford it.

NY Strip Loin (may be tied or not): Another excellent cut of meat. Slightly different fat distribution than a rib roast, but buy good strip loins and you'll be a happy camper. A whole strip loin typically runs in the neighborhood of 15 pounds. If this is too large to handle, you can easily cut it in half.

Top Sirloin (tied): Wonderful piece of beef, the beefiest of all the cuts here. The whole top sirloin is a big piece of meat. For the sake of easy handling have it cut into roasts about 10 pounds each, and tied. The full, double sirloin (from both sides of the beef), roasted and presented whole is called a "baron of beef." How cool is that?

Top Sirloin butt (tied): Don't do it, save it for sandwiches.

Tri-Tip (never tied): Doable. Interesting. Amazingly not-Tuscan somehow. These are very small roasts -- around 2-1/2 pounds, trimmed. Good ones are very tender. The downside is that if they are not carved fairly thin and against the grain, they are very tough.

If you don't know how to tie a roast, have your butcher do it for you. It's a good idea to tie almost any roast or bird headed for the oven. They hold their desired shape better, cook more evenly, and so on. Downside: The cost of string.

70 guests is not that big a number, considering that you have the club house ovens, besides the one in your unit. But if there is competition for oven space -- and even if there isn't -- beef roasts can be kept for up to four hours after roasting by wrapping them in aluminum foil or commercial cling wrap and holding them in insulated "coolers;" prepped for the purpose by pre-warming (if possible), stuffing the vacant space with crumpled newspaper or rolled up towels, and closing tightly (even weighting or taping the top down if necessary). You'll get a roughly 7* "carry over" if you do hold, adjust your "done" temperatures down accordingly. Holding them in coolers would allow you to divide the roasts into two groups, and cook each group consecutively. It will also yield well-rested roasts which may be hoisted to the carving stations(s) when most convenient.

Hope this helps,
BDL

PS. Ed and I have different approaches, and sometimes we seem to disagree -- yet in the end we agree on nearly everything. My cautioning about staying away from cheaper cuts reflected those differences. For instance, my background is "cost plus," while Ed's is "per head," or even "per hall." Ed's got a lifetime of experience doing huge numbers of covers. My limited professional experience was at the expensive end of "fine dining;" and "intimate catering," usually for groups smaller than yours. For those reasons and a lot of others, it's easier for me to spend (your) money than it is for him.
post #6 of 10
I think you meant to say sub-primals in reference to tenderloins, NY strips and prime rib. I'm not sure what you meant by no special direction for carving but in the case of the sirloin strip, prime rib and tenderloin you are going to want to slice cross grain in the same way you would if you were cutting steaks.
While I would lean towards bone in prime rib as well for it to be at it's best it needs to be slow roasted and held at temp for several hours. I would also suggest if the OP goes this route and has deep enough ovens that the chuck ends are put in facing the rear of the oven with the sirloin end facing the oven door. The down side for many using bone in roasts is removing the chine bones and the ribs before service.
Nothing difficult but it is a bit messy.
Boneless prime rib cooks a bit faster and is just easier to deal with for most.
I'm not a big fan of roasted NY strips.
Tenderloins are easy to work with. Cost is the only draw back there.
Eye of the round or tri tip would not be on my list.
Nothing wrong with a whole top sirloin. Tasty, cost effective but a bit more difficult for some to carve.
They only roast I see the need to net or tie here would be the top round if broken down into smaller pieces. If the OP has never done that before it's a good job for the butcher. For an event like this I would go with either prime rib or tenderloin as long as my budget would allow it.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #7 of 10
I'd have to go with Top Sirloin and , as BDL suggests, cut it down to smaller roast of uniform size (for cook-time sake) If your theme is "Tuscan" remember, Tuscan food is simple, the meat should speak for itself. Rub it with salt, garlic and fresh herbs, roast it perfectly and pour the pan-drippings over the top, Buon Appetito! -but you probably already knew that.

on a side note, a nice salsa verde of parsley, capers, lemon, olive oil and anchovie would go fantastically with that, and will hold at room temp for hours!
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
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nel maiale, tutto e buono!
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post #8 of 10
I was unclear. I said "stick with the luxury primals. The three biggies ... " I didn't mean the three biggies were luxury primals, but instead were cut from two of them. I also talked about four cuts; well, really five if you count the tri-tip.

Those cuts, along with the tenderloin, are pretty much grain free (as opposed to the brisket or tri-tip) and you can cut them however you like.

I didn't suggest bone-in; but perhaps I'm taking your post as a reaction to mine and this isn't meant that way. I'm not a big fan of "slow roasting" per se, instead preferring to start with a hot oven, then reducing to medium/low after 20 minutes. Big roasts do take time, though -- all of them. A big roast of a given cut won't take quite as long as per pound as small roast of the same cut -- but that's getting a little too nuanced for this stage of the advice, isn't it? Anyway she said she doesn't want to deal with a bone-in roast, and I suggested a boned rib-roast as the best alternative.

It's a good idea for a home cook to have the butcher crack the chine and remove the feather bones under almost any circumstances. The only time it's a good idea to tackle it yourself is if your butcher won't do it (say you're buying from a supermarket at a time when the butcher isn't there -- and you forgot to phone ahead).

Well, darn it! There you go.

Too bad, they speak highly of you. Sometimes relationships are just like that.

You got that right, pardner.

Eye of round, ditto. I'd only do tri under limited circumstances -- but I've done a LOT of "California Beef Barbecue (aka "Santa Maria style, "aka CBB" both as a caterer and as a guest. I'm not really sure why I included it at all. Probably because I link Top Sirloin and tri so strongly with CBB. The three things just stick together in my mind, like Athos, Porthos and Santa Maria.

They only roast I see the need to net or tie here would be the top round if broken down into smaller pieces. If the OP has never done that before it's a good job for the butcher. For an event like this I would go with either prime rib or tenderloin as long as my budget would allow it.[/QUOTE] I was trained to tie darn near everything, and feel it's a good idea for all of the roasts discussed except for a bone-in rib (unless the fat cap is removed to season underneath, and replaced before cooking); the NY striploin; and the, oh so dis-respected tri tip. It's a good idea to the point of approaching necessity for any roast likely to flatten as it cooks. In this case, that means the boned out rib, and the tenderloin for sure; and almost certainly the top sirloin -- depending on how it looked and felt when I saw it. I mean, I'm not going to tie a baron. "Netting" is another matter. I know it's a shortcut for butchers who have it lying around; but IMO, if you know how to tie, it's think it's only a good idea for rolled roasts -- and not even then if you do your own tying.

BDL
post #9 of 10

Italianate

To pick up on koukovagia's theme (and because i have no advice on cuts of beef):

I don;t know about tuscan roast beef - it might be self-contradictory. I never had a roast beef (as we know it) in tuscany. But Tuscans who emigrated to the US certainly made plenty of roast beef - as my family did - every sunday.
It was NOT made with rosemary but with sage. Rubbed all over with plenty of black pepper (which is apparently very Tuscan but not used at all much elsewhere in Italy) and sage and garlic, and garlic inserted in places around the meat. Sage with beef, if you never had it, is a surprising treat. And is not overpowering like rosemary (personally i find rosemary makes everything taste the same - pork, beef, lamb, even chicken.)

But what would probably be a more normal Tuscan Christmas meat is capon. Or possibly a veal roasted in a pot with a soffritto of onion, celery, carrot and garlic in butter and oil, then seared, then cooked with some wine or perhaps milk (seething the calf in its own milk?).

But perhaps there are areas of Tuscany where the wonderful Chianina beef is used also for a roast cooked rare, i don;t know. It seems unlikely to me. But then Italian cowboys seemed unlikely and yet, the Maremman "Butteri" beat Buffalo bill in a rodeo back in the day.. . so who knows.

In any case, it's rare (oops sorry) for any italian to take his meat anywhere near pink.

Well, nobody says it has to be authentic - it can't strictly be a Tuscan dinner anyway (since the ingredients are different, the varieties of meat, vegetables, etc) but can well be Tuscanate! Who cares, in the end, if it;s good. I prefer a good, rare roast beef over practically any other meat for a festive dinner. (And don;t the French call practically anything with spinach in it "florentine"? even if it's never made in florence). But try it with a Tuscan twist, sage and black pepper.

And just for a laugh, check out this cartoon (about "Italianate")
"He turns out not to be Italian -- just Italianate." at The Cartoon Bank
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #10 of 10
While Tenderloins, prime rib and NY strips have less grain than a tri-tip or brisket they still have a grain. As you say you can cut them any way you like I just can't imagine why you would want to in this case.



In most cases neither a tenderloin or a boneless rib will "flatten" enough as they cook to worry about. I can understand if you were trained that way and do it out of habit but I can't say I see it as a necessity. Normally I would tie tenderloins, not to keep them from flattening but to keep the temperature even from head to tail. However since the OP wants MW it may not be necessary in this case. If the op had intended to take a boneless prime and remove the eye of fat then I can understand the point of rolling and tying although that's certainly not a route I would go.


Even if I start by caramelizing a prime or a whole top round for 45 minutes after that I still switch to a slow roast. The key to tenderness in larger cuts like this is not only slow roasting but the hold stage. In a perfect world the hold cycle would last several hours in an Alto-Sham.



That sounds incredibly good. Dumas would be proud of his new clique.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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