The best cuts for roasting beef and tips on how to cook it

Want to cook a joint of beef for a dinner party or special occasion? Whether you like it rare, medium or well done, our easy-to-follow guide explains the best cuts for roasting beef, plus tips on how to cook it to perfection. Find recipe links at the bottom of the page, too.

Check out our advice to help you get the most out of a beef joint.

The best cuts for roasting beef and tips on how to cook it

What’s the difference between cuts of beef?

Fore ribs

One of the prime roasting cuts because the main lean muscle is nicely marbled and the whole joint is covered with a natural layer of fat. It is usually roasted on the bone. However, it is important to ask your butcher to chine the backbone for you, i.e. saw through the bones to semi-detach the backbone from the ribs. This makes carving easier.

Rib of beef with red wine sauce



Can be roasted on the bone, but because of its size it is commonly boned and rolled, enabling the butcher to prepare smaller joints. Sirloin carries less fat than the rib and is very tender, so it is one of the more expensive cuts.

Beef sirloin with oyster mushrooms, Bordelaise sauce and whipped potatoes


Topside, silverside and top rump

These three prime cuts are all fantastic for roasting, as they are very tender and can be carved into large lean slices. However, because the muscles used for these cuts carry less marbling, they are usually sold ‘barded’.

This means that thin sheets of fat, usually taken from the flank of the same animal, are wrapped around the outside of the rolled muscle then tied in place with string to produce a neat, cylindrical joint.

Roast topside of beef with roasties and gravy



This lean cut of beef can be roasted in one piece but benefits from the addition of bacon or some ‘barding’ fat to stop it drying out during roasting. Used to make the classic dish, beef Wellington.

Beef fillet with sherry vinegar and shallot jus


Tips for roasting beef

  • Let the meat come to room temperature before you cook it.
  • Roast the beef at  a high temperature (240°C/fan 220°C/gas 9, or as high as your oven will go) for about 15 minutes to get the heat through to the centre of the joint. Then reduce the temperature to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5 and continue to roast for 12-13 minutes per 500g for rare, 17-18 minutes per 500g for medium, or 22-24 minutes per 500g for well done.
  • Rest the meat before carving. This allows the meat fibres – which contract in the oven – to relax again, so the meat will be more tender.

Now it’s time to do it yourself! Have a look at these recipes using different cuts of beef:

Fore rib

Thyme-roasted rib of beef with red wine gravy

Rib of beef with porcini, tarragon and port gravy


Chargrilled rare sirloin of beef


Slow-roast beef with a pepper and rosemary crust

Pangrattato-topped beef


Roast beef and fresh tomato rigatoni

Pink peppercorn-rubbed rump cap of beef


Fillet of beef with chilli, lemon and cumin rub

Roast beef fillet with a horseradish crust

And the last word from us, take a look at our Sunday lunch menus, which include a traditional roast beef option as a main course, with a sweet potato soup as a starter, and bread and butter pudding for afters.

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