Battle of the Beef: Tenderloin vs. Rib Roast


Roasted Beef Tenderloin

“Help!” It’s a popular phrase this time of year, especially when holiday meal plans are in their final stages. In the era of pop-up timers and guidelines aplenty beamed right to your palm, turkeys are easier to cook than ever these days. But when it comes to beef, especially centerpiece cuts like Prime Rib Roasts and Tenderloin, the instructions are rarely written on the package. Each of these fantastic beef cuts have their own attributes, so we’re going to do a bit of a beef exploration that will hopefully give you the info you need to make everyone’s Christmas wishes come true (at least at the table). And remember, all the beef at Whole Foods Market® stores comes from cattle certified to Global Animal Partnership’s (GAP) 5-Step™ Animal Welfare Rating Program. opens in a new tab


This cut lives up to its name! Its tenderness comes from the fact that it is on the interior of the cavity and used very little.  During aging, the tenderloin is stretched when the beef is hung upside down; this adds tenderness as well.  Tenderloins are also very lean, which can be an asset or liability, depending on your palate.  Fat is generally where beef derives that well known succulent flavor.  Commonly bacon is added to filet mignon for this reason. But tenderloin is a forgiving roast as the tenderness will hold despite level of doneness.  When purchasing, allow for ¾ pound per person. This recipe for Roasted Beef Tenderloin opens in a new tab is fit for any holiday celebration.

Rib Roast

Typically loaded with marbling, most butchers consider this cut the most flavorful. Rib Roast comes from the rib portion and the loin and can be served boneless although it is most commonly served on the bone to maintain flavor.  You can order by the rib, with one rib feeding about two people, or about 2 lbs.  Try the “cut and tie” method: the ribs are cut away, or hinged, and then tied back on to the boneless portion for roasting.  Once the roast is finished cooking, the ribs can be easily removed to reveal a nice, easy-to-carve boneless roast that still has rich bone flavor cooked in.  Or, ask your butcher to “cradle” your rib roast, which creates a cavity for stuffing or aromatics. Try this tasty recipe for Standing Rib Roast with Caramelized Onions opens in a new tab, or the popular Herbed Prime Rib Roast opens in a new tab.

The Battle of the Beef rages on! Remember to consult your butcher and don’t forget that “lean may be keen, but fat’s where it’s at.” What cut will you choose for your holiday party?

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