Choosing a roast can be frustrating as you browse the beef section at the supermarket. There are different cuts with various names and price tags, and it can be difficult to choose the right one. The first step to comparing beef roasts is to know the general difference between them. Some are inexpensive but probably need to be slow-cooked for tenderness, while others are expensive but will do well on the grill.

Chuck Roast

Chuck roasts are cut from the neck, shoulder or arm and are economical, as well as flavorful. They can also be fatty and tough if not cooked properly. Braising is a good method for this roast or any type of slow-cooking. Common cuts of chuck roast include shoulder roast, top blade roast, cross rib roast, arm roast and 7-bone pot roast.

Round Roast

Round roast can refer to three types of roast: bottom round, top or eye. These cuts are inexpensive and lean, but not necessarily tender. The bottom round roast is the outside muscle of the upper leg and can be a tough cut if overcooked. The top round roast is also called a top round steak or London broil. The eye round roast is a boneless cut. Most round roasts need to be slow-cooked in moisture to tenderize.

Rib Roast

Beef from the rib section tends to be flavorful, tender and juicy. It is also more expensive than the average chuck or round roast. There are various types of rib roasts, including the standing rib roast, which contains several ribs and stands while cooking. You can also purchase prime rib roast, which is well-marbled with fat, very tender and somewhat expensive.


Roasts from the loin area are either in the short loin or sirloin categories. Short loin cuts are the most expensive cuts, as well as the most tender. Short loin cuts refer to top loin roast or tenderloin roast. Sirloin cuts are less expensive and not as tender, but still tasty and perform well when grilled slowly. Sirloin roasts include bottom butt, top butt and tri-tip roasts.