Delicious alternatives to the usual cuts, with menus to match
Tri-tip for Christmas? Yes—this wintertime take on the barbecue classic is elegantly Mediterranean.
Recipe: Garlic-Rubbed Tri-Tip with Mint Caper Salsa
Tracy Smaciarz, who owns Heritage Meats in Rochester, Washington, cold-smokes this cut, then grills it over indirect heat.
You can get a similar effect by oven-smoking the roast with wood chips and onions.
Recipe: Oven-Smoked Chuck-Eye with Horseradish Cream
Celery Fennel Salad with Preserved Lemon and Dates
If you can’t find preserved lemons to buy, they’re easy to make.
Recipe: Celery Fennel Salad with Preserved Lemon and Dates
Use popover pans for higher, airier popovers. (Muffin pans work too, but leave every other cup unfilled so heat circulates.)
Recipe: White Cheddar–Sage Popovers
Cheaper cuts like pork shoulder (pictured) are usually used for homey stews, not elegant roasts.
The common wisdom is to braise harder- working parts of the animal―cook them for a long time in liquid, covered, until the meat is falling apart.
But it turns out they can make attractive and succulent roasts, once you know a few less-conventional cooking techniques.
...Instead of Pork Crown Roast for $44.
Stuffing this roast with figs and garlic slivers will make you feel like a modern-day Julia Child, and the results are stunning: mosaic-like slices infused with rich fruit and wine flavors.
...Instead of prime rib for $75.
Chinese orange-peel beef was the inspiration for this roast.
...Instead of rack of lamb for $45.
For this recipe, slather the meat with an aromatic herb and garlic oil, then roast with lots more garlic to season the velvety pan gravy.
The unsung cuts: Cross-rib roast and chuck roast (aka good old pot roast) come from the chuck, an area between the shoulder and neck.
The secrets: Brown in a hot oven, then reduce the heat and don’t cook past medium-rare. (Any more and the meat will get tough.)
The unsung cuts: Leg is widely available, but shoulder, if your butcher carries it, is a great find. It has loads of flavor, is more tender, and carves more neatly.
The secrets: Like the beef, start it in a hot oven, then reduce the heat until you reach rare to medium-rare.
The unsung cut: Shoulder is a succulent hunk of meat.
The secrets: This cut tends to fall apart (it’s popular shredded for carnitas), so for a roast, tie the meat to prevent that. Brown it in a frying pan, then braise slowly (common wisdom holds here) until tender.