Choose the right meat this Christmas.
Choose the right meat this Christmas.

Here’s how to choose the perfect cut for a great roast

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Dec 12, 2018

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Choosing the right cut of roast meat is almost as hard deciding how to cook it. What to pick? What to do with it?

We spoke to executive chef at The Oyster Box, Kevin Joseph and chef patron at 9th Avenue Bistro, Graham Neilsen on how to choose the perfect cut of meat.


Firstly, decide what type of meat you would like to roast and consider the length of time it will take to cook.

Do your best to try and source your meat from an organic, grass fed and hormone free supplier.

Ensure you have a meat thermometer thus resulting in the perfect temperature.

Look through a number of recipes to ensure you have the correct cooking time and always serve your roast with a flavourful sauce, preferably made from the roast drippings.

Meat-thermometer for perfect temperature.


Decide what you want to roast and how many you are cooking for. 

I think it is best to stick with one cut of meat to roast and to do it perfectly, rather than to try and get a whole range of different roasts right. 

You can go to town with all the sides.

How many people are you cooking for and how much oven space do you have? 

It's no use buying two turkeys if your oven barely fits one. 

Maybe use your oven in the kitchen to cook your potatoes, vegetables and stuffing and fire up the braai to do your roast.

Visit your butcher ahead of time and place an order, rather than a supermarket. 

It's always better to know where your meat is going to come from to get the best possible quality. 

If it's a lamb shoulder or a leg, you can ask your butcher to tie it evenly for you. 

If you want a beef fore-rib then ask him to remove the plate and trim the bones for you (keep the bones for your gravy). 

Your butcher can also help advise you on cooking times for various cuts. 

If you are really organised, see if the butcher can dry age your beef for a while for you. 

You could also look in the local farmers' markets for local Midlands free-range duck. 

Good fatty ducks make a wonderful roasted treat. 

If you're going to cook a turkey, make sure to get lots of great streaky bacon to wrap it with.

Don't buy anything that has been pre-marinated if you can help it. 

Make your own marinade or rub and liberally apply (store marinades are often loaded with sugar and other nasty things). 

Keep the marinade or rub simple, if you've gone to the trouble of buying a great piece of meat then a couple of herbs and spices will do the trick.

If you're cooking turkey or chicken then drop it into a brine for an hour or two before cooking.

Fat is your friend! Animal fat is amazing and healthy plus it's delicious. 

The fattier your cut of meat is the better your roast will taste and more forgiving if you overcook it. 

Keep all the fat from your roast to cook your potatoes and root vegetables. Let's celebrate fat this Christmas.

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