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Rib Roast or Beef Tenderloin -which do you like better

Help I have offered to cook Christmas Dinner this year. I am not a novice cook and have hosted numerous Thanksgving's at my house but not X-Mas. I am a little nervouse about a 5 rib roast and thought I might try a tenderloin. I am cooking for 10. But my familly is used to the beefy, rare, rich roast. Will I dissapoint them with a tenderloin even dressed to the nines?

Please discuss.

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  1. You're going to spend less per pound, have better big, juicy beef flavor, and a nicer presentation if you do a rib roast. Tenderloin is nice, but frankly I'd be more nervous about cooking a tenderloin that I would be about cooking a rib roast.

    Do not be nervous. A standing rib roast is extremely easy, far easier than a turkey in my opinion. But there is one catch: you MUST have a probe thermometer. Go buy one if you don't have one. All you need to do is spend $20ish on a Pyrex or Polder probe thermometer and you will have an absolutely perfect rib roast, I promise. A probe thermometer will read the temperature of the beef as it cooks and there is zero chance of it overcooking. You say you are not a novice so you know about letting the beef warm to room temp, carry over cooking and at what temp to cook beef until it is perfectly rare... Go for it, if you can turn on an oven and watch a probe thermometer, you can absolutely nail a wonderful rib roast.

    1 Reply
    1. re: HaagenDazs

      2nd the rib roast, more for your money and pretty forgiving as far as cooking goes...if you have managed Thanksgiving a rib roast will be a cake walk!

    2. 3rd Rib Roast, but I recommend going boneless, either way on the bone or boneless, much more flavor than Tenderloin.

      4 Replies
      1. re: bakerboyz

        Naahh - go for bone-in! Tons more flavor and it doesn't add any cooking complications. I would suggest using an elevated rack though, just like a turkey. The bones offer wonderful next day snacking and then can be used for an awesome beef stock. Of course that's just me... to each their own.

        1. re: HaagenDazs

          you mean a roasting pan with a rack in it? Correct.

          1. re: HaagenDazs

            Next day snacking? Not in my family. I get the big 7 bone rib roast for about 20 people. The problem is that everyone fights (politely and with humor) over the bones. Not a single one left at the end of Christmas dinner!

        2. I've had both for Christmas dinner and they both turn out very good. Tenderloin can be a little trickier. I still prefer the bone in rib roast because I love to gnaw on the bones!

          1. If you are at all worried about presentation, use the rib on, have your butcher debone and wrap. I like the flavor better cooked with the bone. I like a tenderloin for a larger group, it carves easier and lends itself to a wider variety of doneness......remember in each case, rub, rub, rubs......

            1. Rib roast. They really are fool proof. If you can roast a turkey or chicken you can do a rib roast. I keep the bones attached, but you can have your butcher cut the bones off and then tie them back on to get the additional flavor. Be sure to save the drippings for the au jus. I always cook it rare then cook peices to order in the jus. Tenderloin is good too, I've done individual beef wellingtons using a tenderloin cut in pieces. I'm sure your family will be happy with whatever you choose.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jcattles

                Sometimes depending on where I'm shopping, you can only get the boneless rib roast, in which case I will create a frankenroast by tying short or back ribs on.

              2. I think tenderloin is completely overrated. I find it bland and think it has a distasteful, somewhat mushy texture. I think rib roast blows tenderloin out of the water.

                5 Replies
                1. re: flourgirl

                  Tenderloin = party food. Nice on a buffet with horseradish/whipped cream sauce.

                  Rib roast = FOOD!

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    But that's the thing - to me, tenderloin is almost tasteless without something poured over it like horseradish or blue cheese cream sauce. But ya know, I know a lot of people really like it. It's just a matter of personal opinion. It just happens to be my least favorite cut.

                    1. re: flourgirl

                      That's why I label it "party food". Most often encountered on buffets at Christmas parties in Nashville, alongside the inevitable Honeybaked ham and baskets of split biscuits. Nobody wants anything really interesting (or difficult) to eat under those circumstances, nothing that'll require sitting down and using utensils.

                      1. re: Will Owen

                        So party food should be tasteless and boring?

                        1. re: flourgirl

                          No, just unchallenging. The parties of which I speak offer comforting, familiar fare that won't interfere with their primary activity, which is ceaseless conversation. Besides, nobody in Nashville considers tenderloin boring, in the same way Christmas trees aren't boring.

                2. I would definitely go for the bone-in prime rib. I've cooked a bone-in rib roast and also a bonless dry aged rib roast using the same recipe and bone-in won hands down for best flavor. The recipe, which I've used several times now comes from Gourmet's big yellow cookbook, and creates an herb rub by grinding up peppercorns, bay leaves, and salt and then mashing the ground ingredients with minced garlic, fresh thyme, and rosemary. The recipe is simple and pretty much failproof if you use a meat thermometer to make sure you cook the roast to the correct temp.

                  1. Its so funny you asked this. After 15 years I was going to make a tenderloin this Christmas for a change instead of a rib roast (I've never cooked a tenderloin). After reading all of these answers I guess I'm going to stick with the herb crusted prime rib roast and yorkshire pudding made from the rendered fat.

                    1. Add me in the column for the rib roast. It has far better flavor and is a bit more traditional for Christmas. I would personally go bone in but that is just a personal preference.

                      The rib roast will actually be easier to cook because it is a bit more forgiving. If you overcook a tenderloin at all it will be dry but the rib roast has a bit more marbling so it can be more forgiving.

                      1. Thanks Chowhounds- Obviously the hands down winner is the rib roast- so be it. Thanks for all you help.

                        Funny thing about me doing Thanksgving. I have never had to cook the turkey. The husband cooks it always on the weber grill! I do all the rest.

                        1. Although I am actually going to prepare a tenderloin done in pastry this year for Christmas, I, too, am in the Rib Roast camp. With the tenderloin, you definitely need a sauce or two to help liven the flavour. I may also add some bacon to the tenderloin for a little extra flavor. Depends on how lean i can find.

                          The sauce I like best is a simple red currant jam, port wine, garlic combo, with some totally minced up onion,celery, carrot, and mushrooms to add some body. It's slightly thickened. (and if the spirit moves me, I might toss in a bit of Savoury)

                          Cooking time for a tenderloin, however is much reduced and rather easy if you have a thermometer. Since it is long and narrow, it cooks much quicker. 425 oven and start checkijng it after about 45 minutes

                          1. In the UK we have a cut known as wing rib, which is sirloin on the bone and is situated at the smaller end of what we know as the fore-rib. I don't know how many ribs count as wing rib so you might need two cuts and it's rather more expensive than fore-rib but it's a beauty for roasting. Actually the fillet (tenderloin) can be left on the other side of the bone for a really special roast, which is like a series of unseparated t-bone steaks.