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Magnificent Roasts 101

All of these impressive cuts of meat are available at better supermarkets and butcher shops, but they may have to be ordered in advance.

Standing rib roast

Although you can buy boneless rib-eye roasts, the bones make for a more spectacular presentation (and they're great to gnaw on). Buy the best grade of beef you can afford. USDA Choice has more flavor than USDA Select; USDA Prime is even more flavorful and tender. It’s hard to find and expensive! But worth it.

Leg of pork

If you can deal with its size (around 20 pounds), look for a leg with the skin attached to the lower two-thirds. The fat should be creamy-white, the bone moist and the meat pale pink?never pale gray. Leg of pork is often available only during the holidays, even if special-ordered.

Rack of veal

Make sure you're buying formula-fed veal and not “newborn calf” or “Bob veal.” The meat should be pale pink to reddish-pink, with white to ivory fat. Good brands are Provimi (Blue Delft brand), Plume de Veau and Dutch Valley. Range-fed veal is darker than formula-fed; the fat may be slightly yellow. The flavor is different from that of formula-fed veal, but quite good; however, since the meat can dry out, don’t cook it beyond medium rare.

Published December 2000
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