Best Roast Beef: The 7 Best for a Savory Sandwich

The best roast beef is savory, juicy, meaty, and tender. It should be highly stackable and not too thick. Good roast beef is complex but maintains a simple, organic meat flavor that inspires and delights. Ideally, we don’t want the meatiness to be overpowered by an excessive amount of salt and seasonings, either. Give us straightforward beef with just the right alchemy of seasoning. 

Good roast beef is hard to come by, and even harder to find at the grocery store. So, for this taste test, we decided to include nationally available, sliced-to-order deli meats as well as prepackaged meats. The butcher is your friend, and the briskets they have at the deli are the closest you’ll get to the good stuff. We judged the roast beef on quality, first and foremost. Most deli roast beef is made from the top round, but occasionally you’ll see roast beef made from the rib roast, bottom round roast, or even the tri-tip or strip-loin. Regardless of the cut, the roast beef should have a steak-like quality, while still being somewhat processed like a deli meat. Still, we don’t want a homogeneous, mystery meat aesthetic. It should feel natural and taste flavorful. What grocery store deli roast beef achieves these high standards? Check out the list.

The following article contains affiliate links that may generate a small commission to us when you make a purchase through the link. Learn more about how we work with affiliates here.


best roast beef london broil

Best of the Best

Primo Taglio London Broil 

I can say with confidence that I prefer Primo Taglio to Boar’s Head. This London broil roast beef (which is literally broiled and cut against the grain in thin slices) is so damn flavorful and meaty compared to other products. It has a nice layer of fat, too, which I appreciate in a roast beef; it makes it feel like the slices were cut from a real quality piece of meat. Primo Taglio London Broil roast beef also has a nice peppery kick to it. When determining the best roast beef, this really hits everything I want: savory, seasoned, with a quality, organic, meaty texture and vibe. It’s a simple thing, but the best roast beef really just needs to taste like beef, and Primo Taglio’s London Broil nails it.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Vons

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

best boar's head roast beef

Best Boar’s Head

Boar’s Head Deluxe 

Oooooh wee, this is rare. This roast beef has a carnal, reddish hue like someone sliced it directly from a prime rib at a carving station. And although the fat cap has been removed, there is still some good fat marbled throughout the meat. Boar’s Head Deluxe roast beef is cooked with garlic and herbs, and it feels lower on the sodium scale. Personally, I love the absence of salt in this meat, as you really get to savor the pure, beefy flavor. Pricey per pound, but man, it’s worth it. My mouth is salivating all over again while writing this, and while it could just be that I’m hungover, Boar’s Head just makes really good shit.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

best deli roast beef

Best for Dinner

Boar’s Head London Broil 

Here’s another London broil with a really great texture that feels natural. This roast beef has a lot of pepper and spices to it. Boar’s Head London Broil roast beef is dinner roast beef. It would do well on a plate with some mashed potatoes. It’s just got such a great flavor and texture that you can eat it all on its own, hopefully with some jus and gravy. You could argue that the best roast beef would make a good sandwich and a good entree. But this one is so good it deserves to be enjoyed like a homemade roast. 

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Instacart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best roast beef for a french dip

Best for a French Dip

Applegate Organics Roast Beef 

This had the strongest beef flavor of the meats we tried. It’s really thin and has a sort of fragile, breakable texture that feels natural. What horrifies me is the wound up, homogeneous roast beef that’s just too neatly formed. This, though, has character. It strikes me as the type of thing that would go great in a French dip—amazing natural beef flavor, a delightful texture, and a salty, meaty taste. Heat this up and put it into some crusty bread to maximize the experience. I will say, it slips on this list because it is quite wet, and is thus making me say the phrase “wet meat” aloud in my head. Not cool, Applegate. 

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Amazon

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

best roast beef

Best Snack

Castlewood Reserve Angus Seasoned Roast Beef

This was the first roast beef I tried in the taste test and it set a wonderful standard. Castlewood Reserve (sounds like top-shelf alcohol) is juicy, well seasoned, and possesses excellent flavor. It’s definitely smoky and almost a little sweet, too. The way it’s seasoned and formed, it kind of reminds me of a cured ham like capicola or salami. The roast beef comes rolled in these neat little tubes that look like little meat appetizers. Castlewood Reserve is beefy and flavorful, but it’s just not as high quality as most deli cut roast beef. 

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Instacart

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

best texture roast beef

Best Texture

Trader Joe’s Seasoned Roast Beef

Trader Joe’s roast beef has a great, natural texture that makes you feel like this came directly from an animal and not a dubious processing plant. This absolutely had my favorite texture of the roast beef we tried. The meat is also just so damn juicy, almost like the brisket itself was brined, resulting in a burst of incredible seasoned flavor. It’s sliced really thin, too, so you can  pile it sky high in a sandwich. Personally, I like many slices of thin deli meat as opposed to a few thick slabs—thin slices of meat are more flavorful. It ensures tenderness, and it also means there’s more air around the meat in a sandwich, which I believe allows you to experience the taste better. There’s a reason all the great delis serve their sandwiches this way. Good on Trader Joe’s for providing a quality product.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Trader Joe’s

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

best roast beef

Best Funky Flavor

Columbus Seasoned Roast Beef

One thing I’m finding through all of these meat taste tests (check out our best deli turkey ranking and our best deli ham ranking) is that Columbus’ products have a noticeable funk to them. There’s a fat cap around this roast beef, so there is good fat flavor. But  the flavor is just so distinct and interesting. This roast beef is very salty, maybe even egregiously so, but there’s a tangy, pickled flavor as well. It’s odd, funky, and kind of has that “old world” flavor you get from a lot of vinegar. I like it, but it’s not for everybody. It’s decidedly not the best roast beef, but it definitely has the most distinct flavor of the beef on this list.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Instacart

Rating:

6.5/10

Sporks

Other products we tried: Whole Foods Seasoned, Member’s Mark, Good & Gather Ultra Thin, Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh, Dietz & Watson London Broil, Hillshire Farm, Great Value, Kroger, Boar’s Head Low Sodium, Private Selection Angus.

Find the best foods at home and share with us using #SporkedTasteTest for a chance to be featured on our social pages!


About the Author

Danny Palumbo

Danny is a comedian, cook, and food writer living in Los Angeles. He loves gas station eggs, canned sardines, and Easter candy. He also passionately believes that all the best chips come from Pennsylvania (Herr's!). If you can't understand Danny when he talks, it's because he's from Pittsburgh.

Thoughts? Questions? Complete disagreement? Leave a comment!

Your thoughts.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *