Jolly chatter fills the house. Lights twinkle in the living room. Grandma’s mashed potatoes and herbed prime rib rest in the kitchen. The table brims with familiar décor and flavors. Distant relatives and dear friends all pull up a chair and start passing dishes.

Today, this scene feels like folklore.

This year, in the spirit of safety, a smaller feast will be made and the leaf won’t be added to many tables. December 25, 2020, might mean virtual unwrapping of presents and new traditions.

But the meaty holiday meal—that’s a mainstay.

Savory Experiments” author and mother of two, Jessica Formicola, says she first learned to roast from her mother and now elevates her roasting method with tips from experts.

“Roasting is definitely a technique,” she says.

For the Maryland native it starts with a great cut of meat (she looks for Certified Angus Beef  ® roasts for guaranteed flavor) and choosing the right roast for your needs. A large rib roast traditionally adorns her holiday table, but smaller gathering options, like a strip roast, still feel special.

“Beef is just a little bit of a mystery to people. It’s more complicated than a chicken,” she says. “I think people are worried they will make more mistakes.”

The “Savory Experiments” blogger says the Roast Perfect app takes that burden away.

“I know it can be intimidating to spend a lot of money on a larger cut of beef and worry you are going to ruin it,” Formicola says. “That’s where the Roast Perfect app comes in. You don’t have to feel intimidated or scared about cooking an expensive piece of meat if you’ve got this blueprint there to give you confidence to do it right the first time.”

The app features recipes, cook times, and even helps calculate out how much to buy, depending on the roast and number of people eating.

The pandemic is keeping more people at home and less travel means more time in the kitchen. Zeta Global Data found that 58% of people don’t plan to travel during the holidays this year. Formicola hopes families celebrate holidays with smaller gatherings that allow them to try cuts they may not have attempted before like a tenderloin or prime rib.

“People are realizing that they enjoy cooking again,” she says. “Everything became so readily available that they forgot how much they enjoy cooking for and with their families. And they are experimenting with more recipes—along with that comes experimenting with different cuts of meat.”

A majority of consumers say they would like to learn how to roast beef better, yet lack confidence at the meat counter and don’t know what cuts are best for holiday roasting, according to research from the Certified Angus Beef  ® brand.

Tenderloin, prime rib, top sirloin and strip roasts are great places to start when looking to beef up the holiday dinner table. Butcher’s cuts beyond a sirloin and a chuck roast can now be found at the meat case. Roasts like tri-tip and rib cap can be found in Formicola’s local grocery store and are moving off the shelves. The beef brand also created the Holiday Roasting Survival Guide to help everyone from beginner to seasoned holiday cook roast with confidence.

“There’s something nostalgic about roasting. It smells good. It tastes good. It’s magical. I find roasting satisfying, and there’s a sense of artistry in it,” Formicola says.

She’s planning a Certified Angus Beef ® tenderloin roast for her family holiday meal seasoned with salt, pepper and a few other spices. To get the perfect cook, she recommends a common kitchen gadget.

“Use a thermometer,” she says. “It’s not cheating! Every professional relies on one.”

With just a few simple tools, it’s easy to make holiday magic happen with the perfect roast.