What’s The Difference: Roast Beef (Litson Baka) Vs. Pot Roast

These two delicious beef dishes are different in some ways.

You are probably curious about the latest food trend: the litson baka. Also known as roast beef, this beef is commonly either cooked over hot coals or fire or in an oven. This needs hours of cooking to result in tender and juicy beef slices. That’s because roast beef is still beef, and unless you are already using a cut of beef that is tender, time is needed to tenderize the beef. “No” to chewy tough beef, please! 

You may not know it but there is another kind of beef dish that is similar to roast beef but doesn’t require an oven, is more affordable, and uses any kind of beef cut. This is known as pot roast. This is how these two beef dishes are different from one another: 

1 Either dish can be made from any large beef cut but pot roast commonly uses the tougher beef cuts. 

It’s true that roast beef and pot roast can be made from any beef cut. For roast beef, it is commonly a more tender choice of beef cut that is used. This means more prime beef cuts and even the tenderloin can be made into roast beef.

The pot roast meanwhile can be made with prime beef cuts too. In general, tougher cuts of beef are made into pot roast. This means, of the two beef dishes, the pot roast is the more affordable dish that is made more often than the roast beef.  

Photo by Miguel Nacianceno

2 Roast beef is roasted, dry usually, in an oven. Pot roast is seared and braised on the stove. 

The biggest difference between the two dishes has to be the way each dish is prepared and cooked. As each name suggests, the two dishes are cooked differently. The roast beef is roasted in the oven so the browning of the beef is done in the oven. It can also be roasted over an open flame or over hot coals or charcoal on a grill. The beef is charred on the outside, and you’ll find that it’s often treated like barbecue. It can be dry-rubbed with a range of dry spices, herbs, and seasonings to make the beef super flavorful. It roasts in its oven juices and basted to keep it moist and prevent it from becoming dry before it’s cooked through just right. 


The pot roast is literally cooked in a pot. This is where your cast iron Dutch oven comes in handy since it can handle the long cooking process well. It needs to be seared on the stove before being left to tenderize. This results in a more flavorful dish than one that wasn’t seared. It is cooked to tender perfection on the stove but it can be placed in the oven too. This may take hours of cooking to transform the beef into tender bites. The good news is that there are kitchen appliances that help speed this long cooking process. You can cook the pot roast in a pressure cooker, multi cooker, instant pot, or slow cooker

This means that the pot roast is braised in some liquid instead of dry roasted like the roast beef. This results in a beef dish that creates its own gravy at the same time. 

Photo by Jun Pinzon

3 Roast beef cooks faster and slices easier. Pot roast is cooked for longer but is tender enough to shred.  

The way that these two beef dishes are made also determines how these two dishes are served. Roast beef can be sliced since it doesn’t require as much time cooking as the pot roast. Since the beef is already tender and just needs to be cooked and roast to give it optimum flavor, the cooking time is much less. 


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The pot roast uses tougher beef cuts so a longer cooking time is necessary to get it to the same level of tenderness as the roast beef. Some liquid is needed to ensure that the beef is neither dry nor burnt in the pot. All the kitchen appliances—the pressure cooker, multicooker, slow cooker, and instant pot—all need a liquid added to the pot to make it cook efficiently. This is why it’s common to see pot roast shredded instead of sliced since it can be cooked to such tenderness that it is quite literally fall-apart tender. Plus, that ready-made gravy ensures that your beef dish is flavorful and is the perfect accompaniment to your mashed potatoes or rice. 


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