Roast beef is a family staple. It’s the stuff of Sunday lunches and conversation. It’s more than just a meal, it’s home in action. So, it’s important that when we roast beef – we do it right. So, we’ve spent a ton of time and talked to a ton of kitchen experts to come up with the right approach to cooking roast beef.
How To Choose The Right Cut Of Meat For Roast Beef
You can’t make a great roast without a great cut of meat. It is fair to say that you can roast almost any part of a cow but the best cuts for a roast dinner include round, sirloin, tenderloin, top sirloin, short loin, and rib.
While most of these joints come without bone – the rib roast should include bone and you ought to roast it on the bone; it tastes better that way. Don’t worry, it doesn’t make it any harder to carve when it’s cooked.
You shouldn’t be afraid of fat on a beef joint but you don’t need to get hung up on visible marbling – the fat that brings the flavor is actually nearly invisible and trapped in the main fibers of the cut.
Bright red beef is a no-no and a good reason to buy from a butcher, not a supermarket. It’s an indicator that the beef has been stored in a place with no oxygen available (the only exception to this is if the joint has just been cut).
The ideal beef joint should be dry to the touch and ideally, it should have a slightly sweet aroma.
Don’t be afraid to get your butcher to offer their recommendations on a joint and ask them to explain why they’re recommending it. That way you’ll be able to make more informed decisions when it comes to buying your beef.
How To Prepare Your Roast Beef For The Oven
I prefer to let the joint come back to room temperature before I cook it; so, take it out of the fridge, if necessary, and leave it for about 40 minutes. Keep it covered to ensure that it doesn’t get contaminated.
Once the joint is at room temperature, it’s worth turning the oven on and pre-heating it for your beef. We found that 375 degrees Fahrenheit was the perfect starting temperature for a roast, though we do drop it down to about 250 at the end of the cooking process.
Then it’s time to season and prepare the roast itself. This is a pretty easy process because you’re not looking to do very much. We like to advocate olive oil for basting the meat and you can slather it on until the whole surface of the joint has some oil on it. Then it’s time for salt and pepper – don’t hold back and, if possible, use Himalayan Rock Salt and a good quality black pepper.
Finally, we like to add a few herbs to the mix and this is really a matter of taste. There are classic options such as basil, bay leaves, rosemary, sage, and thyme. There are also more “out there” choices which work well too such as garlic powder, cumin, curry powder, and dry mustard powder.
We prefer a mix of basil and sage, but this is entirely up to your tastes. Experiment a little and you should be able to find something that suits your family perfectly.
How To Cook Your Roast Beef To Perfection
Our objective is to have a pink and juicy center to the roast beef when it’s cooked. However, we do know that there are a few people out there who prefer their beef “more cooked” (not better cooked, just more cooked). If that’s you, then don’t be afraid to cook for a little longer.
We suggest that you give an “overall cooking suggested time” by allowing for 20 minutes in the oven followed by 15 minutes per pound of beef. (Add 15-30 minutes for better done).
However, you’re going to turn the heat down from 375 to 250 halfway through and to ensure your beef is cooked through, we recommend that you use a digital thermometer and when the center of the thickest part of the beef reaches 135 degrees Fahrenheit, you can remove it from the oven.
Don’t start carving it at this point. Place the roast on a rack with a tray underneath (for the juices to drain into) and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. During this time, the internal temperature should rise by up to another 10 degrees.
How To Cut And Serve Your Roast Beef
A lot of people find themselves in a bit of a panic when they slice their roast beef for the first time. What do you do? Which way do you go?
Well, it’s actually very easy – you need to slice against the grain of the beef. What’s the grain? Look at the surface of the beef and you’ll see a series of long grooves that run in parallel over the surface of the roast. That’s the grain. You want to slice across it (so that a piece has lots of grooves running through it) and not along it (so that a piece has a single groove).
Why? Because the grain is essentially an individual muscle fiber. When you slice across it – you break up these fibers and the meat is easy to eat. When you slice along it – you get a single fiber in a slice and this is tougher and less pleasant to eat.
There’s nothing so tasty as roast beef and, fortunately, there’s nothing as easy to prepare, cook and serve as roast beef too. It’s one of those meals that everyone can learn to cook in minutes.
We like to serve our roast beef with traditional trimmings; roast potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and sweetcorn to add color and fiber, gravy and either mustard or horseradish sauce. We also like to cook enough that there’s some left over for sandwiches and other meals during the week.