Too tough, overcooked, too burnt or too rare… making a perfect roast requires practice. You can’t peek inside, cooking time depends on many variables (including the shape of the roast) and using a lot of butter can be unhealthy. Here are a few general rules.
- Selecting the meat: marbled and lean cuts make the best roasts: tenderloin, rib, beef sirloin, brisket, loin or veal shoulder.
- Avoid thermal shock: take the roast out of the refrigerator at least one hour prior to cooking, or even two hours ahead if the cut is large.
- Calculate the cooking time based on the shape of the roast: weighing the roast is essential for calculating the cooking time. However, remember that cooking time also depends on the oven and on the shape of the cut, and not just on the weight and temperature.
- Conventional or convection oven: if the cut is very lean and tender, you can use a convection oven; cuts that have more cartilage and tissue should be roasted at low temperature in a conventional oven – and covered for half the cooking time.
- Sear the roast: for tied roasts with little or no fat, sear the roast on all sides in a skillet to reserve the juices before slipping it into the oven.
- Oil, not butter: while roasting, use a brush to baste the meat or it will dry out. Use extra-virgin olive oil for roasting at high temperature. Use butter only if roasting at lower temperatures.
- Resting is essential: when the roast is done, take the roasting pan out of the oven, cover the roast with foil and let it rest 5-10 minutes, depending on the size. The juices must be reabsorbed if you want a tender and juicy roast.
Image credit Danie van der Merwe