A roast is a roasted piece of meat big enough to serve more than one person. Roasting is a process of oven-cooking the meat in an uncovered pan to produce moist, juicy, and evenly cooked flesh with a golden brown exterior. Roasting is done with tender pieces of meat or poultry. It is the best way to cook some parts of beef.
This article will discuss how to roast beef. Before proceeding, it is important to know the various cuts of beef (which come from different parts of the cow), and which of these parts can be roasted.
Identifying and Selecting Beef Cuts
Any butcher can explain that the cow is divided into eight original cuts. You should know these cuts because the toughness of the beef will depend on what part of the cow it comes from. Identifying the part will tell you whether the animal muscle was used frequently or not.
The main cuts are:
- Front area: chuck/shoulder;
- Rear area: round/hip;
- Upper center area: rib, short loin (further divided to tenderloin and top loin) and sirloin; and
- Underside: brisket/shank, plate, flank.
Obviously, the cuts near the front area (chuck/shoulder) and back, which are used for movement, will be tougher than the rest of the cow. Cuts from the rib and short loin are tender.
The cuts which are most suitable for roasting include the following:
- Tenderloin roast – lean and tender, the choicest cut, hence, very expensive;
- Rib roast (sometimes called a prime rib roast) – may not be as lean and tender, but they’re just as juicy and have more flavor;
- Rib-eye roast – boneless and low-fat;
- Top loin roast;and
- Top sirloin butt roast – savored for its flavor and firm texture.
The tough sections like the chuck and round/hip are fitted for cooking in liquid for hours, hence the term pot roast. Note that pot roast is different from roast beef.
There are two ways of roasting beef. You can cook the meat at a consistent medium temperature all throughout the roasting process, or begin by putting it in a very hot oven, then lowering the temperature for the rest of the cooking time. The first method reduces shrinking and comes up with a juicy and evenly-cooked roast. The second method gives you a rich brown and juicy roast.
Whichever method you use, start by warming up the roast to room temperature for at least an hour.
Add seasoning of your choice, like salt and pepper, or rub it with a garlic clove.
Put the meat on a wire rack in a shallow roasting pan and set in the oven. Keep the fat layer on top, if there is any.
Set the timer according to the cut of meat that you are roasting. There are also other factors that determine length of cooking time, such as size and shape of the meat, how much fat and bone there is, and how the meat was aged. You can consult with cookbooks, but experience will be your best teacher.
Use a meat thermometer for the whole duration of cooking, and measure at the center of the roast. The following are the temperatures for different roasts:Rare at 120°F to 125°F, (49°C to 52°C); Medium rare at 130°F to 140°F (55°C to 60°C); Medium at 145°F to 150°F (63°C to 66°C); and Well done at 155°F to 165°F (68°C to 74°C).
When your roast is cooked according to your preference, take it out of the oven. Let it rest for 15-20 minutes so that the juices will be evenly distributed. This will make carving easier.