7 Steps to Make the Perfect Roast
Roasting a perfect cut for family and friends is a satisfying experience, and it's a lot easier than you think.
"Nothing gets jaws on the floor quite like a massive hunk of roast beef."
Here are 7 steps you should always take to make a scrumptious roast beef dinner with the best side dishes! Whether it's a juicy tenderloin roast, a flavor-loaded standing rib roast, or a fast-cooking picanha, your roast beef would be a culinary work of art and the star of the holiday table setting.
1. Fully defrost your roast by removing it from the freezer to the fridge.
There are three usual methods for defrosting meat: The fridge method, thawing in cold water, or in the microwave. Thawing your frozen roast in the refrigerator might feel like forever, but it's the safest method and best for preserving the meat quality. For an estimate, 4 lb roast takes about 24 hours to thaw, while bone-in cuts may take up to 2 days. All roasts can be safely refrigerated for 3 to 5 additional days. Remove it from the fridge an hour before roasting.
According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), it's alright to cook beef without thawing. Still, it would take approximately 50% longer than the recommended time for fully thawed or fresh meat. You also risk an uneven cook when roasting beef that has not been defrosted.
2. Season the roast for at least 40 minutes and up to overnight before cooking.
If you have the time, you should always strive to get your roast seasoned the night before roasting to let the flavor really sink in. The most basic seasoning is rubbing your roast liberally with kosher salt and pepper before setting it on a sheet tray or roasting pan in the fridge. Rubbing your roast with olive oil, herbs, and seasonings is always worth it. Rosemary and thyme are classics, but try coffee, chili, and cinnamon if you're adventurous.
3. Pat-dry the meat with kitchen towels before roasting.
To get that crispy caramelized crust, remove excess moisture from the surface of your roast. It would prevent the oven or grill from steaming up, which would cause soggy crust and dry meat.
4. Sear and brown the surface of your roast.
To get a good, crispy caramelization without overcooking your roast, brown it in an iron skillet (if your roast is less than 4 lb) or blast the oven on high (about 475 F ) for 10-15 mins before lowering the temperature.
It's not really necessary to sear your roast before cooking, but caramelizing the surface gives the cut an incredible depth of flavor, enhanced with the complex layers of nutty caramel and coffee-like bitterness that meat-lovers find delicious.
If you're using a cast-iron skillet or pan, remember to be patient and make sure that it's HOT. For the average home stovetop, it might take up to 10 minutes for the heat to be high enough for the perfect sear. Add fat to the pan before the roast goes in. It increases the surface area of the roast that is receiving direct heat for an even sear. You need a high heating point, so don't use olive oil or butter, which will burn and turn to smoke. Beef tallow (rendered beef fat) or lard (rendered pork fat) are both excellent choices! Remember to place the roast fat side down in the hot pan.
5. Place roast fat side up / bone side down on the rack.
Placing your roast fat side up lets the fat melt and flow down, moistening the meat as it cooks. There are debates on whether the fat would be enough to baste the lean meat as it melts down, but it makes the surface crispier.
Having an extra rack on the bottom of the sheet pan is good practice to ensure even cooking for a beautiful roast. If you have a bone-in rib roast, the rib bones also serve as a roasting rack, so the meat doesn't touch the bottom of the pan while it's cooking.
6. Baste the roast with its own juices.
Do it quickly and close the oven door as fast as possible to prevent lowering the oven temperature.
Basting your roast with its pan juices or even melted butter every 15 to 30 minutes throughout the roasting process helps keep the roast from drying out. Be quick about it as you open and close the oven door to prevent too much heat from escaping the oven. For basting, you can use a large spoon, a bulb baster, or a basting brush.
7. Rest your roast before slicing.
Take your roast from the oven when it's 10 F below your desired temperature. You are looking for an internal temperature of 115 to 120°F for rare and 120 to 125°F for medium-rare. After removing from the oven to rest, its internal temperature would continue to rise, a phenomenon known as "carryover cooking." The larger the cut, the longer its carryover cooking lasts.
Many chefs follow the rule of thumb of resting 1 minute for every 100g of beef. To fully rest a roast takes from 30 minutes upwards to an hour. You can keep it warm by covering loosely with a tent of foil. Resting your beef is essential to let its juices redistribute throughout the meat, and there are so many ways to rest beef.
Ready to cook your own perfect roast? Check out our Ground Pepper Tenderloin Roast recipe for something quick and simple, or the wonderfully-flavored Herb-Roasted Rib Roast recipe, or Rosemary Tenderloin Roast (with Red Wine Prune Sauce) for something different. Try making this butternut squash and farro salad in the Roasted Beef Tenderloin recipe for creative sides that go with your magnificent roast!