Roast beef is a family favourite, and one of the simplest and tastiest ways to prepare beef. All it requires is picking your beef, seasoning it and letting the oven do the hard work. While the simplicity of this recipe makes it reasonably foolproof there are a few tips that will help you make the perfect roast dinner.
This dish is very versatile when it comes to the cut of beef you can use. But remember, you can always ask your butcher for a recommendation if you’re not sure.
The most popular cuts for a roast include ribeye (also known as scotch fillet), rump, topside and sirloin (also known as porterhouse).
Ribeye is a section of the rib roast that is cut prior to being cooked, and a boneless ribeye roast is a popular choice when it comes to Sunday roast. It is very marbled and as such is full of flavour and tenderness.
While many beef roasts do not need to be trussed or netted, this cut will benefit from it. Tying the meat using individual pieces of string in 4-5 cm intervals will create a compact shape allowing even cooking and slicing. You can also tuck herbs into the string for added flavour – try rosemary or thyme.
Ensure the silverskin has been removed before cooking, otherwise this thin membrane will shrink during cooking and the meat will curl up.
Rump is often bought as a steak, but when left whole it can be roasted. It is a boneless piece of beef from the well-exercised hindquarter of the animal, contains high amounts of collagen and connective tissue, and generally doesn’t have a lot of marbling. This means when cooked incorrectly it can be tough and chewy.
Slow roasting a piece of rump is one of the best ways to turn this cut into a flavorful, juicy and tender piece of meat
While roasts usually steer towards tender cuts of beef, if cooked on a low heat over a longer period of time the collagen and connective tissue of the rump cut will melt, increasing the tenderness.
Other key elements to the perfect rump roast is browning the meat in a frying pan before placing in the oven fat side up, and when serving keep the slices thin.
A topside roast is extremely lean and has a lot of connective tissue as it comes from the inner thigh muscles of the hind leg. This cut is best roasted as a whole joint and is usually on the cheaper side of your roast choices. It can have a slightly tougher texture but it is still flavour-packed.
You may like to season this cut and sear it in a hot pan before cooking for a delicious and crisp exterior coating.
Sirloin is from the large part of the T-bone area. It is full of taste and flavour, and is a great choice for a roast.
While this is on the medium to higher end of roast pricing options, it is a great choice to give you a tender piece of meat while being friendly to your wallet.
When selecting your sirloin, look for a top cut as this will be the most tender, and make sure you brown the meat before placing in the oven.
Choosing your cut
Aim for a marbled piece of beef with a nice outer layer of fat. And while some of these cuts can come with the bone still in them, remember that they may be cheaper but you’re paying for the weight of the bone, and therefore less meat.
What else do you need to know?
- For a tender texture and even cooking, leave the beef out of the fridge to reach room temperature before cooking in the oven.
- Cooking the roast lifted out of the pan on a roasting rack improves air flow and will result in more even browning.
- Place the beef fat side up.
- If netted or tied, leave this on until after the meat has been cooked and rested. This will help the meat keep its shape and look more impressive when you carve.
- Use a meat thermometer to ensure the roast is cooked to perfection. Make sure you insert the probe into the centre of the cut and avoid hitting the bone for the most accurate reading.
- Before serving, remove the roast from the pan and rest the beef for 15 to 20 minutes loosely wrapped in aluminium foil. This will allow the juices to redistribute and lets the meat fibres, which contract during the cook, relax for ultimate tenderness.
- Always carve against the grain to break down and shorten the muscle fibres for a tender dish.
Keeping this all in mind, it’s time to get cooking. Check out a classic roast beef recipe here.