Michael Elfwing – Executive Chef at Conrad Hotels & Resorts

Roast beef is one of those classic family dinners that warms you up from the inside out.

The beauty of a good roast is that it can be prepared with a variety of cuts, from prime rib to rump cap.

How long does it take to cook a roast beef?

The total cooking time depends on the weight of the meat. To cook rare, allow 15-20 minutes per 500g of meat. To cook medium allow 20-25 minutes per 500g of meat. To cook well done allow 25-30 minutes per 500g of meat. Use a leave-in meat thermometer for the perfect roast – try this one.

In this recipe, Executive Chef Michael Elfwing walks us through the basic steps to ensure a perfectly cooked roast beef.

Serves 4



  • 1 x beef rump roast, netted, approx 2-3kg


Step 1

Preheat oven to 200°C. Place beef on a rack in a roasting pan. Pour a little water in the bottom of the pan to stop any juices from burning during cooking. If you have a leave-in meat thermometer, insert it into the thickest part of the roast.

Step 2

Cook for the estimated time as outlined below, basting with pan juices throughout cooking. As the water evaporates, add more to the pan.

Step 3

Check the internal temperature of the roast with the meat thermometer. The roast is cooked to:

  • rare when the temperature reaches 45-50°C
  • medium when the temperature reaches 60-65°C
  • well-done at 70-75°C.

Alternatively, you can test to see if the roast is cooked to your liking by doing the squeeze test – using a pair of tongs, squeeze the beef. Rare feels soft; medium has a little resistance; well done feels quite firm. It’s best not to insert a skewer when testing to see if meat is done as it allows the juices, which keep the meat tender and tasty, to escape.

Step 4

Remove the roast from pan and cover loosely with foil. Allow to rest for about 15-20 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to settle. Well-rested meat won’t lose any juices onto the plate.

Step 5

For the most tender slices of meat, carve the roast across the grain. Holding the roast with tongs rather than a fork will prevent the juices escaping. Serve with roasted vegetables and a homemade jus.