The basic method for cooking roast beef is, of course, roasting. It is not overly complicated to do, despite the fact that many people are afraid of it. With this solid basic guide to cooking roast beef, you can turn out a great dish, each and every time.
Cooking Roast Beef – Getting Started
Most experienced cooks and chefs recommend that you let the meat come to room temperature for about two hours prior to cooking roast beef, whenever possible. Then, set your oven to heat to the appropriate temperature and get your beef ready in its pan; for this you simply need a large enough roasting pan to fit the meat without it touching the sides.
The beef should be up on a rack so it roasts and does not steam. If it has a fat layer that should be placed at the top. If you like, add any seasoning, rubs, or marinades now.
Cooking Roast Beef – What Temperature?
There are basically two camps when it comes to the right temperature for cooking roast beef. The options are:
- Start the roast on a high temperature for about half an hour – 425 F, then reduce to around 350F for the remaining roasting time.
- Or, cook the meat constantly and slowly at a low temperature, usually 325 to 350 F.
Both methods are common and many people have their own opinions, but it is a matter of personal preference and neither is right or wrong. You may choose to try cooking roast beef a couple of times with each method and see which you prefer.
Cooking Roast Beef – When Is It Done?
Cooking roast beef is a bit different than other meats because there is a range of what is considered “done”. How long you cook the meat will depend on what you like. What is definitely recommended is that you have on hand either an instant-read thermometer or a meat thermometer so that you can tell when it has reached your desired doneness without cutting the meat and releasing its juices and drying it out (taking the temperature from the center of the meat, but not hitting any bone).
Follow this guide to determine when your beef is done cooking:
- Rare: 120 to 125 F (120F is a very rare roast); loosely plan 17 minutes per pound.
- Medium-Rare: 130-135 F; loosely plan 20 min per pound.
- Medium: About 145F; loosely plan 24 min per pound.
- Well done: 155-165 F; loosely plan 28 min per pound.
(*Cooking times will vary depending on many factors, including cut and some unknowns, so times given are loose planning guides).
Regardless of level of doneness, when you decide your roast beef is done, remove it from the oven, cover it, and let it stand for 20 minutes before carving. This allows the meat to relax, the juices to release, and makes for a more flavorful, nicely-textured roast.