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SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Really delicious roast beef?

Asked by SadieMartinPaul (8669 points ) December 14th, 2012

I’ve been happily vegetarian for about 25 years, so I’m a real neophyte about cooking meat. But, I’m having guests for Christmas, and I want to serve them roast beef (I’ll make a lentil dish for myself).

What cut of meat should I buy?

Do you recommend rubbing or pouring anything on the outside of the roast?

How do you do the actual roasting? I’ve tried to research this, but there’s no consensus. Some recipes say to use a low temperature for a long time; others say that this slow-roast method has a rubbery outcome, and that I should use a very high heat.

Please help me, my fellow Flutherers! Thank you.

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14 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

The cut determines how you cook it. The more the muscle is used, the tougher it gets, but it has more flavor. it would need slow cooking over time. A loin would get less use and need less cooking. What cut are you thinking of?

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Wow…you really know what you’re talking about. I had no idea that there are so many options.

I haven’t thought of any beef cuts. I’m not familiar with them, at all, and I don’t even know how to begin.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

If you really want to impress them try a sauerbraten or goulash.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Let me send this to our resident expert on recipes.

WestRiverrat's avatar

How many people do you want to feed with the roast? Are you tied to beef or will pork work as well?

Most of my roasts go into the slow cooker with potatoes, onion, carrots and mushrooms for 4–8 hours. Add a cup of water and a bullion cube and you will have a fair au jus to go with. The au jus can be made into a gravy by adding flour, and seasonings to taste. We usually just use the au jus as is for gravy.

Bellatrix's avatar

I am not an expert on cuts of beef, I do know I hate it when it’s overcooked. Apart from help here speak to a local butcher. Ask around first to see which butchers in your area are well regarded. A good butcher will be able to give you lots of great tips on what to buy and how to cook it and may be able to do some of the preparation for you.

What do you plan to serve with your roast beef?

marinelife's avatar

I have tried both methods and prefer the results from the high heat method. My favorite roast is a rib roast. make sure the rack of bones is still semi-attached (better flavor while roasting).

Kardamom's avatar

Being a vegetarian, I have never made roast beef, but I listen to a great cooking show on the weekends hosted by Melinda Lee and she says that low and slow is the better way to go with roast beef. First you brown it at around 375 degrees, then you lower the heat and continue cooking. You will see that in the recipe below.

My mom has made lots of roast beef and she used to use the higher heat method, until she heard Melinda talking about this other method. The next day, she tried the low and slow method and she said it was the best roast beef she’d ever made.

You will definitely need an Instant Read Meat Thermometer, you stick the probe into the deepest part of the meet without touching the bone to get an accurate reading. Here is Melinda Lee’s Temperature Chart for all sorts of things, including beef which is at the top.

Note that after you remove the meat from the oven, it will need to rest for 10 to 30 minutes depending upon the size of the cut of meat, before you slice it. This allows the juices to be re-absorbed into the meat rather than oozing out onto the platter if you were to cut into it too soon, so allow for both cooking time and resting time.

Here is a fairly simple, classic recipe for Roast Beef using the low and slow method.

Good luck, I can smell it already!

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@WestRiverrat . I’m feeding 3 people with the roast. Two of them are my husband and Mom, who are legally obligated to love me even if Christmas dinner is a fiasco. But, I’m trying to make it wicked good. :-)

No, pork won’t work. Even though I’m planning this meal for Christmas afternoon, everyone who’ll partake is Jewish.

@Bellatrix. I’ll serve a vegan mushroom soup (very “creamy,” but without dairy products). The side dishes for the roast beef will be twice-baked potatoes and citrus carrots. I’m also making cloverleaf rolls. I haven’t decided yet about dessert…maybe an apple crisp.

@Kardamom. Thanks so much! I think I’ll give your recipe a try.

Bellatrix's avatar

When should we arrive? Can we bring anything? :-D

WestRiverrat's avatar

@PaulSadieMartin Then you will want about a 2–3 lb roast. Actually you could get by with about a 1.5 lb roast, but they don’t usually cut them that small. Consider getting sirloin steaks and roasting or baking them instead.

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dawndowd's avatar

Sorry being late to the conversation… just found Fluther.

I usually buy a shoulder roast (eye of the round and top of the round are more tender/fien grained). I chose the shoulder roast because I like the texture and flavor. If you have carnivores visiting who like LOTS of meat, plan ¾ lb per person. Normally ½ lb is more than enough. I don’t rub, marinate or in anyway alter the roast. I put a rack in a pan (cake pan in my case and the rack is actually for poultry… works so I use it). I also put about a ¼” of water in the pan.

PREHEAT the oven to 500°—yup, 500! You ABSOLUTELY CANNOT SKIP THIS! A cold oven start will give you a very different result (yes, I tried).

I have a gas oven and believe I would do this the same way if I had an electric (having learned with gas, I have almost always had gas ovens). I put the rack in the pan, roast in the rack, the pan in the oven and set a timer for 15 minutes. You really need the timer because if you forget this you will have a smoke filled kitchen and a screaming smoke detector if the roast bakes at this temperature for very long. I actually use the rangehood exhaust just in case… my dog HATES the sound of the smoke detector alarm.

When the timer goes off or I smell roasted beef (whichever comes first), I turn the temperature to 175°—some people simply shut the oven totally off—I don’t. Now, you can leave that roast in there TEN hours and it will never cook more done in the middle than medium rare (and it will be medium rare all the way through except for the very edge of the circumference). No fuss, no worry about overcooking and you can have a terrific meal—even if your guests are HOURS late. I am uncertain of the amount of time per pound since I’ve not done it that way. I researched it and read differing thoughts from ½ hr per pound to 1 hour per pound.

By the way, the water in the bottom of the pan is more about the initial 15 minutes so that any fat or juice that isn’t seared into the roast won’t smoke when it hits the pan.

When you finally take the roast out, the outside is usually very dark and looks dry. The inside is perfect, moist and delicious. The only drawback to this method (for me) is that you can’t (or I haven’t tried) cooking potatoes and carrots with the roast—too hot initially and maybe not hot enough in the long-run. You could crockpot them though.

Hope your Christmas roast (and Christmas) were terrific and maybe, if there is a next time, you can give this a try.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Thank you, @dawndowd , and welcome to Fluther.

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