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How to Cook Beef to Perfection

Cooking beef might seem like a daunting task when there are so many cuts available and everyone has a different opinion on how well they like it to be done.

One thing most people can agree on though is that beef that is cooked to perfection and melts in your mouth is delicious and the only way to enjoy it.

If you’re cooking beef for the first time or would like some guidance on how to perfect your beef cooking skills, then please read on and see our tips to ensure you get a delicious beef roast every single time.

Which cut is best for roasting beef?

Choosing the best cut of beef for roasting is all down to personal preference. There are a variety of cuts that work well when cooking this way, and once you take into consideration texture, flavour and the amount of marbling in the beef, you’ll find your perfect cut of beef every time.

As long as you’re slowly roasting your beef, there’s no reason why your meat shouldn’t be tender and juicy, no matter the cut you choose.

Here are some common cuts of beef to consider:

Rump roast – lean roast that is wrapped in a layer of fat to keep the meat moist when cooking

Topside roast – a tasty roasting joint that has a layer of fat to keep the meat tender and moist

Sirloin – less fat than other cuts, and extremely tender

Forerib – nicely marbled and has a layer of fat to help keep the meat succulent

Silverside – this cut is best for braising

On or off the bone?

Cooking beef on the bone certainly adds flavour and helps to keep the meat moist, but it can make handling the meat harder, and of course, carving it is a lot more difficult when there is a bone inside. So it comes down to personal preference when choosing a cut of beef that is on or off the bone.

How long to cook roast beef?

It’s hard to determine how long exactly to cook roast beef, as different people like to eat it in different levels of pinkness. As well as this, you’ll have to consider the weight of the joint you’re cooking too.

The best advice to follow:

Cook beef joint rare – For every 500g of meat cook for 15 to 20 minutes

Cook beef joint medium – For every 500g of meat cook for 20-25 minutes

Cook beef joint well done – For every 500g of meat cook for 25-30 minutes

What temperature should you cook at?

When roasting a beef joint, it’s common that you’ll start cooking the beef at a higher temperature for the first 15 minutes of cooking time, and then lower the temperature for the remaining time.

Heat the oven at first to Gas mark 9, 240C or 220C for fan ovens and allow the beef to cook at this temperature for the first 15 minutes.

Then lower the oven temperature to gas mark 5, 190C or 170C for fan ovens for the remaining time.

The reason to cook it in this way helps ensure that you get a delicious, golden crust on the outside of the beef, whilst it remains tender and juicy throughout the cut. The high heat allows you to develop that crust on the outside, and then lower the temperature of the oven to start cooking the meat from the inside out.

Should you cover roast beef when cooking? 

It’s best that you cover your roast beef with foil for at least part of the cooking time. This is to ensure that your roast doesn’t dry out too much while it’s cooking.

Should you cook beef at room temperature?

Yes, it’s always best to bring your cut of beef out of the fridge before you begin to cook it. You should bring the beef out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you plan on putting it in the oven, however, for larger cuts of beef this can take one to two hours.

If you put your beef in the oven straight from the fridge, the outside of the meat will cook faster than the inside. Ensuring your beef is at room temperature throughout will ensure that the roast cooks more evenly.

What should you season beef with?

There are plenty of different options when it comes to seasoning your beef roast. However, the simplest and easiest way to ensure that you get a delicious roast every time is to use a decent amount of salt and pepper. This simple approach helps to bring out the natural flavour of the meat, without overpowering the taste with various flavours.

So it’s best to start here and ensure that you get your roast beef perfected over time, and then consider mixing it up with various flavours.

Should you baste your roast beef?

Basting your roast should be something you should do during the cooking time, taking the roast out of the oven to cook it should be done around two or three times during the time. Ensure you close the oven door whilst you do this, so you lose as little heat from the oven as possible.

By basting the roast beef you’ll ensure that any juices that are lost during the cooking time, are added back to the roast helping to improve the flavour and texture of the meat. It also helps to make the meat easier to carve when the time comes.

Use a baster or spoon to gather the juices in the roasting tray and pour it evenly over the meat.

Does your beef need to be rested?

Resting your beef once it’s finished cooking is another essential step in cooking beef to perfection every time.

How long you rest your roast beef depends on the size of the meat you’re cooking. Smaller joints will need to be rested for 10 minutes, and then for larger ones, you’ll want to leave it for 30 minutes.

Resting the meat allows juices lost from cooking to be absorbed back into the meat. This ensures that your meat doesn’t dry out, adds more flavour to the meat and makes it easier to carve too.

Take your beef out of the oven, place it on a clean plate or carving board cover it with tin foil to help keep the heat in, and allow it to rest for the desired time.

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