Perfect roast beef with all the trimmings

  • Ask your butcher to saw through the upper chine bone so that the ‘feather bones’ will be easy to remove before carving. 

  • Weigh the joint and calculate the cooking time (see below). Preheat the oven to 240°C/475°F/gas mark 9.

  • Score the fat and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

  • Place the meat in a roasting tin, with the fat side uppermost. As the fat renders down in the heat of the oven, it will baste the meat.  The bones provide a natural rack to hold the meat clear of the fat in the roasting pan.

  • Put the meat into a fully preheated oven, after 15 minutes turn down the heat to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4  until the meat is cooked to your taste.

  • There are various ways of checking. I usually put a skewer into the thickest part of the joint, leave it there for about 30-45 seconds and then put it against the back of my hand. If it still feels cool, the meat is rare, if it is warm it is medium rare, if it’s hotter it’s medium and if you can’t keep the skewer against your hand for more than a second then you can bet its well done. Also, if you check the colour of the juices you will find they are clear as opposed to red or pink for rare or medium.

  • If you own a meat thermometer that will eliminate guesswork altogether but make sure the thermometer is not touching a bone when you are testing.

  • Beef is rare at an internal temperature of 60°C/140°F. It is medium when it is 70°C/155°F and well done when it is 75°C/165°F.

  • When the meat is cooked it should be allowed to rest on a plate in a warm oven for 15-30 minutes before carving, depending on the size of the roast. The internal temperature will continue to rise by as much as 2-3°C/5°F, so remove the roast from the oven while it is still slightly underdone.

  • Meanwhile, make the gravy. Spoon the fat off the roasting tin. Pour the stock into the cooking juices remaining in the tin. Boil for a few minutes, stirring and scraping the pan well, to dissolve the caramelised meat juices (I find a small whisk ideal for this). Thicken very slightly with a little roux if you like. Taste and add salt and freshly ground pepper if necessary. Strain and serve in a warm gravy boat.

  • Carve the beef at the table and serve with Horseradish sauce, Yorkshire pudding, gravy and lots of crusty roast potatoes.

    Roasting Times:
    Since ovens vary enormously in efficiency and thermostats are not always accurate and some joints of meat are much thicker than others, these figures must be treated as guidelines rather than rules. The times below include the 15-minute searing time at a high heat.
    Beef on the bone:
    Rare: 10-12 minutes per 1 lb (450g)
    Medium: 12-15 minutes per 1 lb (450g)
    Well-done:18-20 minutes per 1 lb (450g)
    Beef off the bone:
    Rare:  8-10 minutes per 1 lb (450g)
    Medium: 10-12 minutes per 1 lb (450g)
    Well-done: 15-18 minutes per 1 lb (450g)

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