Cooking Roast Beef? Questions Answered.


Standing at the meat counter – what roast do I buy?

Keep in mind the type of meal you want to have. Then pick the roast to match:

  • Premium Oven Roasts are cut from the sirloin, loin and rib. These ever-tender roasts are more of a splurge and make the perfect centre piece to any special meal. Look for: Prime Rib, Rib, Rib-Eye, Strip Loin, Tenderloin and Top Sirloin.
  • Oven Roasts are cut from the hip and tend to be a leaner and more frugal option than Premium Oven Roasts. They’re the perfect all-family fair, best enjoyed carved into thin slices and served with a simple pan-gravy and mashed potatoes. Look for: Eye of Round, Inside Round, Outside Round and Sirloin Tip.
  • Pot Roasts are stew-y comfort food you can make ahead or simmer while you work. Look for Cross Rib, Blade or Brisket.

Company’s coming. How large a roast do I need to buy?

  • For generous portions (and maybe even some yummy leftovers), buy 250 g (8 oz) per person (raw).
  • For a roast that has bone, increase that by about 30% – so, 375 g (12 oz) per person.

Why do you need to carve roast beef across the grain? What does that mean anyway?

To make meat more tender to eat, carve roast beef across the grain (i.e. across the muscle fibres). Cutting across the muscle fibres shortens them. The more you shorten the long muscle fibres (i.e. the thinner the slice), the more tender the meat will seem.

Tip: Carving in the same direction as the butcher’s twine should be across the grain if your butcher did the cutting right.

How do I cook up a big Oven Roast – one that weighs 4 to 5 kg (9 to 11 lb)?

You manage a large roast just as you would a smaller one (see our Cooking Lessons for all the info you need). You can follow our expanded Cook Time Chart here for timing guidelines (based on our tested and true 2-temperature cooking method):

Roast beef’s too rare for Aunt Minnie – now what?

Don’t panic. Slip a slice or two of the rare roast beef into a pan of simmering gravy for a second or two to finish them as you like.

Is it ok to cook a roast from frozen?

Yes you can! Just allow 50% more cooking time and skip the oven-sear step before starting to roast.

Not enough juices for making gravy – now what?

If you don’t have a lot of juices in the bottom of your pan after roasting – that’s a good thing! That means that your roast will be extra juicy when you carve it AND that the drippings you have in the pan are super concentrated with flavour. You only need 4 Tbsp of drippings! Start by making a cornstarch slurry: Dissolve 4 Tbsp of cornstarch in the minimum amount of water needed to make a thin paste – about 1/2 cup. Pour the slurry into the drippings and whisk to blend and begins to thicken. As the gravy thickens, slowly add 3 cups beef stock or water. Simmer until the gravy has thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

How can I tell when my Oven Roast is done?

Cook like a pro –take the guesswork out of cooking and use a thermometer to cook an Oven Roast just the way you like it. Our favourite thermometer by far: a digital model that lets you monitor cooking without even opening the oven door – most models even send out a signal when your meat is cooked to the doneness you select. WOW – it’s a roasting miracle – worth every penny! Get one at your local cookware or hardware store – carried by some progressive grocers as well. Or order on-line from Williams Sonoma.

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    • Brisket is a Pot Roast and as such, should be slow roasted in moist heat – so a lid or covering does help you do that.
      Follow our roasting instructions found in the Perfect Roast Beef digital book (p. 12-13) for complete details:
      Enjoy your brisket!

    • I cook them all the time on a rack with water in the bottom enough so it’s doesn’t dry up. I start at 450 for 10 mins., then turn down to 275 do not open the oven until it’s finished cooking.

  1. Thanks Mo – we found we got better browning without any water in the bottom of the pan, and using the method you described, it worked to have a perfect even doneness and our tests showed it was the most tender and juicy results.


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