Tender, juicy and a bit pink in the middle. That is what we usually wish for while waiting for the roast beef to hit the table. There are so many variables to cooking the perfect roast beef: rare, medium, well done, the cut of meat you use, the cooking times, the gravy… Here are a few tips on how to cook great roast beef to everyone’s liking, every time.
When choosing the beef you're going to use, keep in mind that the ideal cuts for roasting are:-
1) Rib of Beef - which is usually cooked on the bone
2) Sirloin - which is usually boned and rolled and carries less fat that the rib of beef
3) Topside, Silverside and Top Rump - all three of which are quite lean with less marbling and are usually rolled with an outer layer of fat taken from the flank of the same animal and tied together to form a cylinder shape
4) Fillet – which is often used for beef wellington and contains small slivers of fat that run through the flesh
Always allow the meat to get up to room temperature before cooking, drizzle it with a little olive oil and season with ground black pepper, rubbing it over the meat with your hands. Alternatively rub a Knorr Beef Stock Cube mixed with olive oil over the meat before cooking for extra depth of flavour.
When it comes to cooking temperatures, the oven should be preheated to 240°C 220°C fan, Gas Mark 9 and the beef roasted at this high temperature for 15 mins after which, the temperature can be reduced to 190°C 170°C fan, Gas Mark 5.
The most accurate way to judge the cooking time is to use a meat thermometer pushed into the thickest part of the beef. If you like rare beef, you need to take it out of the oven when the thermometer shows 60°C. For medium beef, cook until it reaches 70°C, and for well done, 80°C. Cooking times may vary depending on the oven you have and the weight of the meat but as a rough guide:-
For rare beef roast for 11-13 mins on the reduced heat for every 500g
For medium beef roast for 16-18 mins on the reduced heat for every 500g
For well-done beef roast for 22-24 mins on the reduced heat for every 500g.
If you want to cook your beef rare but don't have a food thermometer to hand, make a little cut with a knife: it should be bright pink in the middle. If you prefer medium beef, it just needs to have a pinkish centre. For well-done meat, it should be completely cooked inside and show no signs of pink at all.
After taking it out of the oven, wrap the meat loosely in aluminium foil and leave to rest in a warm place. Resting for 20 minutes to 1 hour will release the juices, relaxing the muscles and helping to make the meat tender.
Remember, for great extra taste, sear the beef in a hot oven for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature. This creates a nice brown colour on the outside of the beef and helps seals in the juices. Alternatively brown the meat in a hot pan on the stove with a dash of oil. Make sure to brown all around before placing in the oven. Baste the beef from time to time during cooking, this will greatly enhance the flavour.