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How to Roast Meat

Roasting is one of the easiest ways there is to cook a large cut of meat - and one of the easiest cooking techniques to master

The method works perfectly for Beef, Lamb, Poultry, Pork, and Game, and allows you to prepare a large meal with minimal effort.

Excellence of the quality and preparation of the meat is paramount if you want to savour and enjoy the true full-on Roasting experience

What is Roasting

Roasting is the cooking method done in the oven where it is directly exposed to dry heat circulating all around it.

During cooking fat and juices will be released available for basting the roast and creating the base for gravies. Roasting also creates that beautiful, irresistible caramelised crust - Crackling - or crispy skin - with their exceptional, intense and unique, rich, “browning flavours”

Why You Should Roast Meat 

Roasting meat at low temperatures (between 140° C Gas Mark 1 and 170° C Gas Mark 3) provides the most flavourful, juicy, and tender results. It also minimizes shrinkage from the loss of moisture and helps keep the meat tender

Generally, the larger the cut of meat, the lower the roasting temperature should be.

Nice and brown

The only problem is that these lower temperatures don't produce a brown, flavourful crust on the exterior of the meat. Therefore, it's typically best to begin roasting at a high temperature to get the meat nice and brown and then lower the heat for the duration of cooking.

That prized Roast Crust

Start at a very high heat around 220°C Gas Mark 7 for between 20 and 30 minutes - depending on weight and if it is white or red meat

That should be enough for the prized crust - anymore and your lovely crust will start to blacken - and the juices will rush from the middle to the surface - and then ooze out and/or evaporate

After that first blast to get your crust - the real cooking starts as the centre will be still quite cool and raw

180°C/Gas Mark 4 is a reliable temperature to complete the cooking - but consult our How to Cook page for a particular meat Cut and weight - as they all vary to different extents - and depend on how you like your meat done

Size and shape can also affect roasting times - but our How to Cook pages match each individual Cuts cooking requirements.

Best Cuts to Roast

Roasts can be Bone-in or Boneless - again our How to Cook pages will guide you on how to cook each different version

A full list of the best joints and Cuts to roast are listed below - with Related Recipes also listed for each individual Cut

How to Roast Meat 

Roasting is easy, though it's not quick. Expect most cuts of meat to take at least two hours, though it may require four hours, or slightly longer, depending on the size and whether or not it is Boneless or on the Bone

  • Season the meat ahead of time - the night before you plan to roast, for instance - so that the flavourings have enough time to penetrate the meat.
  • Seasonings can include Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper, as well as various Spice Rubs, fresh or dried Herbs, Garlic etc
  • Refrigerate the meat and take it out about half an hour before you plan to roast it.
  • Heat the oven to a high temperature - usually around 230°C Gas Mark 8, but for slow-roasted Pork Shoulder, start at 260°C Gas Mark 10.
  • Set the seasoned roast on a rack, fat side up, in a roasting pan. The pan's sides should be relatively low to allow the hot air to circulate around the roast
  • Using a rack (rather than placing the roast directly on the bottom of the pan) also promotes even airflow. Don't cover the pan.
  • Place the meat in the oven and cook for 20 to 30 minutes at the high temperature.
  • Lower the temperature to between 140°C Gas Mark 1 and 170°C Gas Mark 3 and roast until done.
  • Remove the roast from the oven, cover it in foil, and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. 
  • This results in a much juicier roast because cooking tends to drive all the meat's natural juices into the centre of the roast. 
  • Resting it before slicing gives the protein molecules a chance to reabsorb some of that moisture, so those juices don't spill out onto your cutting board
  • While the roast is resting, prepare your Sauce. There are many tasty Sauces to consider. 
  • Alternately, make a simple velouté Sauce by whisking the pan drippings and some additional stock into a butter-flour roux.

Roast Doneness Guidelines 

Beef and Lamb are medium-rare when the internal temperature of the roast has reached 57°C; medium is 60°C to 63°C. Cook Pork to 63°C. Veal is usually served medium (63°C to 65°C) or medium-well (68°C).

Remember that the temperature of an average roast can rise another 10 degrees after you take it out of the oven. Therefore, you're going to want to take the roast out of the oven when the thermometer shows a reading about 10 degrees lower than you want it.

To baste or not to baste

Most Cookery Books advise to brown your meat in a saucepan first

However research done by the mighty Heston Blumenthal and uncompromising Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall leads them to advise otherwise

Don't baste!

Their view is - Don't baste - every time you baste, you have to open the oven door, and that lowers the oven temperature. Roasting the meat fat side up allows the fat to drip down over the roast as it melts, thereby keeping the exterior nice and moist.

This they believe is a much better method - as pan browning creates a crust - but that crust is permeable - letting precious juices and fat to leak out and usually evaporate

Their method allows the fat and juices to slowly and gently drip down through the meat thereby keeping it much more moist and tender

Useful Conversion Table

Finally - all ovens can vary - so these conversions are approximate for Fahrenheit, Celsius, and Gas Marks.

° Fahrenheit ° Celsius Oven ° Celsius Fan Gas Mark
275 140 120 1 Very Cool or Very Slow
300 150 130 2 Cool or Slow
325 165 150 3 Warm
350 177 160 4 Moderate
375 190 170 5 Moderate
400 200 180 6 Moderately Hot
425 220 200 7 Hot
450 230 210 8 Hot
475 245 220 9 Hot
500 260 240 10 Very Hot

So there you have it! - Godfreys Guide to Roasts

Used in conjunction with each Joint and Cuts individual How to Cook and Related Recipes pages - sprinkled with Michelin Chefs - you are now ready to go

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