Many novice cooks are intimidated by beef roasts and opinions vary widely as to which cooking method should be used. Two of the more popular schools of thought are the initial high heat blast and the low and slow method. Regardless of the method you choose, always use a meat thermometer to prevent undercooking and help avoid overcooking. Remember when using a meat thermometer that the center of a thick cut of meat will rise five to ten degrees AFTER it has been removed from the oven.
When choosing your roast be sure to pick prime or choice grades for cheaper cuts such as eye of round or rump roast. Any lesser quality ought to be braised to ensure a tender cut.
Personally, I like to prepare an herb rub: garlic powder, salt, pepper, tarragon, chervil (if I have it), and onion powder. There is no need to measure, but in your ratio go easy on the salt if you plan on using the pan juices for gravy. Place the roast fatty side up in your pan on a rack. If it’s a smaller roast skip the rack as there won’t be a whole lot of juice. Heavily dust the roast with your rub and allow the roast to come to room temperature.
While the roast is resting preheat your oven to 325°F. To cook a thick, boneless roast to medium rare estimate twenty minutes a pound, but check the internal temperature at the halfway point. Medium rare is considered 130°F – 140°F Roasts with a bone will cook faster. Remove the roast from the oven and tent with foil. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
Another method to try is cooking the roast with an initial blast of heat that quickly browns the outside. Preheat the oven to 500°F, cook for 10 – 12 minutes and turn the oven off. Allow 15 minutes per pound. With this method an oven safe thermometer is practically mandatory. If you do not have one, set the oven to 200°F after you first check the temperature.
A final method I’ll mention is discouraged by the FDA as there is the possibility that the meat would stay too long in the “danger zone” of bacterial growth. For what it’s worth cooking the meat at 200°F and then blasting it with 500°F heat toward the end of cooking produces a very juicy roast. Cook at your own risk.
When picking your cooking method please keep in mind that experience will be your best teacher. Do not become discouraged. If you accidentally overcook a roast, it can be shredded and used in soups or stews, or you can always package it up and mail it to Ivy’s mom, who loves everything burnt.