Roasting is used for large, tender cuts of meat. Beef rib cuts, pork loins, legs of lamb, and whole poultry all roast well. The technique involves little more than browning the outside (if you can) and placing the roast in a hot oven.
Tips for Roasting Meat:
- Browning the meat first doesn't seal in any juices, as some might claim, but it helps the roast cook faster, which means it will lose less moisture during cooking. It also makes for a more flavorful roast; the browned parts are tasty.
- In general, don't cover a roast; you don't want it to steam in its own juices. If, however, you're cooking a large roast or turkey and it browns too quickly, cover the browned parts only with foil. Try not to trap in moisture.
- Instant-read thermometers cost about $5 at most markets and kitchen stores. They're the best way to tell if meat is done. If you don't have one, refer to a meat chart in an all-purpose cookbook or use a thin knife to cut the roast open.
- Save the pan drippings to make gravy.
- Is there a difference between baking and roasting? Sort of. Baking means cooking in a hot oven with little or no browning. With roasting, the whole point is to get that deep, flavorful browning, which the initial blast of high heat provides.
How to Brown and Roast Meat:
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Assess the size of the roast. If it's small enough for you to quickly brown the outside in a very hot pan or a barbecue grill, season the roast with salt and pepper, oil it lightly and brown it.
- Put the meat in a roasting pan, fat side up.
- If it is already browned, lower the heat to 325 degrees F and cook until done.
- If the meat is too large to brown before roasting, cook it at 450 degrees F for about 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 325 degrees F and cook until done.
- Test for doneness with an instant-read kitchen thermometer. Beef, lamb and veal are generally rare at about 130 degrees F, medium-rare at about 140 to 145 degrees F, and medium at 150 degrees F. Pork and poultry should be cooked past 155 degrees F.
- Place foil over the meat and wait 10 to 20 minutes to carve it. (Waiting helps to ensure that juices stay in the meat, rather than spilling all over the cutting board.)