How to Cook Roast Beef

How to Cook Roast Beef: A Fun & Complete Guide

Roast beef is a classic dish that can be enjoyed on any occasion. It is easy to prepare. Cooked low and slow comes out perfect every time.

Roast Beef works well for a family dinner or a festive holiday feast.

Roast beef is also one of the most versatile cuts of meat, as it can be cooked to different levels of doneness, seasoned with various herbs and spices, and served with a variety of sauces and sides.

In this article, we will show you how to cook roast beef to perfection, from choosing the right cut and preparing the marinade, to roasting, resting, and carving the meat.

We will also share some tips and tricks to make your roast beef even more delicious and tender, as well as some ideas for using the leftovers.

Whether you are a novice or a pro, you will find everything you need to know about how to cook roast beef in this comprehensive guide.

Table of Contents

  1. Key Takeaways
  2. How to Cook Roast Beef Ingredients and Recipe
  3. Choosing the Best Cut of Beef for Roasting
  4. Preparing the Roast Beef Marinade or Rub
  5. Roast Beef Cooking Time & Temperatures
  6. Roast Beef Resting Time
  7. Carving and Serving your Roast Beef
  8. Conclusion
  9. Roast Beef FAQ

Key Takeaways

TopicSummary
Best Cut of Beef for RoastingSirloin, ribeye, or tenderloin are the most tender and flavorful cuts of beef for roasting. They have a good amount of fat and marbling, which keep the meat moist and juicy.
Marinade or RubA marinade or a rub can enhance the flavor and tenderness of the beef. A marinade is a liquid mixture of oil, acid, herbs, spices, and other seasonings that the beef is soaked in for several hours or overnight. A rub is a dry mixture of herbs, spices, salt, and pepper that is rubbed onto the surface of the beef before roasting.
Roasting Time and TemperatureThe roasting time and temperature depend on the size and shape of the beef, the desired level of doneness, and the type of oven. A general rule of thumb is to roast the beef at a high temperature (220°C/425°F) for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature (160°C/325°F) and roast for 15 to 20 minutes per 500 grams (1 pound) for medium-rare, or longer for more well-done.
Resting TimeResting the beef after roasting is essential for keeping the juices inside the meat and making it easier to carve. The resting time should be at least 10 minutes, or up to 30 minutes for larger roasts. Cover the beef loosely with foil and place it on a cutting board or a platter.
Carving and ServingCarve the beef across the grain, which means cutting perpendicular to the direction of the muscle fibers. This will make the slices more tender and easier to chew. Serve the beef with your favorite sauce, such as gravy, horseradish, or mustard, and your preferred sides, such as roasted potatoes, vegetables, or Yorkshire pudding.

 

How to Cook Roast Beef Ingredients and Recipe

Quick reference summary

How to cook roast beef. You can adjust the quantities and the seasonings according to your taste and preference.

Ingredients

2 kg (4.4 lbs) of sirloin, ribeye, or tenderloin

1/4 cup of olive oil

1/4 cup of red wine vinegar

4 cloves of minced garlic

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

Recipe

  • Combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, parsley, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk well and pour over the beef in a large ziplock bag or a baking dish. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours, turning the beef occasionally to coat evenly.
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F and place a rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Remove the beef from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels. Discard the marinade. If the beef is tied with butcher’s twine, leave it on to keep its shape. If the beef is not tied, you can tie it with kitchen string at 5 cm (2 inch) intervals.
  • Place the beef on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes at 220°C/425°F.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C/325°F and continue to roast the beef for 15 to 20 minutes per 500 grams (1 pound) for medium-rare, or longer for more well-done. Baste the beef occasionally with the pan juices or a basting brush.
  • Check the internal temperature of the beef with a meat thermometer. Remove the beef from the oven when it reaches your preferred level of doneness. Transfer the beef to a cutting board or a platter and cover loosely with foil. Let the beef rest for at least 10 minutes, or up to 30 minutes for larger roasts.
  • Carve the beef across the grain and serve with your favorite sauce and sides.

Choosing the Best Cut of Beef for Roasting

The first step to cook roast beef is to choose the best cut of beef for roasting.

There are many cuts of beef that can be roasted, but some are more suitable than others. The best cuts of beef for roasting are those that have a good amount of fat and marbling, which are the white streaks of fat within the muscle. Fat and marbling keep the meat moist and juicy, and add flavor and tenderness.

The best cuts of beef for roasting are:

  • Sirloin: This is a large and lean cut of beef that comes from the back of the cow, between the ribs and the rump. It has a mild flavor and a fine texture. It can be roasted whole or cut into smaller roasts, such as top sirloin, bottom sirloin, or tri-tip. Sirloin is best cooked to medium-rare or medium, as it can become tough and dry if overcooked.
  • Ribeye: Is a tender and flavorful cut of beef that comes from the rib section of the cow, between the chuck and the loin. It has a lot of fat and marbling, which make it juicy and succulent. It can be roasted whole or cut into smaller roasts, such as prime rib, rib roast, or rib steak. Rib eye is best cooked to medium-rare or medium, as it can lose its juiciness and flavor if overcooked.
  • Tenderloin: This is the most tender and expensive cut of beef that comes from the loin section of the cow, under the ribs. It has a mild flavor and a very soft texture. It can be roasted whole or cut into smaller roasts, such as filet mignon, chateaubriand, or tournedos. Tenderloin is best cooked to rare or medium-rare, as it can become dry and tough if overcooked.
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Other cuts of beef that can be used for roast beef, but are less tender and flavorful, are:

  • Chuck: This is a tough and fatty cut of beef that comes from the shoulder of the cow. It has a rich flavor and a coarse texture. It can be roasted whole or cut into smaller roasts, such as chuck roast, chuck eye, or blade roast. Chuck is best cooked to well-done, as it needs a long and slow cooking process to break down the connective tissue and make it tender.
  • Round: This is a lean and tough cut of beef that comes from the rear leg of the cow. It has a mild flavor and a dense texture. It can be roasted whole or cut into smaller roasts, such as top round, bottom round, or eye of round. Round is best cooked to medium or medium-well, as it can become dry and chewy if overcooked.
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Preparing the Roast Beef Marinade or the Rub

The next step to cook roast beef is to prepare the marinade or the rub. A marinade or a rub can enhance the flavor and tenderness of the beef, and add some variety to your dish. A marinade is a liquid mixture of oil, acid, herbs, spices, and other seasonings that the beef is soaked in for several hours or overnight. A rub is a dry mixture of herbs, spices, salt, and pepper that is rubbed onto the surface of the beef before roasting. Here are some examples of marinades and rubs that you can use for your roast beef:

  • Garlic and Herb Marinade: Combine
    • 1/4 cup of olive oil,
    • 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar,
    • 4 cloves of minced garlic,
    • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley,
    • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary,
    • 1 teaspoon of salt,
    • and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper in a small bowl
      Whisk well and pour over the beef in a large ziplock bag or a baking dish. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours, turning the beef occasionally to coat evenly.


  • Mustard and Brown Sugar Rub: Combine 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper in a small bowl. Mix well and rub all over the beef, pressing firmly to adhere. Let the beef sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting.
  • Soy and Ginger Marinade: Combine 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1/4 cup of honey, 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger, 4 cloves of minced garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Let the marinade cool slightly and pour over the beef in a large ziplock bag or a baking dish. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours, turning the beef occasionally to coat evenly.
  • Rosemary and Thyme Rub: Combine 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary, 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh thyme, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper in a small bowl. Mix well and rub all over the beef, pressing firmly to adhere. Let the beef sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting.
 
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Roast Beef Cooking Time & Temperatures

The most important step is to roast the beef. The roasting time and temperature depend on the size and shape of the beef, the desired level of doneness, and the type of oven.

A general rule of thumb is to roast the beef at a high temperature (220°C/425°F) for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature (160°C/325°F) and roast for 15 to 20 minutes per 500 grams (1 pound) for medium-rare, or longer for more well-done.

However, this is only a guideline, and the best way to check the doneness of the beef is to use a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the beef, avoiding the bone or the fat. The following are the recommended internal temperatures for different levels of doneness:

  • Rare: 50°C/120°F
  • Medium-rare: 55°C/130°F
  • Medium: 60°C/140°F
  • Medium-well: 65°C/150°F
  • Well-done: 70°C/160°F

To roast the beef, follow these steps:

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F and place a rack in the middle position. To make it easier to remove the beef and also clean, we recommend lining the baking sheet with foil and then spray with non-stick cooking spray or spreading some oil.
  • Remove the beef from the marinade or the rub and pat it dry with paper towels. Discard the marinade or the rub. If the beef is tied with butcher’s twine, leave it on to keep its shape. If the beef is not tied, you can tie it with kitchen string at 5 cm (2 inch) intervals. This will help the beef cook evenly and retain its juices.
  • Place the beef on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes at 220°C/425°F.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C/325°F and continue to roast the beef for 15 to 20 minutes per 500 grams (1 pound) for medium-rare, or longer for more well-done. Baste the beef occasionally with the pan juices or a basting brush.
  • Check the internal temperature of the beef with a meat thermometer. Remove the beef from the oven when it reaches your preferred level of doneness. Transfer the beef to a cutting board or a platter and cover loosely with foil. Let the beef rest for at least 10 minutes, or up to 30 minutes for larger roasts.

Roast Beef Resting Time

Resting the beef after roasting is essential for keeping the juices inside the meat and making it easier to carve. The resting time should be at least 10 minutes, or up to 30 minutes for larger roasts.

Cover the beef loosely with foil and place it on a cutting board or a platter. Do not cut or poke the beef during the resting time, as this will cause the juices to leak out and make the meat dry.

The beef will continue to cook slightly during the resting time, so you can take it out of the oven a few degrees lower than your desired doneness. The resting time also allows the beef to relax and become more tender.

Carving and Serving your Roast Beef

Carving the beef is the final step. Carve the beef across the grain, which means cutting perpendicular to the direction of the muscle fibers. This will make the slices more tender and easier to chew.

Use a sharp carving knife and a carving fork to cut thin and even slices of beef. If the beef is tied with butcher’s twine, remove it before carving.

Serve the beef with your favorite sauce, such as gravy, horseradish, or mustard, and your preferred sides, such as roasted potatoes, vegetables, or Yorkshire pudding.

Conclusion

Roast Beef is a great dish that works for a number of reasons. It is easy to prepare and once cooking, does not need constant attention. 

It can be cooked to your preference and there will always be a cut for everyone. It can be used for simple family dinners with left overs for the next day.

It can also be cooked for special occasions where a meal has to be prepared for a large group of people. 

If you liked this recipe and are on the look out for some other easy to prepare and low maintenance cooking beef meals take a look at our Mongolian Beef Recipe or our Round Roast Crock Pot.

And if you’re looking to buy 100% grass-fed hormone free roast beef, look no further than Steak Club’s famous beef roasts.

Roast Beef FAQ

The cooking time for roast beef depends on the size and shape of the beef, the desired level of doneness, and the type of oven. A general rule of thumb is to roast the beef at a high temperature (220°C/425°F) for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature (160°C/325°F) and roast for 15 to 20 minutes per 500 grams (1 pound) for medium-rare, or longer for more well-done. However, the best way to check the doneness of the beef is to use a meat thermometer and follow the recommended internal temperatures for different levels of doneness.

To make gravy for roast beef, you can use the pan juices that are left after roasting the beef. Transfer the beef to a cutting board or a platter and cover loosely with foil. Place the baking sheet with the pan juices over medium-high heat on the stovetop. Sprinkle some flour over the pan juices and whisk well to combine. Gradually add some beef stock, water, or wine and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Season with salt, pepper, and any herbs or spices you like. Simmer until the gravy is thickened and smooth, then strain and serve.

To store leftover roast beef, ensure it’s cooled to room temperature within two hours of cooking, then refrigerate it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in foil or plastic wrap.

For reheating, there are a few options depending on your preference:

one method involves using an oven set at a low temperature (around 250°F or 120°C) and placing the beef in a baking dish with a little broth or gravy to prevent dryness. Cover it with foil and heat for about 20-30 minutes or until warmed through.

Alternatively, you can gently reheat slices in a skillet with a splash of broth or gravy over low heat, ensuring not to overcook it.

Lastly, a microwave can be used, but be cautious as it might dry out the meat; reheat in short intervals, checking and stirring in between until warmed evenly. Enjoy your delicious leftovers!

Leftover roast beef can be used in many ways, such as making sandwiches, salads, soups, stews, casseroles, pies, or tacos. You can also shred or chop the leftover roast beef and mix it with some barbecue sauce, cheese, and onions, and bake it in a pie crust or a biscuit dough for a delicious and easy meal.

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