Holiday dinner planning is definitely top of mind right now. We’re all Googling and searching Pinterest for recipe ideas and instructions on how to cook our favorite holiday meals. While it’s great to crave the newest and hottest recipes, sometimes it’s good to refresh our skills with the traditional staples that bring the family together year after year.
One tradition that brings holiday happiness ’round the table is beef roast. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many things more unnerving than buying beef for a special occasion and not being confident it will turn out perfectly. Most of us have been there and done that. The good news is, there’s a way conquer this holiday dish and get it right every time!
Before we get there, we want to quickly clarify the cooking method referred to when talking about holiday roasts. Dry roasting is done in the oven in a roasting pan with more tender cuts. Braising or stewing is what you do with less tender cuts, such as pot roast, chuck roast, chuck-eye roast or top round roast. Dry roasting beef is easy and makes one heck of an impressive dish for your celebration.
The 3 C’s of Roasting
- Choose the right cut – This is important because not all beef cuts should be cooked the same (like we talked about above). Some are better for grilling or dry roasting and other, tougher cuts need to be braised.
- Cook confidently – Details are below, but don’t let this part intimidate you. Just put your favorite rub on the beef and use a meat thermometer to get your roast to the perfect doneness for your family.
- Carve it nicely – You want to get that perfectly cooked piece of beef on the plate looking beautiful, with all of its juices intact.
Alright. Let’s get into the details.
Choosing the Right Cut
First, there are three categories to consider when choosing the right roast.
- Premium Roasts (Tenderloin, Prime Rib) Very tender and delicious, but can also be pricey.
- Tender, Tasty & More Affordable Roasts (Rump Roast, Shoulder Roast, Tri Tip Roast) Less expensive and very flavorful.
- Economical Roasts (Top Round, Round Tip) Excellent when entertaining on a budget and perfect when sliced thinly.
Next, let’s talk about the simple steps to cooking your beef roast to ensure it comes out perfectly every time! Also check out this quick roasting video for more visual instructions.
1. Preheat Oven to 350° F
2. Use a Roasting Pan With a Rack
Be sure to choose a shallow pan, maybe 2-3 inches on the sides. Avoid using a dutch oven, which is typically 5-6 inches on the sides, because it will steam your roast. If you choose a rib roast, you can skip the rack because the bone serves the purpose.
3. Cover With a Rub
Press the rub of your choice into all sides of your beef roast. Don’t be stingy – make sure to generously cover your roast. Also, pick the herbs you like best in a rub. Garlic and thyme are great, or just use salt and pepper. Check out more rub ideas here.
4. Place in Oven Uncovered
No lid, no nothing, just on the roasting pan rack. Remember, this is dry roasting, not braising.
5. Cook Roast
Cook roast for about 20 minutes per pound, but make sure to use your meat thermometer to check for proper doneness. Getting your roast to an internal temperature of 135 – 140° F will result in a wonderful medium to medium rare finished product.
6. Let it Rest
Remove roast from oven and let it rest at least 15 minutes covered by a foil tent before you begin carving. This will allow the tasty juices to redistribute and help keep them inside the roast when you start carving.
7. Carving it Right
Use a sharp knife and good cutting board.
For the best eating experience, slice your roast as follows:
- Premium Roasts – 1/2 inch or thicker
- Tender & More Affordable Roasts – 1/4 to 1/2 inch
- Economical Roasts – 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices or as thin as possible
Now you can serve your beef roast and enjoy the accolades!