It’s hard not to love a good roast. A wildly popular affair in the UK, the Sunday roast isn’t just a meal lovingly prepared by mothers in home kitchens anymore. Now, both professional restaurants and hotels have adopted the concept of the roast, raising it to global fame. Sunday roasts have replaced the popularity of Saturday afternoon dining, and it’s the preferred choice when special occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas roll around.
So, what is a roast exactly? It’s essentially a dry-heat method of cooking meat in an uncovered pan, which helps to retain natural juices within the meat while giving it a crispier exterior.
Curious yet? Here’s how to plan for a fail-proof roast.
1. Choose the right cut of meat
You can do a traditional roast with either beef, lamb or chicken.
For beef, the ribeye roast is the most popular choice. One of the more tender cuts, the ribeye is generously woven with marblings of fat to ensure that you get rich, juicy slabs of meat. If you can’t get your hands on the ribeye, the loin (striploin and tenderloin) and rump are also good options.
If you’re roasting lamb, the leg is the prime cut, serving up a good amount of lean, tender meat. The shoulder and the rack are also commonly used for roasting.
If you opt for chicken, choose a high-quality organic chicken. It might be more pricey than regular chicken, but it would guarantee a lot more flavour. Try to buy a smaller-sized chicken as that would cook more evenly during the roast.
2. Marinate to tenderise the meat
Everyone knows that the marinade is the secret to obtaining greater flavour, but few realise that it also helps to tenderise meat. Create a cocktail of garlic, thyme, rosemary, cloves, cinnamon and chilli, and mix it in with red or white wine, or even beer. Slather the entire piece of meat generously with the mix and let it sit for a minimum of eight hours in the refrigerator.
3. After marinating, let the meat rest to avoid shock
After you’ve let the marinade sink into the meat or fowl (preferably overnight), you’ll want to take the meat out for at least an hour before sticking it in the oven. This helps the meat to acclimatise and reduce the amount of shock it gets from the sudden rise in temperature.
4. Don’t over-roast. Let the meat rest again to keep it juicy.
Once you’re done with your prep work, lay the meat on top of an assortment of aromatics (you can use carrots, scallions, leeks, celery, thyme, garlic and rosemary). Set the oven for 175°C, but pause for some quick math: you’ll need 20–30 minutes of roasting time for every 500g of meat to achieve the perfect roast. So, if you had a piece of meat weighing roughly 1kg, it should be in the oven for about 50 mins.
When the timer’s up, let the meat rest for a minimum of 5–10 minutes. This helps to keep the meat juicy. Cutting into it immediately would force all the juices to flow outwards, leaving you with a dry, rather undesirable dish. By letting it rest, it also makes it easier when it comes to carving later on.