Guaranteed tender roast beef/lamb that doesn’t shrink –
IMPORTANT UPDATE: The temperatures inside the roast are correct, but the oven temps may be incorrect and the cooking times may be much longer.
When I wrote this post I had never verified the actual temps inside our gas oven, I went by the thermostat light. I didn’t realise the oven temps might be incorrect until I bought a new gas oven and it took a lot longer the cook the roast. The new oven needs much higher settings.
If you use my temps and times below it will still give you a perfect roast, with minimum shrinkage, but it may take perhaps twice as long to cook.
I’m now checking oven temps with a thermometer as I cook and I will update this post when I have verified everything.
For either Roast Beef or Lamb – up to about 2.2kg (4.8lbs)
put in casserole dish with 1cm of water, lid off
put in Oven 190C (374F) for 12 minutes, turn to 100C (212F) and place lid on casserole dish
Approx cooking times before checking the center temperature – cook for an hour if small roast, say.9 to 1.3kg or about 75 mins if around 1.5-1.8 kg or 80 mins if around 2kg – it’s important to test meat temperature early and then cook longer until the required temperature is reached, but these times work for me in a gas oven.
Remove from oven and test with meat thermometer – I have a digital one but they all work for this – stick into centre of meat.
The meat is completely cooked when the center is at –
60C – gives a pink centre 140F
63C – PERFECT for me 145F
65C – for medium 149F
67+C for well done. 152F I would say OVERDONE and expect some shrinkage.
The end game twist –
I like to catch the roast when the center is around 54C (129F) I turn the oven up to 200C (392), take the lid of the roasting dish and finish the cooking, usually about a further 12-15 minutes. This caramelises all the juices that have oozed out onto the surface of the roast. Be very careful not to go too long because that will toughen and shrink the meat. This works in a gas oven because they are quick, I haven’t tried it in an electric oven.
Stop when the centre is at 63C (145F),or your preferred temp between 60C & 65C, cover with towel and rest 20mins, carve and eat
The aim is for the roast NOT to shrink – professional chefs can’t afford meat shrinkage so they cook long and slow, this is a quick alternative.
Larger Roasts: This method works for either Roast Beef or Lamb – up to about 2.2kg (4.8lbs). Above that size the center is going to take longer to reach its temp and because of that the outside will be exposed to higher heat for longer. The solution is to cook at lower temperatures, for longer. My guess is 85-90C (187-198F)
There is no way to know what temp the meat is without the thermometer, this method relies completely on that.
I’ve cooked around 50+ roasts with this method, over the last few years and IT WORKS!!! When I see friends roasting at 150C + I cringe and the meat has usually shrunk and is tough.
UPDATE January 2013: I found using a digital thermometer really accurate, but sometimes I checked the roast too late. usually it was only 64 or 65C but that small amount does make a difference to perfection.
I bought a wireless digital thermometer in 2012 and I set the alarm for 54C (129F). Now I never miss the Caramelisation process. When the alarm sounds, I remove the lid, turn the gas up and set the alarm for 63C ( 145F). When the alarm goes off again I remove the roast from the oven, baste it with the juices, put the lid back on and let it rest, covered in towels to keep it warm.
I leave the thermometer in and can watch the internal temps rise on the remote, even though the roast is removed from heat. Another benefit of the wireless thermometer remote is that I can watch the internal temp rising as the roast cooks.
Cooking is both art and science. Knowing the internal temperatures accurately means every roast is cooked how you want it. What you marinate the roast with is up to your artistry 🙂