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Roast Beef 101

It takes careful cooking to transform a large piece of beef into tender, succulent slices. To find the best ways to do this, we’ve developed dozens of roast beef recipes. Here we share with you all of the knowledge we’ve gained after spending years creating roast beef recipes for anything from an inexpensive sirloin roast to a pricey beef tenderloin.

Steps to a Great Beef Roast


Many cuts of meat benefit from trussing before being cooked. This forces the beef roast into a more even shape, ensuring the thin, narrow ends won’t overcook before the thick middle part is done. (Tying also makes for a nicer presentation and easier slicing.) After the meat is trussed, dry roast with paper towels, then sprinkle the exterior with salt (preferably kosher) and let it stand at room temperature for at least an hour. As the roast sits, the salt draws out its juices, which then combine with the salt before being reabsorbed into the meat. The result: a beef roast that is flavorful both inside and out.


Browning meat produces new flavor compounds that are essential to the success of a roast. But blasting the oven temperature to accomplish this can dry out the meat's exterior and doesn't uniformly brown the entire roast. To guarantee a well-caramelized crust, sear the roast in either the roasting pan or a skillet, before putting it into the oven.


Most roast beef recipes call for cooking roasts in a moderately hot oven, but this method can lead to an overcooked exterior and an unevenly cooked interior. We generally cook roast beef at temperatures between 250 and 350 degrees, depending on the meat's size and shape. Roasts should always be taken out of the oven before they reach the desired degree of doneness. A phenomenon called “carry-over cooking,” in which the meat’s exterior transfers heat to the cooler center, will cause the internal temperature of the roast to rise another 10 to 15 degrees.


All roasts should rest under a foil tent for 10 to 20 minutes before being carved. As the protein molecules in the meat cool, they will reabsorb any accumulated juices and redistribute them throughout the roast. This also allows for “carry-over cooking” to take effect.

How to Trim Beef Tenderloin


Discard the fatty strip (or chain) that runs along the length of the tenderloin.


Remove the sinewy silver skin (and any other large pieces of fat) by inserting the tip of the knife under it and slicing outward at a slight angle.