Roasting Rules

Roasting is an easy way to create a warming meal with little effort.

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Roasted Pesto Chicken

On leisurely Sundays, when the afternoon stretches before you with only the promise of a newspaper or good book to read, putting dinner in the oven and letting it roast while you play is a lovely way to fill your house with warmth and delicious smells.

Roasting is a dry-heat method of cooking usually reserved for larger cuts of meat or poultry--though vegetables and fish (particularly salmon) can also be roasted.

Food is usually roasted in an uncovered pan in the oven. Because roasted foods are cooked at a fairly high heat with little--if any--added moisture, they usually have a crusty, browned exterior and a juicy interior. When choosing a pan to roast foods in, be sure you have a good fit. No part of the food should hang out of the pan--but if the pan is too small, any juices that are released will likely burn. The food should fit comfortably inside the pan, with no more than an inch or two of space between it and the sides of the pan. If you like to use the drippings from a roast or chicken to make gravy, invest in a heavy aluminum pan that can be placed directly over a flame or electric burner.

A roasting rack helps elevate the food out of any juices it releases so that it truly roasts and does not stew or steam, ensuring the delicious crust and crispy skin that is part of the appeal of roasted foods.

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How to Use a Meat Thermometer

A meat thermometer guarantees perfectly cooked meat every time. To be sure you get an accurate reading, insert the thermometer into the center of the largest muslce or thickest portion of the meat. The thermometer should not touch any fat or bone in the pan. When the meat reaches the desired doneness, push in the thermometer a little farther. If the temperature drops, continue cooking. If it stays the same, remove the meat. Cover the meat, and let it stand about 15 minutes before carving. (It will continue to cook while standing).

Place meat, fat side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. (Roasts with a bone do not need a rack.) For ham, if desired, score the top in a diamond pattern. Insert a meat thermometer. Do not add water or liquid, and do not cover. Roast in a 325 degree F oven, unless chart or recipe says otherwise, for the time given and until the thermometer registers 5 degree below the specified temperature. Remove the roast from the oven; cover with foil and let it stand 15 minutes.The meat's temperature will rise 5 degrees during the time it stands.

Cut Weight
(in pounds)
(in degrees)
Roasting Time
(in hours)
Boneless rolled rump roast 4 to 6 160 medium 1-3/4 to 2-3/4
Boneless sirloin roast 4 to 6 145 medium rare 2-1/4 to 3
160 medium 2-3/4 to 3-1/2
Eye round roast 2 to 3 145 medium rare 1-1/2 to 2
  160 medium 1-3/4 to 2-1/4

Rib eye roast
(roast at 350 degrees F)
4 to 6 145 medium rare 1-1/2 to 2
  160 medium 2 to 2-1/2
Rib roast
(roast at 350 degrees F)
4 to 6 145 medium rare 1-3/4 to 2-1/4
  160 medium 2-1/4 to 2-3/4
Tenderloin roast
(roast at 425 degrees F)
Half 2 to 3 145 medium rare 1/2 to 3/4


4 to 6 145 medium rare 3/4 to 1

Round Tip Roast 3 to 5 145 to 160 1-3/4 to 2-1/2
  6 to 8 145 to 160 2-1/2 to 3-1/2
Top round roast 4 to 6 145 to 160 1-1/2 to 2-3/4

Boneless rolled breast roast 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 160 1-3/4 to 2-1/4
Boneless rolled shoulder roast 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 160 2 to 2-3/4
Loin roast 3 to 4 160 1-3/4 to 2-1/2
Rib roast 4 to 5 160 1-3/4 to 2-1/2

Boneless rolled leg roast 4 to 7 145 to 170 2 to 4
Boneless rolled shoulder roast 3-1/2 to 5 145 to 170 2 to 3-1/2
Whole leg roast 5 to 7 145 to 170 2 to 3-1/2
(bone in) 7 to 9 145 to 170 2-1/4 to 3-3/4
Shank half 3 to 4 145 to 170 1-3/4 to 3
Sirloin half 3 to 4 145 to 170 1-1/2 to 3

Boneless top loin roast
Single loin 2 to 3 160 1-1/4 to 1-3/4
Double loin (tied) 3 to 5 160 1-3/4 to 2-1/2
Loin back ribs,
2 to 4 Well-done (until tender) 1-1/2 to 1-3/4
Country-style ribs
(roast at 350 degrees)
2 to 4 Well-done (until tender) 1-1/2 to 2
Blade or sirloin roast 3 to 4 170 well-done 1-3/4 to 2-1/2

Loin center rib roast
(backbone Loosened)
3 to 5 160 1-1/2 to 2-1/2
Rib crown roast 6 to 8 160 2 to 3-1/2
(roast at 425 degrees until thermometer registers 160 degrees)
3/4 to 1 160 25 to 35 minutes
Ham (fully cooked)
Boneless portion 3 to 4 140 1 to 1-1/2
Boneless half 4 to 6 140 1-1/4 to 2
Smoked picnic 5 to 8 140 2 to 4

Ham (cook-before-eating)
Bone-in portion 3 to 5 160 1-3/4 to 3
Bone-in half 7 to 8 160 2-1/2 to 3-1/4

Since birds vary in size, shape, and tenderness, use the times as general rules.

1. Rinse a whole bird thoroughly on outside as well as inside the body and neck cavities. Pat dry. If desired, rub inside of the body cavity with salt.

2. For an unstuffed bird, if desired, place quartered onions and celery in body cavity. Pull neck skin to back and fasten with a skewer. If a band of skin crosses tail, tuck drumsticks under band. If there is no band, tie drumsticks to tail. Twist wing tips under the back. For a stuffed bird, just before cooking, spoon some stuffing loosely into the neck cavity; fasten neck skin as for an unstuffed bird. Lightly spoon stuffing into body cavity. Secure drumsticks and wings.

3. Place bird, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan; brush with cooking oil and if desired, sprinkle with a crushed dried herb such as thyme or oregano. (When cooking a domestic duckling or goose, prick skin well all over and omit cooking oil.) For large birds, insert a meat thermometer into center of one of the inside thigh muscles. The bulb should not touch the bone.

4. Cover Cornish game hen, quail, squab, and turkey with foil, leaving air space between bird and foil. Press foil lightly at ends of drumsticks and neck. Leave all other types of poultry uncovered.

5. Roast in an uncovered pan. Baste occasionally with pan drippings. When bird is two-thirds done, cut band of skin or string between drumsticks. Uncover bird for last 45 minutes of cooking (leave quail covered for entire cooking time). Continue roasting until the meat thermometer registers 180 degrees F (check temperature of thigh in several places), or until drumsticks move easily in their sockets and juices run clear. Center of stuffing should register at least 165 degrees F (In a whole or half turkey breast, thermometer should register 170 degrees F) Remove bird from the oven and cover it with foil. Let large birds stand for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.


East Indian Roasted Leg of Lamb

Roasted Beef with Horseradish Potatoes Horseradish and thyme make a great pair, flavoring both the roast and the vegetables. The roast is finished with a simple sauce made by deglazing the pan (that's the simple process of adding liquid to a pan to help loosen the flavorful brown bits left by the meat).

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Pork Roast Cubano A marinade flavored with orange and lime juices adds a Cuban touch to roasted pork.

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Italian Pork Pot Roast When your family gathers on Sunday for a hearty dinner, try the treasured ritual untouched by passing fads and fancies - pot roast!

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East Indian Roasted Leg of Lamb Cut slits in the lamb to create flavor pockets for the spicy rub.

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Roasted Pesto Chicken Steamed baby carrots with tops make an easy, but special vegetable accompaniment.

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Roast Chicken Southwestern-Style Squares of freshly baked corn bread add just the right touch to this easy-to-make roasted chicken.

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Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potatoes When crushed just before adding to a recipe, cumin seed and caraway seed add exciting bursts of flavor.

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Turkey Breast with Roasted Asparagus You will love the perfect flavor-pairing of tarragon and Dijon-style mustard and the bright, vibrant colors of the asparagus, parsley, and red peppers.

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Fruited Couscous-Stuffed Salmon Roast For a colorful stuffing, choose a red pear and leave the peel on it. From another pear, cut some thin wedges to garnish this stunning salmon.

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Vegetable Sides

Superb Roasted Potatoes Rosemary and lovage flavor these roasted new potatoes. Lovage looks and tastes like celery leaves, only more intense.

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Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic Vinegar Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of vegetables. These earthy and elegant roasted green beans and summer squash balance just about any entree. Try them with steaks, chicken, pork chops, or salmon.

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Herbed Roasted Vegetables Toss sweet potatoes, carrots, red onion, and parsnip with a little oil and herbs for a luscious side dish. Roast them alongside your meat entree, such as chicken, pork loin, or eye of round beef roast.

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Vegetable Main Dishes

Oven-Roasted Vegetable Penne Turn this terrific vegetarian main dish into a chicken dish by adding some shredded grilled chicken just before serving.

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Roasted Vegetables Parmesan These simply seasoned vegetables are a delectable toss of zucchini, onion, sweet pepper, mushrooms, and carrots; tomatoes and garbanzo beans are stirred in during the final minutes in the oven.

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