Roasting beef means to oven-cook it, uncovered, in a shallow pan until gloriously browned on the exterior but still juicy inside. Because larger, thicker cuts benefit most from this hands-off style of cooking, consider roasting beef for family dinners, holidays, and entertaining—but we're sure any leftovers from smaller gatherings will quickly disappear, too.
Roasting beef isn't just for special occasions. In fact, it's one of the easiest ways to cook beef out there! It's true that most beef roasts will take a couple of hours to cook, but you can't beat their set-it-and-forget-it nature (not to mention the smells that'll fill your kitchen). We'll teach you how to do it so you can serve up ribeye roasts, tenderloin roasts, rib roasts, and more for regular and special dinners alike.
Step 1: Choosing Your Roast
There are many cuts of beef that work well for roasting (most have the word "roast" right in their name!). The key is to choose a fairly tender cut that will benefit from this slow and dry form of cooking. When purchasing, look for meat that has good color and appears moist but not wet. Plan on 3 to 4 ounces per serving for boneless roasts and two to three servings per pound for bone-in roasts.
Good Cuts for Roasting:
Boneless tri-tip roast
Eye round roast
Round tip roast
Top round roast
Step 2: Preparing the Meat for Roasting
Preheat the oven to the desired temperature, depending on the meat cut (be sure to check our roasting chart); unless the chart specifies otherwise, roast at 325°F. You can season it straight out of the fridge (no need to thaw); the cooking times in the chart are based on meat removed directly from the refrigerator. You can choose to keep it simple with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper or rub all over with olive oil and apply an herb or spice rub. Place the meat, fat side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roasts with a bone, such as a rib roast, don't need a rack. Insert an oven-going thermometer or probe thermometer into the center of the roast, making sure it isn't touching the fat, bone, or pan. Don't add water or liquid and don't cover the roast.
Tip: A roasting pan is a shallow pan specifically designed for roasting. It has a rack, which keeps the meat above the juices and allows the heat to circulate around the meat. Ideally, the roasting pan sides should be 2 to 3 inches high. If you don't have a roasting pan, place a wire rack inside a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
Step 3: Cooking the Roast in the Oven
Roast, uncovered, to the desired doneness (see the chart below). Remove the meat from the oven. Tent with foil and let stand 15 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute, preventing them from draining out during carving (and preventing dry, disappointing meat). The meat temperature will rise about 10°F while it stands (the timings and temperatures in the chart allow for this).
Tip: When roasting meat, it should be uncovered to allow the outside to brown. However, a roast that weighs more than 8 pounds should be loosely covered halfway through roasting to avoid overbrowning.
Step 4: Carving and Serving the Roast
Time for the best part! Transfer the roast to a carving board, ideally one with a well around the edges to catch any meat juices. Use a large fork to hold the roast in place while carving slices off one end with a long, sharp carving knife. For a bone-in rib roast (prime rib), turn the roast on its side; remove a thin bottom slice if needed to stabilize the roast. Insert a large fork in the side of the roast below the top rib. Carve across the front toward the rib bone and remove the slice; repeat with the remaining roast. Cut along the rib bone with the tip of the knife to release the slice from the bone. Transfer meat to a serving platter and dig in!