Roasting Joints of Beef: Cooking Notes, Times and Tips

I have had very mixed results over the last couple of years cooking Sunday joints of beef, even so-called top of the range butcher’s joints have been turning out dry and none too tasty.  I decided it was probably my cooking at fault rather than every joint I seemed to buy, so decided to do the usual hampshirecook in-depth research.  I came across a different cooking method and used it with a (frankly fairly cheap and rubbish) joint of beef from Tesco that cost a fiver.  There were no high hopes but the surprise was the method worked beautifully and my rubbishy joint was declared the best roast ever in my house…hence my reason for sharing!


1. A note on roast beef joint sizing: if our lot were not so utterly into their roast beef and not all growing boys (and a man who should have stopped growing some time back), a 1kg joint would serve 6 easily accompanied by lots of side vegetables and Yorkshire puddings.

2. If the joint is pre-stringed, keep this on throughout cooking and up to carving as it keeps it all together.

3. Most current advice seems to hinge around blasting the heat up very high for the first 20 minutes or so to “seal” the joint, and then turning the heat down to the low end of medium for the rest of the cooking time.  Well, this method was different.  Instead, lightly sear the joint all over in a large, hot pan on the stove with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.  Season the roast with salt and pepper.  Then, rather than into a roasting tin, place the joint directly on the wire rack of an oven pre-heated to 180 degrees Celsius/approx 355 degrees Farenheit, with a tray underneath on a second rack to catch the juices.  This way, the heat circulates round the joint and ensures a more even roast.  Makes sense to me, and this is indeed what appeared to happen.

4. Roasting Times: 30 mins per 500g + 20 minutes resting time for a medium roast up to 1.5 kg.  Subtract 10 mins of cooking time per 500g for rare roast beef, and add 10 minutes of cooking time per 500g for well done beef.  Add resting time, up to 40 minutes, for large joints of beef.  When resting the beef, cover with foil and leave in a roasting tin or some kind of receptacle so you can collect the juices for making gravy.

4. Basting: The methods I was looking at were all talking about basting the joint twice throughout cooking, but mine came with so little natural fat that there was no juice really to baste with, so I was a little concerned.  I need not have been worried at all, things worked out just fine!  Next time I should ask the butcher if there is any chance of a piece of white fat to wrap over the top.

The joint carved very nicely, and was moist, done exactly to our liking with good colour on the outside, pink circular middle but no real blood and raw gore as the younger ones can’t handle that yet.  Perfect.


5 thoughts on “Roasting Joints of Beef: Cooking Notes, Times and Tips

  1. Hi,

    A really useful post, I’ll definitely be trying your tip of searing the joint over the stove before placing in the oven.

    Cooking a joint in my household always seems to be a drama.. I’m the only person who likes it rare, so I spend half my time complaining that ‘we’re runing a perfectly good piece of meat!!’ while trying to sneak it out of the oven before it’s burnt to a crisp!

    You can’t beat a nice joint of beef though, with some Yorkshires and horseradish 🙂


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