| Tips & Tricks | How to roast in the oven

How to roast in the oven

Roasting is one of the easiest cooking methods; once it's in the oven it takes care of itself. It involves cooking food in an uncovered pan in the oven and Dry, hot air surrounds the food, cooking it evenly on all sides. Depending on the food you're preparing, you can roast at low, moderate, or high temperatures. Large cuts of meat work particularly well for roasting, think whole rumps, lamb legs or tenderloins.


How to roast

  1. Preheat oven according to the cut and weight of beef or lamb you are roasting (use guide below).
  2. Place the roast on a rack in a roasting dish. Brush lightly with oil and season with a little salt and pepper and any other flavourings of your choice.
  3. Cook for calculated time basting occasionally.
  4. Remove from the oven when cooked to the desired degree. Transfer to a plate, cover loosely with foil and rest for 10-20 minutes before carving across the grain for optimum tenderness.

Tips for top results

Set Your Oven to the Right Temperature

Choose the temperature according to the type of food you're roasting. Vegetables usually need a moderate temperature near 180-190°C so that internal water evaporates quickly to concentrate the flavour without the vegetables browning too deeply or becoming too soft.

With regards to meat, you want to use low (120°C) to moderate (190°C) heat for large roasts so they'll cook evenly and slowly (high heat would burn the outside of the roast before it's done on the inside). High-heat (above 200°) roasting works well for small, tender cuts such as tenderloins because it quickly produces a browned crust, and the meat cooks adequately in a short time.

Cook meat from room temperature:

If possible, take the meat from refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking. This will allow enough time for the beef or lamb to come to room temperature and result in more even cooking.

Brown meat first

This will improve flavour, particularly when using small, very lean cuts that only need to cook for a short amount of time.

Use a meat rack

This will allow even heat circulation and browning.

Carve across the grain

This will result in optimum tenderness. Click here for a basic guide.

Basting isn’t always necessary

Whether you should baste meat or leave it alone as it cooks depends on various factors. A standing rib roast, for example, should not be basted because one of its best features is the salty crust that forms over the meat as it roasts; you wouldn't want to wash that away. While many people like basting roast lamb, frequent basting also means you're opening the oven door and letting the heat escape, which could lengthen the cook time or prevent the meat from properly browning. Understand that basting isn't necessary to keep food moist.

All meat needs to rest

Resting is one of the most important steps as it enables the temperature to even out and the meat fibres to relax and reabsorb some of the juices. All meat should rest for 10 to 20 minutes after it's removed from the oven. Larger cuts―a standing rib roast, for example―retain enough internal heat so that they continue to cook out of the oven. Smaller cuts do not have enough mass to continue cooking by more than a couple of degrees.


Roasting Temperature / Time Guide – per 500g

Beef scotch, sirloin, eye fillet rump

Temperature: 200ºC; Rare: 15-20 mins; Medium: 20-25 mins; Well done: 25-30 mins

Beef standing rib, silverside, topside

Temperature: 160ºC; Rare: 20-25 mins; Medium: 25-30 mins; Well done: 30-35 mins

Lamb rack, rump, mini roast

Temperature: 220ºC; Rare: 15-20 mins; Medium: 20-25 mins; Well done: 25-30 mins

Lamb leg, shoulder, carvery leg

Temperature: 180ºC; Rare: 20-25 mins; Medium: 25-30 mins; Well done: 30-35 mins

How do I know when my roast is ready?

Either use a meat thermometer, or pierce meat with a fine skewer - clearer juices indicate the roast is more well done.

NOTE: A larger piece of meat requires fewer minutes per 500g than a smaller cut. Roasts with bone-in cook more quickly than boned and rolled roasts.

Using a meat thermometer

There are many variables when cooking a roast – the size, temperature, cut and shape for example. A meat thermometer removes some of the guesswork and is the most accurate way to know when your roast is ready.

Remove the meat from the oven and insert the thermometer into the thickest part, away from fat or bone. The internal temperatures should read as follows:

  • Rare = 45-50ºC
  • Medium rare = 55-60ºC
  • Medium = 60-65ºC
  • Well done = 70-75ºC
  • Very well done = 75-80ºC

Best cuts for roasting

  • Sirloin steak
  • Scotch fillet
  • Whole eye fillet
  • Standing rib
  • Rump
  • Butterflied leg
  • Carvery leg
  • Shoulder
  • Thick flank
  • Rack
  • Leg

Posted by Shawn Moodie