You have 3 choices as we see it:

The aim of course being to get the meat cooked through without drying it out.

Many cookery books have a time and temperature formula of so many minutes cooking time per kg, but in our experience, ovens and starting temperatures are so variable that relying on this method alone can be unreliable.

For this reason, we recommend that you always use a meat thermometer!

High versus Low temperature

When using a high oven temperature for roasting (400ºF 200ºC and above), the meat surface quickly browns and develops the characteristic roasted flavour, and cooking times are short. However, the meat loses a lot of moisture, its outer portions end up much hotter than the centre, and the centre can go from done to overdone in a matter of minutes.

High temperature roasting is ideal for tender, relatively small cuts of meat that cook through quickly, and whose surface wouldn't have time to brown without the exposure to high heat.

Low temperature roasting (250ºF 125ºC and below) is suited both to tender cuts, whose moisture it preserves, and tough cuts that benefit from long cooking to dissolve collagen into gelatin. The moist meat surface dries very slowly and the evaporation cools the surface which means relatively little surface browning, but also very gentle heating of the interior, minimal moisture loss, uniform doneness and a large window of time in which the meat is properly done.

Fan ovens speed up the evaporation so improve surface browning.

Joints that suit low temperature roasting include Brisket and Silverside because the connective tissue benefits from that long cooking time to become gelatinous.

Joints with a higher fat content like Rib and Lamb take longer to cook as the fat acts as insulation from the heat.

Hot Fast Roasting

Suitable for Beef Rib, Sirloin, Rump or Topside and Lamb Gigot/leg and Rolled Shoulder.

  • Heat oven to 400ºF 200ºC Gas Mark 7. Ensure your joint is at room temperature
  • Pat the joint dry and roll in salt and pepper
  • Place in a roasting tin and insert your meat thermometer
  • Roast for 30 -35 minutes (longer for joints on the bone) or until 5ºF lower than the desired internal temperature is reached
  • Remove from the oven and place on plate or carving board. This will allow you to collect the juices which will run, cover in foil and cover in layers of towel to let the heat reach the centre of the joint, and prevent heat loss
  • Leave to rest like this for a further 30 mins
  • Meanwhile make gravy, adding the juices that have collected, and warm the plates.The meat will be cooked, tender but quite pink

Slow Roasting with Reverse Sear

Suitable for Beef Rib, Sirloin, Rump, Topside or Silverside or Lamb Rolled Shoulder and Gigot.

  • Heat Oven to 250ºF 125ºC Gas Mark 1
  • Ensure the joint is room temperature and pat dry
  • Roll in salt and pepper
  • Set in the roasting tin and insert meat thermometer. Place in the oven and cook for 4-7 hours until the 5º-10ºF less than the desired internal temperature is reached
  • Remove from oven and keep warm
  • Turn the oven right up to 400ºF 200ºC Gas Mark 6
  • Return the joint to the oven for 10-12 minutes to brown
  • Remove from the oven and place on a plate or carving board that will allow you to collect the running juices. Cover and keep warm for 10 minutes
  • Carve onto warm plates

Slow Pot Roasting

Suitable for Beef Silverside, Brisket, Lamb Shoulder or Gigot.

Gilly discovered this method of doing a pot roast from the book “Mourjou – The life and food of an Auverne Village", by Peter Graham. He was waiting for friends to arrive and they were very late, so the pot roast cooked for 7 hours!

  • Place the room temperature joint in a casserole with a close-fitting lid and push carrots, onions, parsnips and herbs all round and under the meat so that it is a tight fit
  • Add plenty of salt and pepper but no water
  • Place in a cool oven 300ºF 150ºC Gas Mark 2
  • After 90 mins check that some liquid has begun to seep out of the joint. If not, add about 200ml of water. But resist adding water if you can!
  • After 4 hours the level of liquid should be 1/2 way up the casserole. Turn the meat over
  • After 7 hours the liquid should be over the joint
  • Serve (with a spoon!)