Cooking A Roast – All You Need To Know
For Great Taste And Easy Roasting


Cooking a roast is a traditional way to share food with friends and family. Here you can learn how to cook roast, such as how to roast beef, as well as some tricks to a memorable meal.

Cooking a roast is one of the easiest and most enjoyable meals you can make. The main reason I like them (other then taste) is that once they’re in the oven, you can pretty much forget about them until it’s time to eat.

There’s lots and lots of roast recipes out there, and I think some have gotten too clever for their own good. I’ve seen recipes where you need to apply some special marinade, or you need to place various herbs and spices inside the meat, or you slow cook them over several days. For me, none of that is necessary and cooking a roast needn’t be that complicated

What I hope to show you in this section is how to get great tasting roasts with a minimum of fuss. Who wants to spend all their time in the kitchen when there’s family and friends to spend time with? Not me.

If you're looking for roast and meat cooking times, click here.

Quality of Meat

You may have noticed I go on a bit about quality on this website, and it’s no different here! Whatever cut of meat you choose, please try and get the best quality you can afford. I have found that the best quality cuts come direct from my local butcher, not the supermarket.

A good butcher will help you choose something good, and will even cut something to your specification if you ask. A supermarket simply can’t offer this service, and since they buy in bulk they can’t guarantee a good uniform quality (in my opinion).

Get the best you can, and you will really notice the difference. If you’re going to spend a couple of hours cooking a roast, you may as well make the wait worthwhile!

What to Roast

There’s many different foods you can roast, and they’re not limited to meat either. Potatoes and other vegetables taste fantastic when roasted and usually I’ll cook them right alongside the meat.

  • Chicken / Turkey: The best tip here is to go for a free-range bird. They taste much better than birds farmed more intensively, shall we say. Before roasting, make sure the cavity is empty (sometimes the giblets might be in there in a plastic bag, which would be awful when roasted). You can add some stuffing in there, which will make the bird plumper and tastier, just make sure you stuff it just before roasting.

  • Lamb: Easily my favourite roast – I just love the succulent taste and tenderness of it. The great thing about lamb is that most cuts can be roasted and remain tender. My favourite cuts are leg (with the bone still in, as it roasts just that little better on the inside. It does make it a little trickier to carve, though), rack of lamb, and loin.

  • Beef: Cooking roast beef is something many people enjoy, and it’s not surprising. Like lamb, beef is pretty versatile when it comes to roasting. The best cuts are rib roast (more expensive but very, very nice), rib eye fillet and whole rump. Rib roasts still contain the bones, but you can carve them really easily so everyone gets one (basically you end up with rib-eye steak). Rumps are cheaper cuts but carve really easily as they have no bone. They can be a little tough, so try to get good quality ones.

  • Pork: Cooking a roast pork isn’t something I have all that often. Maybe because it’s a little tougher than red meat on average. But that said, if you roast pork fillet it tastes great (but it is expensive, as you’d expect!). Other good cuts for roasting are loin and rack or pork.

  • Vegetables: Usually the only accompaniments I have with roasts are roast potatoes and carrots. I might steam some other vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, beans or peas. When roasting potatoes and carrots, always put them in the same roasting tray with the meat. That way they get the benefit of the juices from the meat. Baste them regularly, too – at least twice during cooking. If you don’t have enough room to fit them in the roasting tray, then you can roast them separately but I have found that adding some animal fat to be fantastic. Apparently goose fat is the best, but I haven’t tried that yet. It’s a good idea to save some of the leftover fat (it’s called dripping) from roasting and store in the fridge. Then you can use it on your potatoes and other vegetables.

How to Roast

Cooking a roast is easy! Place meat in a roasting tray, brush some canola oil over it and place in the oven for the specified time. Then carve and eat.

Well, that might be easy but a little care and preparation beforehand will make it much better.

The first thing is to work out how long to cook the meat for. Here’s some guidelines that have served me well:

  • Lamb and Beef: 60 minutes per kilogram (equivalent to 30 minutes per pound), at 180° Celsius / 350° Fahrenheit / Gas Mark 4 / Moderate oven. This will give you a medium roast, so cook less or for longer depending on whether you want rare or well done.

  • Pork: 90 minutes per kilogram (40 minutes per pound), at 180° Celsius / 350° Fahrenheit / Gas Mark 4 / Moderate oven.

  • Chicken: 60 minutes per kilogram (equivalent to 30 minutes per pound), at 180° Celsius / 350° Fahrenheit / Gas Mark 4 / Moderate oven.

  • Turkey: 3-3½ hours for a 5-6 kilogram (11-13 pound) bird, or 4-4½ hours for a 6½-8 kilogram (14-18 pound) bird, at 180° Celsius / 350° Fahrenheit / Gas Mark 4 / Moderate oven.

  • Potatoes and Carrots: Peel and cut the potatoes and carrots in half and roast for 60 minutes at 180° Celsius / 350° Fahrenheit / Gas Mark 4 / Moderate oven. Place in the same roasting tray as the meat, and baste with the meat juices where possible.

Click here for a complete list of roast meat cooking times for oven and barbecue.

Resting After Roasting

No, not you – the meat! After cooking a roast, it’s very important to let the meat rest. The reason for this is so the fibres of the meat can relax and let the juices flow through. This gives a more succulent and memorable taste. All you need to do is remove the meat from the roasting tray and play on the carving tray. Then cover with tin foil and leave for 10-15 minutes. Don’t worry about it getting cold – there’s more than enough heat in there. Just keep it covered.

And that’s it! All that remains is to carve the meat, serve up and enjoy. You can also make some gravy if you so desire from the juices remaining in the roasting tray.



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