Tips and Recipe for Cooking the Perfect Roast Beef

The Perfect Roast Beef. GettyImages

There is no better known British meal than Roast Beef and Yorkshire Puddings. This pairing is the national dish of Great Britain and loved by almost everyone. Cooking the perfect roast beef is not that difficult, just follow the tips and recipe below. 

First, you need to choose your beef, now how much you need, easily figure out the cooking times and temperatures, cook, rest and serve. It really is that simple.


1. Choosing the Beef

The best joints for roast beef are either a Rib of Beef, a Sirloin or a Fillet. Rib works well as usually it will be cooked on the bone as keeping the bone in makes for a tastier piece of beef when cooked but both Sirloin and Fillet are also very good.
The beef should be:

  • Dark in colour - meaning it has been hung well and is mature.
  • A thick covering of fat which adds flavour and prevents the joint from drying out during cooking. This layer can be removed before serving so no need to worry too much about excess fat.
  • Marbling: Marbling is small slivers of fat running through the flesh which again adds flavour and prevents drying out during cooking.

2. How Much to Buy

  • 5½ lb  /2.5kg bone in will feed 6
  • 3 lb / 1.5kg boned will feed 6

Don't worry about buying too much as cold roast beef makes great sandwiches or it can be added to a plate of cold cuts.

3. How to Cook

The beef should always be at room temperature.

Stand the beef joint in a roasting tin, season generously with salt and pepper then cook to the temperature and time below depending on how you like your beef cooked. 

4. Cooking Times and Temperatures

Start the beef in a very hot oven 220°C/425 °F/Gas 7 for the first 30 mins then lower the temperature to 190°C/375°F/Gas5 for the remaining cooking time based on how you like your beef when cooked.

  • Rare - 11 mins per 450g / lb
  • Medium - 14 mins per 450g / lb
  • Well done - 16 mins per 450g / lb
  • These times are based on a normal convection oven, you may want to adjust for a fan oven according to your manufacturer's instructions.

Another way to work out the cooking time is to use a meat thermometer pushed into the thickest part of the beef.

  • 60°C/140° F - rare
  • 70°C/160F - medium
  • 80°C/175°F - well done

5. Rest, Rest, Rest

An important part of cooking any meat is once it is removed from the oven the meat must rest. Wrap the meat loosely in aluminium foil and put to one side. The fibres in meat tighten up during cooking and resting allows the fibres to relax, release some of the meat juices (great for the gravy) and results in a soft tender piece of meat. 20 minutes should be long enough but up to an hour won't do any harm. The joint is then ready to carve.

Don't Forget the Gravy

Watch the How to Video on Tips for Making Roast Beef