You Asked for It: Not Just Another Beef

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Last month, we rolled out the Nino’s welcome mat and asked what YOU’D like to know.

  • What culinary question is awaiting our answer?’
  • What cooking tip would make your recipe a success?
  • What kitchen secret has eluded you?
  • Which gastronomic secrets are still left unknown in the universe?

From burnt toast (sorry Nino’s office staff) to fallen soufflés and broken sauces, we’re here to help you solve those small (and not so small) challenges that have (up until now) gone unresolved.

Well guess what? We put out the word, and YOU came through! Thanks for your suggestions!

Our first “You Asked for It” question comes from Heather L. from Youngstown, Ohio. Now THAT’S a loyal Nino’s customer! She says, “I love a good, rare roast beef. I have in mind eating it freshly cooked then having leftovers for sandwiches and salads. I have tried a number of times with a number of recipes, different cooking temperature systems, etc. using block roasts, rump roasts, chuck roasts and have never been completely pleased with the results. How do you do a basic roast beef?”

Well Heather, “YOU ASKED FOR IT.” Might this month be more appropriately titled “What’s Your Beef?”

First, let me begin by saying that it’s quite likely that you’ve been doing some things right. In this case, however, I’m guessing that the small things you are doing wrong are making ALL the difference in your results.

Let’s start first with the meat:

If you’re looking for a roast beef dinner and sandwiches for later, you really need to start with a muscle that is relatively tender. That immediately excludes Chuck, Eye of the Round, Bottom Round, Flank, Brisket or any other muscle that the animal uses for locomotion or that gets A LOT of exercise.

You CAN use a Rump Roast but ONLY if it’s cut from the TOP Round ONLY. Fortunately for you, that’s what we have at Nino’s. Other great choices include Sirloin Roast, Rib Roasts, and (I probably don’t have to even tell you) Tenderloin Roasts. The least expensive of ALL these choices will likely be the Top Round Rump Roast, so I’ll use this as an example because all your other choices in this category will only be more tender.

After you have selected your meat and are ready to cook it, you’re going to do two things:

  1. Apply a DRY rub. I like Char-Crust® Original Rub. And you’re going to apply it liberally to the surface of the entire roast.
  2. Heat a nonstick skillet to medium-high heat. Then spray the exterior of your rubbed roast with some vegetable spray and sear it on all sides (about 3 to 4 minutes per side) until it has a nice brown color.

Now that your meat has a nice brown color, you don’t need to roast it at a high temperature to GET that color, which means you can roast it as low as 275 F. This will accomplish two things:

  1. It will increase the yield and minimize the loss of juices, which makes the meat (of course) more juicy and tender.
  2. It will provide more of an edge-to-edge doneness of rare to medium rare rather than a large ring of medium-well doneness, with a smaller core of what you really enjoy.

Place your roast on a rack in a roasting pan. This will allow your roast to get a full circulation of convected air rather sitting on the pan’s metal surface and cooking unevenly.

Depending on your personal preference of doneness, roast until the internal temperature of the meat is 5 F less than you want. Then remove it from the oven, and let the carryover heat (kind of a heat inertia) take it up to your final cooked temperature.

Therefore, if you want medium-rare (140 F), remove the roast from the oven when the internal temperature is 135 F, and it will continue to rise about 5 more degrees while it rests. Resting is another key. You should let your meat sit AT LEAST 10 minutes before you carve it. This will allow the meat tissue to reabsorb some of the juices and give you a juicer piece of meat.

One last point on the roasting part: Invest in an “Insta-Read” thermometer, which (as the name suggests) will quickly and accurately read the meat’s internal temperature, so you will know exactly when it’s done.

For more information on meat doneness, Nino’s has a Roasting Guide on our website, which can give you the correct temperatures for all sorts of meats.

Finally, how you carve your roast can also improve its tenderness.

As you move down from Beef Tenderloin to its somewhat less-tender alternatives, you ALSO have to slice your roast thinner. For example, Tenderloin can be sliced at nearly 2 inches thick and still be tender, Rib-Eye (Prime Rib) at 1 to 1 ½ inches, and Sirloin at an inch or so. But when you get down to Top Round, I recommend ¼-inch thick when enjoyed hot and half that thick (1/8 inch) when sliced cold for sandwiches.

Okay, here you have it! You have more than enough roasting knowledge to make a dangerously delicious dinner and some sandwiches the next day.

Thank you, Heather, for your great question. We’re going to send you an I Love Nino’s Apron and a $25.00 Nino’s gift card for your enjoyment.

If you have a cooking question, just leave a comment below. I do my best to answer all of your questions promptly. AND if I happen to use your question to create a video for Nino’s TV, we’ll send you a Nino’s apron and a $25.00 Nino’s gift certificate.