Whole beef roasts, namely beef tenderloin and standing rib roasts, are holiday dinner fare classics. The idea is that you create a show-stopping roast that not only looks delicious but fills the house with a mouth-watering aroma.
When you serve it, the meat is supposed to be juicy and done to your liking on the inside with a nicely seasoned and browned crust on the outside.
But, that doesn’t always happen. Whole roasts can pose a challenge.
For one thing, they are a good size hunk of meat and that alone is intimidating. And you’ve probably shelled out some hard-earned coin for it — beef prices are up 20% this year — so you want it perfect.
Here are six steps to help you along.
Step 1: Figure out how much you need
Bone-in roasts: Figure about one-pound per person. A 10-pound roast will feed 8-10 people.
Boneless: Allow about a half-pound per person, which should yield about a 6-ounce piece. A 3-pound tenderloin would feed 6 people.
Step 2: Choose your roast
Beef tenderloin: This is a superior tender cut of meat and boneless. It's leaner, but should have some marbling. You'll probably order it whole and have the butcher trim it so you have a nice, even piece.
Standing rib roasts: You will see these offered as first cut and end cut, bone-in or boneless. The first cut is closer to the strip and therefore leaner. The end cut is closer to the chuck and little more fatty. With either cut, make sure there is at least a thin layer of fat. This helps keep it moist and juicy during cooking.
Step 3: Prepare for roasting
For either roast, place the meat on a rimmed platter and pat dry using paper towels. Set it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours if time allows. If desired, season all over with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (use a coarse grind) and any favorite seasoning (such as dried thyme or garlic) or rub. Or you can marinate with your favorite marinade.
Step 4: Roast
If you've refrigerated the roast, remove one hour before roasting and let it come to room temperature.
Standing rib roast:
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Place the roast on a rack set in a large roasting pan, fat side facing up in a large pan. Roast for 30 minutes or until a nice crust forms. Reduce the temperature to 325 degrees. Continue roasting, figuring about 15 minutes per pound.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the tenderloin and sear it until nicely browned on all sides. Transfer the tenderloin to a rimmed baking sheet and place it in the oven. Cook for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue cooking another 20 minutes.
Step 5: Check for doneness
Be sure to use an instant-read thermometer to test the temperature. Keep in mind you will be removing the roast before its final temperature as it will continue to cook while it rests.
Final temperatures according to certifiedangusbeef.com:
Rare: 125 degrees
Medium rare: 135 degrees
Medium: 145 degrees
Medium well: 1450 degrees
Step 6: Let it rest
This last step is most important. Never ever, slice meat when you first take it out of the oven. Let it rest at least 10 minutes or longer for bone-in meat.
Roasted Whole Beef Tenderloin
Serves: 8-10 / Preparation time: 20 minutes / Total time: 1 hour (plus standing and marinating time)
Have the butcher trim the tenderloin for you. Cut the tenderloin so you have one even center cut. Roast the tapered end separately and for less time than the center cut.
1 whole beef tenderloin (about 5 pounds), trimmed
⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
⅓ cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
2 cloves crushed garlic
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
¼ teaspoon dried crushed rosemary leaves
FOR THE SAUCE
1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of butter
You will need an ovenproof skillet large enough to hold the whole tenderloin, or you can cut it in half or use a heavy-duty roasting pan that will fit over two burners and can take direct high heat.
Trim the beef tenderloin of any fat. Place the tenderloin in a sealable plastic bag. In a glass measure, whisk together the vinegar, ⅓ cup olive oil, garlic, soy sauce and rosemary. Pour the marinade over the beef and seal the bag. Marinate at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add the marinated tenderloin, discarding marinade, and sear about 3 minutes on all sides until browned and crusty. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast about 20 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. (If the skillet or pan becomes too dry, add a little beef broth or water.) For medium-rare, the internal temperature should register about 120 to 125 on an instant-read thermometer.
Remove the roast from the oven and transfer to a platter. Tent with foil and let it rest 10 to 20 minutes before slicing.
For the sauce: In the skillet the tenderloin was roasted in, add the beef broth. Heat over high heat, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Whisk in the balsamic vinegar and continue heating. Whisk in the butter until the sauce thickens slightly.
Slice the tenderloin and serve drizzled with sauce.
From and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
499 calories (53% from fat), 30 grams fat (11 grams sat. fat), 2 grams carbohydrates, 53 grams protein, 236 mg sodium, 167 mg cholesterol, 0 grams fiber.
Herb-seasoned Standing Beef Rib Roast
Serves: 6 to 8 / Prep time: 25 minutes / Total time: About 3 hours
4 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground mixed or black peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 standing bone-in beef roast, about 5 to 7 pounds
FOR THE GRAVY
1.5 ounces packaged demi-glace (see note)
2 ¼ cups water, divided
¼ to ½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup dry red wine
In a mortar and using a pestle, crush garlic and kosher salt together to form a paste. (Alternately, crush together in a bowl with the bottom of a wooden spoon, or use a mini food processor.) Add pepper, thyme, paprika and olive oil, mixing to form a paste. Rub the paste all over the roast, coating it well. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and let stand at room temperature 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees 30 minutes before putting the roast in oven. Place roast, bone-side-down, in a large roasting pan and roast 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and continue roasting about 1 hour, 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 120 degrees for medium-rare. (The temperature will rise during the standing time.)
While the roast is cooking, prepare the gravy base. Combine the demi-glace, 2 cups water and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the demi-glace. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Whisk flour and remaining ¼ cup cold water together. Whisk into the simmering liquid and continue cooking at a simmer 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
When the roast is done, transfer to a carving board and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let rest 20-30 minutes before carving. Pour fat out of roasting pan and place pan over two burners on medium heat. When hot, deglaze pan with wine, stirring to dissolve any caramelized juices; simmer 3 minutes. Pour gravy into pan and simmer a couple of minutes, stirring often, to blend the flavors. Transfer to a warmed gravy bowl and serve with the beef.
Cook’s note: Look for packaged demi-glace in gourmet stores and some grocery stores.
Adapted from “Williams-Sonoma Christmas Entertaining” (Free Press, $24.95).
Gravy tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen and roast tested by the Seattle Times.
Contact Susan Selasky at 313-222-6872 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @SusanMariecooks on Twitter.
Support local journalism and become a digital subscriber to the Free Press.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: 6 easy steps, recipe for cooking holiday beef roasts