Cooking Techniques: A step-by-step guide to roasting large cuts of meat

Many of us remember Mom’s pot roast, baked to perfection surrounded by potatoes and carrots, served with thick, wonderful gravy and large, fresh biscuits.  It was a meal that would hold us for days if necessary.  Roasting large cuts of meat can be intimidating for the first timer and the oven isn’t always the best way to go.  Now you can use a rotisserie oven or even the grill, if you’re feeling adventurous.  Beef, venison, pork, and lamb cooked using any of these modern conveniences delivers a tasty punch that requires a nap afterwards.  Here are a few pointers on how to roast these cuts of meat.

A large roast, spitted on a rotisserie and laid over flaming, hot coals emanate an aroma that brings out the most stalwart of neighbor.  The investment of a rotisserie for your grill can be made at any store that carries grills and is a wise purchase.  They attach easily and can either come as an electric attachment for even browning and cooking.  The roast slides on and turns until perfectly done with the grease sizzling on the coals and creating a smoky flavor.  All of the meats crusted with whole peppercorns, garlic cloves and sea salt are a mouth-watering addition to any barbecue.

The old-fashioned method of putting your roast in the oven is still tried and true.  This is the recipe your mother learned from her mother and passed along to the children.  A beef roast in a baking pan surrounded by whole red potatoes, a few shallots, and carrots fill a house with a scent that can only be described as heavenly.  However, other roasts can be done in the same fashion but with different ingredients.  Venison can be done much like beef.  Pork in a pan of sauerkraut served with fluffy mashed potatoes and a loaf of hearty brown bread is an old European recipe that quickly warms the soul on a cold winter day.  Finally, lamb can be rubbed with olive oil, mushrooms and rosemary, with some garlic tucked into the flesh and roasted to perfection.  Your oven should be preheated to 325 degrees for lamb, venison and beef and 350 degrees for pork.  You should lay the meat fat side up so it slides down the sides and bastes as it cooks.

Finally, there can never been enough caution about checking meat for doneness.  Recipes and charts can only give estimations about when a roast is done and times will vary depending upon the weight, shape, whether there is a bone, and how you are cooking it.  Always utilize an instant meat thermometer preferably the digital kind.  This is a great investment and circumvents the potential for illness from undercooked meat.  You want to stick the thermometer into the center of the meat while avoiding any bone and you’ll get an immediate reading.  For rare you want a temperature of 130 degrees, 160 for medium, 170 for medium well and 180 for well done.  Pork should always be cooked to 160 degrees.  Pork juices will run clear when the meat is finished cooking but always double check with your thermometer.  Beef, lamb and venison juices will be red for rare, pink for medium and clear for well done.

Roasting large cuts of meat shouldn’t be an intimidating task but can be if you’re new to it.  Using the oven is a tried and true recipe from your mother’s kitchen.  However, for the person who wants a better flavor, a rotisserie grill can bring new flavors and a beautiful piece of meat to the table.  Lastly, test your meat for doneness no matter what the method to prevent food borne illness.  Surprise your family tonight with a wonderful roast of beef, venison, pork or lamb.