Roasting in a hot oven is the traditional way to cook large joints of meat. It is a very easy way to cook a meal for a large number of people. This method is suitable for any of the better quality, naturally tender cuts of meat weighing 950g or more. It is not suitable for humbler joints which need to be roasted with liquids for a longer period of time to encourage them to become tender.
1. Prepare the joint
Before cooking, remove the defrosted meat from its packaging and pat dry with kitchen paper. Allow the meat to 'bloom' and come to room temperature well in advance or for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
Plan ahead - take your joint out of the freezer to defrost two or three nights before cooking.
2. Preheat the oven
Preheat the oven to the required temperature (see table below). Starting with a very hot oven helps to seal the joint to prevent juices escaping. Then the temperature is reduced to cook evenly all the way through. Season the joint generously just before cooking.
Season at the last minute, otherwise the salt will draw out the juice, drying your meat.
3. Cook to your liking
Cook the meat for the recommended time (see table below), and/or use a digital meat thermometer. A large joint will continue to rise in temperature by a further 3-5ºC after it is removed from the oven. Be careful not to overcook, as this will make the meat dry and tough.
Meat thermometers are so easy to use and take all the guesswork out of roasting
4. Rest your joint
Once your joint is cooked to your liking it is important to rest it. Place it on a board or platter, cover loosely with foil, then leave in a warm place for at least 20 minutes. Resting is just as important as cooking, as it allows the meat to become warm, moist and tender all the way through.
You can rest large joints for up to 60 minutes in a warm oven
For carving we recommend a large wooden carving board. Ensure your carving knife is very sharp as it makes it so much easier to carve neat, even slices. Carve the meat across the grain into slices approximately ½cm (¼") or more thick and arrange on a serving dish or individual plates.
Put a non-slip mat or damp tea towel underneath your carving board to help prevent it slipping.