At my house growing up Sunday family dinners often meant a beef roast which, while well intended, I distinctly remember being as dry as a leather belt (sorry Mom!). The thing is, when you’re serving a roast, the whole idea is that it’s the star of the show, the centrepiece of the feast table, and so we need to give it the star treatment in terms of how it’s cooked. The old way of cooking a roast was to sear on the stove to develop the crust (and make a mess of your stove) and then finish cooking in the oven. Because of the combination of the high heat used to sear the meat followed by a baking time that’s likely too long or hot, this technique makes it easy to end up with a dry end result. It’s a good method, but I’ve got a better one that’s nearly impossible to mess up – the reverse sear. Not only does it virtually guarantee that your roast is cooked to the perfect doneness all the way through, but it also renders the main dish of your feast make-ahead-friendly – oh yes, you certainly can prepare a roast the day before! Why does it work? Because it’s essentially like cooking sous vide without needing a water bath, a vacuum sealer, and one of those fancy temperature control thingys.
The reverse sear method is perfect for newbie and veteran cooks alike and allows you to cook a roast to your preferred level of doneness, and then create the crust in minutes right before serving. It allows meat to cook in a gentle, controlled way in order to yield the most tender results, every time. What’s more, the reverse sear method works the same on any cut of beef really, even thicker steaks – so you can splurge on a prime rib premium oven roast or opt for a more affordable cut like the sirloin tip like I used in this recipe – there’s lots of amazing options at your local Farm Boy to choose from! This is just the kind of back-pocket cooking technique that I love to share – I hope you enjoy it!
NOTE: This recipe is more of a technique/method than a recipe per se because cooking times depend on several factors including the cut of meat you’re working with, it’s size, whether it contains any bones, and the level of doneness you prefer. But don’t get nervous, you’re going to ace this! A meat thermometer will be the BEST tool for gauging doneness. If your oven has a built-in probe thermometer, I recommend using that. Otherwise, use whichever meat thermometer you have and try your best to insert the probe into the same spot each time you take a reading to avoid juices running out. As a guide, the doneness temperatures for beef are as follows:
Rare - 120F
Medium Rare – 130F
Medium – 140F
Medium-Well – 150F
Well Done – 160F+
Servings depend on size of roast. As a general rule: 1/2 pound per person