The holiday roast can provoke anxiety in even the most experienced cook, but this roast guide will help you put a fabulous feast on the table without too much drama.
Here is the Ultimate Holiday Roast Guide!
Kitchen Tools For Roast Preparation:
A good roast requires proper tools. Two items are essential: a fairly sturdy, shallow sided roasting pan and a digital meat thermometer. Useful but not essential is a good pair of tongs. All items are affordable and your investment will pay handsome returns.
How Do I Cook a Roast?
Let’s first clarify what a roast is. A beef roast is a large section of meat that is cooked whole, then sliced into portions to serve. Roasts can be made from many different parts of the steer, but the chuck (shoulder) and rib are most common. Some roasts are all one muscle and yield a consistent texture throughout; some are groups of muscles together (for instance, a whole brisket includes two separate muscles, the "first cut" and "second cut" —the second cut is more marbled than the first). Depending on their shape, some roasts may come netted to help them stay together while cooking (remove the net before slicing).
There are two main cooking methods for a roast:
- Braising in liquid at low heat
- Roasting dry in high heat
1. Braising (Low & Slow)
The braising technique is best for tougher cuts: after several hours of slow simmering, the connective tissues breakdown and yield fork-tender delicious meat. This meat can be sliced or shredded, depending on how you like it and how long you cook it. It's really difficult to 'overcook' a braising roast, so this is a good technique if you are new to roasts or planning a hectic cooking schedule where you may forget to check on the meat for a while— an extra 20 minutes won't make a difference.
Basic Braising Method:
Sear roast on all sides in a hot frying pan or dutch oven (if roast is very large, you can do this step in a 425°F oven for about 5-8 minutes). Transfer roast to a crock pot or Dutch Oven. Add aromatics if desired (onions, herbs) and braising liquid (beer, wine, water, broth). Liquid should cover the bottom 2-3 inches of the roast (entire roast should be covered for Deckel and Kalakel). Cover tightly. Cook at a low temperature (250°F) for 4-10 hours or until meat is very tender.
2. Roasting (High Heat):
High heat techniques are best for tender roasts from the Rib. We recommend using a meat thermometer (even better: a model with a probe that can stay in the oven during cooking) so you can avoid overcooking the roast. These roasts can get tough when cooked for too long. Remember, they'll continue to rise about 10°F after you take them out of the oven, so remove before you hit your desired doneness.
Basic High Heat Method:
Season with spices or black pepper if desired. Sear on all sides in a frying pan or Dutch oven. Cook until a thermometer reads your desired internal temperature (remember, temperature will continue to rise 5-10 degrees after you take it out of the oven. Roasts should rest 15-20 minutes before serving.) We recommend cooking roasts at 375-425°F.
Which Roast Is Right For Me?
Brisket is everyone’s tried and true favorite. But did you know there are so many more roasts to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics?
Allow us to take you off the beaten track to explore some of the lesser-known and yet still amazing roasts from Grow and Behold. Keep in mind, we generally budget about 1/3lb. meat per person– and roasts are great for leftovers.
If you like a slow-cooked roast with liquid, try:
- Brisket (whole, first cut, second cut)
- Deckel - benefits from long cooking time, 8-10 hrs in liquid
- Kalakel - cook overnight in liquid
- Chuck roast - can be cooked for a few hours if you want to serve as slices, or cook longer to shred and serve like pot roast
- Minute roast - cook for a long time at a low temperature; will stay as nice slices, not shredded meat
- Top of the rib - an evenly marbled roast, somewhere between 1st and 2nd cut brisket in terms of marbling
- Pastrami roast - this is the cut we use to make pastrami (not actually seasoned like pastrami) – very well marbled
This brisket boasts Persian influenced spices, most are common pantry staples, giving it a rich and complex flavor. Tart limes balance out the hearty meat, braised in a combination of coffee, red wine and both.
These tender roasts stand up well to fast cooking at high temperatures:
- Beef tenderloin
- Shoulder roast
- Rib roast
- French roast
If you like a very lean roast, we suggest:
- Shoulder roast
- Beef Tenderloin
This cut of meat can be compared to a brisket in terms of its cooking method and texture. The difference is that the top of the rib is smaller and tenderer.
For a juicy and well-marbled roast try:
- French roast - can be cooked low and slow or fast and hot
- Rib roast - this is a high-end roast for slicing
- Top of the rib
- Chuck roast
- Pastrami roast
- Minute roast
This comforting Deckel with Root Vegetables is cooked slowly. It is an entire meal-in-one for any occassion.
If you’re new to meat, or looking for something new, here’s a simple brisket preparation that will be sure to delight one and all.
This flavorful and mouthwatering Shoulder Roast with Garlic and Herbs is cooked on high heat after resting in a Garlic Herb Rub marinade.
Naftali Hanau grew up around the corner from the kosher butcher, and has loved meat from a young age. He eventually learned shechita and founded our favorite kosher meat company, Grow and Behold Foods, which sells delicious OU Glatt kosher pastured meat to customers all over the USA. Naf joins us here at JOY of KOSHER with Jamie Geller every month to break down various cuts of meat, serve up his secret recipes and answer your "meaty" questions. Post comments below, or contact Naf directly firstname.lastname@example.org.
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