Meat meat meat for me to eat!
If you haven’t guessed by now – I love meat: the flesh of formerly living animals, the muscle tissue of those creatures slower and dumber than I. Do I feel any remorse? Ummmmmm..hell no. Yes I have killed critters with my own hands and prepared them for dinner. I will tell you right now - a fish just taken out of a body of water, gutted, scaled and fried up in a skillet is the best damn food on the face of the earth.
My second favorite meal is a nice beef roast. True, a cow can’t be lured into my oven by a worm on a hook, which means I have to resort to letting others do my butchery for me. I try to buy all my meat from Schuman’s or Thurn’s as I know I will be getting a quality product. However, there are times when I am walking through Meijers and see a deal I can’t resist. Meijers has a policy of selling vacuum packaged primals to the public from time to time at really great prices. I’ve bought whole pork loins (with ribs), and most recently, a sirloin “roast”. If this meat had been sliced, it would have become sirloin steaks. However, because I was brave and bought it without any further processing, I got a great deal.
I stood pawing over the pile of meat, wondering if I should buy one or two when a lady came up and asked me how I planned to cook such a big roast. I spent a few minutes telling her how to cook the roast, how to remove the silver skin on the outside, how to tell if the meat was medium or medium rare (temperature not time!). Bless her heart she jumped in and bought one. She said, “Thanks! They should hire you to teach people how to cook this stuff!”
This isn’t the first time it’s happened either. Consumers have become accustomed to having meat sold in small ready to cook portions. When confronted with a huge chunk of flesh, we are at a loss as how to deal with it. Fortunately, I was prepared, being raised by a stay-at-home mom who knew how to process her meats (Mom even had a bone saw!) and a couple books on meat preparation.
Don’t be scared of roasts. They are easier than you think. The first thing you are gonna need is a working knowledge of the cow. So get out there - the information is at your fingertips. Find out what parts are best for a nice dry heat spa treatment and which ones have to be braised. Next, get a really good instant read thermometer. I just picked up one of the “leave it in while the beast cooks” kind. Third, get a good roasting pan that is shallow and has a rack. I bought mine for $20 on clearance after the holidays – just keep an eye out. Lastly, get out a nice sharp slicing knife. A chef’s knife will do ok in a pinch, but I actually have a slicer so I use it.
You are now ready to process your chuck o’ beef.
Remove the meat from its plastic prison and rinse it in cold water in the sink. Exam it closely, note how it’s put together. This is a biology lesson of sorts - take advantage of it.
If the roast is covered with a whitish-silver membrane – it needs to come off. I usually get a good sharp paring knife and peel it off. (If you haven’t seen it yet - the latest Good Eats about beef tenderloin has a really good tutorial on how to peel off the membrane. Check it out.) Trim off any huge chunks of fat or connective tissue. Be brave - usually you would be paying extra because the butcher would be doing this for you! I saved any meaty bits and threw them in the freezer for the stock pot.
Fire up you oven to 450 degrees while you are doing this - we want a really hot oven!
Now that you have a trimmed roast, you are ready to season the meat. I use the slivers of garlic method: slice up some cloves of garlic, cut ‘lil holes in the roast with my paring knife and stuff in the garlic. It helps - really. The garlic will come out during slicing and it adds a great flavor to the roast. I used 5 cloves of garlic for this roast. Next, I make a rub out of kosher salt, cracked pepper and cumin – ummmmm I did not measure the amounts, but I would say 2 parts salt, 1.5 of pepper and .5 of cumin. The roast then gets a massage with the rub. Insert the “stay in the meat” thermometer probe (if you are using it) into the thickest part of the meat. I set mine for 122 for medium rare.
Place the meat into your roasting pan and then into the blazing hot oven. Cook for 30 to 45 minutes at 450 until it has a nice crust, then reduce heat to 350 and cook until done to the desired temperature. Remember about carryover cooking and take your roast out a little before your desired temperature is reached. The temperature will increase several degrees while it’s enjoying the sauna.
Once your roast has rested, about 15 – 20 minutes, then you are ready to slice.
Deglaze your pan - make a nice au jus or gravy. Live it up!
I love roast beast sandwiches, where the meat is sliced super thin. I eat it up with a nice horseradish mayo sauce.
Not too hard huh? The worst that would happen is that you would overcook the meat. Then you get to make hash from it! And that is a dish to be proud of in its own right.