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Ensuring a successful roast

Roasting should be trouble-free, but here are some general rules:

  • Weigh the meat to calculate cooking time, but remember that cooking times
    are meant only as a general guide, and a long, thin piece of meat will take
    less time to cook than a thick round one of the same weight.

  • Before putting the meat on to cook, allow time to preheat the oven to the
    required temperature and this may take 15 minutes or more.

  • Put the meat on a wire rack or trivet in a baking dish. This keeps the
    meat off the bottom of the tin where the melting fat accumulates, and allows
    the heat to penetrate the meat more evenly as it circulates around it.

  • Beef and lamb should be cooked at 230C for 20 minutes first, to brown
    them. The temperature is then reduced and roasting completed according to the
    recipe. Roast pork does not need this initial browning as it is cooked at a
    higher temperature to ensure crisp crackling.

  • Halfway through the cooking time, check the meat. If it is well browned on
    top, turn it over and baste it with the melted fat and juices in the bottom of
    the pan.

  • Lamb and beef must reach an internal temperature of 60C to be rare, 70C to
    be medium pink and 80C to be well done. Pork and chicken must reach 85C. A
    meat thermometer inserted directly into the center of the meat eliminates
    guesswork. It should be positioned when the roasting is almost complete, and
    should not touch any bones or the baking dish as both of these conduct heat.

  • When the cooking time is up, stand the roast on a warm serving platter in
    a warm place to relax and firm up, or leave it to rest in the turned-off oven
    with the door ajar while you make the gravy.

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