Best Cooking Time - Techniques - Methods - Flavors

Cooking Times For Roast Beef - Click Here For Roasting Times

But First - What Is "Roast Beef" ?

We can't just go to the grocery store and just ask for a "roast beef" if we want to prepare a superb dinner. Unfortunately, roast beef can be defined as any section beef cut to the size of a roast that can be roasted, and too many grocery stores take that definition literally.

You can roast any piece of beef, but many of them will not turn out well using a dry roasting process. This is one of those situations that makes it important to have a good butcher who will know that there are certain beef cuts that will roast well, and who will guide you in making the right choice.

Part of the mix-up might be due to the word "roast." A roast is a piece of meat large enough to feed more than one person, as opposed to a steak which is smaller since it is cut from a roast. But to roast also means to cook in a manner similar to baking in an oven, but often at a higher temperature and with the use of some fat, either added or as part of the food.

Roasting is a dry heat method which will not tenderize meat. So to roast successfully you need to start with tender, well marbled meat.

So what are the cuts of beef that will make good roast beef? They are usually cuts from the rib, loin, or leg section and include:

  • prime rib roast aka rib roast
  • boneless prime rib roast aka rib eye roast
  • fillet of beef
  • whole strip aka top loin roast
    top (inside) round

We will have pages dedicated to each of these cuts of beef in the near future, so be sure to check back.

Cut The Fat Or Add Fat?

If your roast is covered with a lot of fat, you will not be able to easily season the meat. You could season the fat, but that will likely be removed before serving. But, if your roast has very little fat it can dry out during the cooking process.

Consider trimming the fat on a fatty roast so that there is a thin layer which will baste the meat during cooking. Then you can season the meat. If there is very little fat consider barding (covering with fatback or salt pork.) Just season the meat first and then tie fat over the seasoned meat with butcher's twine. This will help to keep the roast from drying out while roasting, but it will prevent development of the crust often desired in roasts.

Method Depends on Size

Cooking times for roasting beef will depend on the size of the roast.

It is always best to cook the meat after taking the refrigerator chill off the meat by removing it from the refrigerator and leaving it on the counter for one to two hours before roasting. Do not forget that you have meat sitting out! Set an alarm. Letting the meat sit out longer than two hours is flirting with a foodborne illness.

All roasts should be roasted uncovered. Roasting can be done anywhere between 250 degrees F and up to 450 or even 500 degrees F. Smaller roasts should be roasted at higher temperatures than larger roasts so that a crust can develop by the time the meat is done. Larger roasts are often started at higher temperatures to develop the crust and finished at lower temperatures. They can also be given a second blast of high heat near the end of the cooking process to further develop the crust. A cut such as the strip loin can be seared before roasting since the roasting process will not be long enough to give it a good crust.

The following table lists common cooking times for meats that make excellent "Roast Beef."





Prime Rib 3 Bone450 F. for 15 min then 350 F. for 1 hrto 125 F. for rare
Prime Rib 4 Bone450 F. for 15 min then 350 F. for1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours to 125 F. for rare
Prime Rib 5 Bone450 F. for 15 min then 350 F. for 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 hours to 125 F. for rare
Prime Rib 6 Bone450 F. for 15 min then 350 F. for 3 to 3 1/4 hours to 125 F. for rare
Prime Rib 7 Bone450 F. for 15 min then 350 F. for 3 1/4 to 4 hours to 125 F. for rare
Boneless Prime Rib
Rib Eye Roast
325 F. 28 to 33 min per lb. to 140 F. for medium
Fillet of Beef425 F. 45 to 60 min total to 140 F. for medium
Whole Strip
Top Loin Roast
450 F. for 15 minthen 350 for 15 to 18 min per 140 F. for medium
Top (Inside) Round450 F. for 15 min30 - 35 min per 140 F. for medium

Flavors That Go


Olive Oil
Worcestershire Sauce
Beef Stock
Bay leaf
Chili Powder
Dry Red Wine
Soy Sauce
Sour Cream
Dijon Mustard



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