When I lived in London, one of my favourite things to do on a Sunday was to take myself off to one of the capital’s many old fashioned pubs and order myself a Sunday roast with all the trimmings.
Living in a tiny studio flat in Soho, it was such a pleasure to be able sit at a cosy corner table, next to a roaring fire, eating the sort of thing I would have never cooked in my little kitchen. While there were plenty of different roasts on the menu, my all time favourite was that most British of dishes, Slow Roast Beef with all the trimmings.
A classic British Roast
If there is one national dish of England, it has to be roast beef. Served perfectly pink, with a big pot of gravy, vegetables and light and puffy Yorkshire puddings, it is a meal fit for a king. Of course, it can go horribly wrong, as there is nothing worse than tough overcooked grey meat, or a roast that is seared on the outside and still raw in the middle, so it’s good to have a fool-proof technique at the ready.
The secret to perfect Slow Roast beef
The secret to perfect roast beef is simple. You need to sear the beef in a pan for a perfect crust, then roast it at a very, very low temperature for a longer time.
This results in perfectly cooked, tender beef, evenly pink the whole way through. A lot of people swear by roasting the beed hot and fast, but I find this tends to make the meat tough, rather than perfectly tender.
The long cooking time is ideal, as in the meantime you can get on with making your sides, setting the table and maybe even having a cheeky glass of wine while the oven does all the work.
It’s important to know that if your oven does not have a low setting (80°C / 175°F) that this recipe is not suitable. See FAQ’s for an alternative.
Pro tip: Use a meat thermometer
It’s important when using this method to use a meat thermometer so you can keep an eye on the temperature, this is because the oven is so low, only 80°C / 175°F, that it will almost look like nothing is happening to the roast, so you have no visual clues to go on.
Using an inexpensive meat thermometer means you can relax and be assured that the roast is cooking properly.
It’s also vital that you take the beef out of the refrigerator at least an hour before you start to cook, and properly sear it in a hot frying pan before it goes in the oven. Allowing the beef to warm up to room temperature means it will cook evenly right through to the middle, and searing it properly gives you that lovely golden brown crust on the outside.
Low temperature roast beef cooking times
When using this low and slow method of cooking roast beef, the cooking time will vary depending on how thick your cut of beef is. Below is a table giving you a rough guide to help you plan, but as I’ve stated above, the very best and most reliable way to ensure your beef is cooked is to use a meat thermometer.
What to serve with Slow Roast Beef?
While the meat is resting, I like to make Yorkshire puddings, so I’ve included an easy recipe in the main recipe card, as well as a simple gravy. You can always serve the roast with potatoes instead.
A lovely big joint of meat like this deserves plenty of fresh vegetables too. Peas and green beans are the classic sides along with carrots or parsnips.
Do you cook a Sunday roast in your house? Or only for special occasions? Let me know in the comments below! xJ
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I make Slow Roast Beef in advance?
Slow Roast Beef can be cooked and served cold, or reheated – you’ll lose that lovely pink if it is reheated however.
What sides should I serve with roast beef?
Glazed vegetables are great as they can be cooked on the stovetop while the beef is in the oven. I always serve my roast with Yorkshire puddings too!
How can I tell the roast is cooked?
It’s important to use a meat thermometer for this roast, when the temperature is 60-62°C then the roast is done. I’d suggest using a digital ‘Instant Read’ thermometer, like this one, for the best results.
My oven does not have such a low temperature setting! How can I cook my roast?
You’ll need to sear the meat well, then roast at 200°C / 400°F for approximately 20 minutes per 500g / 1lb. of meat followed by a 15 minute rest. Again, please use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the roast for best and most accurate results.
More delicious Sunday roasts
I love a roast on the weekend! There’s nothing better than the aroma of a big roast slowing cooking in the oven to draw the family to the table with rumbling stomachs. Below are some of my most popular roast recipes:
- Pork Wellington: Juicy pork tenderloin wrapped in buttery puff pastry.
- Bavarian Roast Pork (Krustenbraten): With perfectly crispy crackling, this traditional roast is cooked in a dark beer sauce.
- Oktoberfest Roast Chicken: Juicy and delicious, a Wiesnhendl is fall off the bone tender and perfect with a ice cold beer.
- French Pot Roast Chicken: All made in one pot, this French style roast is the most succulent chicken you’ll ever have!
- Garlic and Herb Roast Salmon: Looking for a healthy and flavoursome roast that is ready in a flash? My recipe for roast salmon is super quick and extra tasty!
PERFECT SLOW ROAST BEEF RECIPE
- 1.2 kg (2.5 lb.) beef roast (see notes)
- 2 Tbsp neutral oil
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp ground sweet paprika powder
- sea salt and black pepper
for the gravy:
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 stick celery, roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic, halved
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp flour
- 125ml (½ cup) full-bodied red wine
- 500ml (2 cups) beef stock or bouillon
for the Yorkshire puddings:
- 4 Tbsp plain or all purpose flour
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 4 Tbsp milk
- 4 Tbsp water
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp neutral oil or duck fat
- IMPORTANT NOTE: Take the beef out of the refrigerator at least one hour before you want to start cooking.
- PREPARE: Heat the oven to 80°C / 175°F and place a roasting dish large enough to hold the beef on the middle rack. Rinse the beef and dry well with paper towel.
- SEAR THE BEEF: Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and the butter in a frying pan over a high heat. When the butter is hot and sizzling, brown the beef well on all sides. It’s important to get plenty of colour on the beef at this point as the slow cooking later will not colour the beef at all. It should take around 10 minutes in total.
- MAKE THE GLAZE: Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining oil, mustard and paprika.
- ROAST THE BEEF: When the beef is well browned on all sides, remove from the heat. Season generously with salt and pepper, then brush all over with the mustard mixture. Place in the preheated roasting dish, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat and roast in the oven for 2.5-3 hours until the thermometer reads or 60-62°C (140-144°F).
- MAKE THE GRAVY: To make the gravy, heat the butter in the pan that you browned the beef in. Cook the onion, celery and garlic over a medium heat, stirring until softened, around 10 minutes. Stir through the tomato paste and flour, cook for a further two minutes, then pour in the wine.
- THICKEN THE GRAVY: Use a wooden spatula or spoon to scrape up all the browned on flavour on the bottom of the pan, then stir in the beef stock. Simmer until thickened, season to taste with salt and pepper, then strain into a clean saucepan and keep warm.
- REST THE BEEF: When the beef is cooked, remove from the oven, cover with tinfoil and a tea towel and rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.
- MAKE YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS: To make the Yorkshire puddings, whisk together the flour and sea salt in a small bowl or jug. In a separate bowl whisk together the milk, water and egg, then stir the egg mixture into the flour until completely combined. Set aside for at least half an hour.
- COOK YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS: After the meat is out of the oven, turn the heat right up to 230°C / 450°F. Divide the oil or fat between 4 muffin tins and heat in the oven until smoking. When the fat is hot, quickly divide the batter between the tins. Return to the oven and cook without opening the oven door for 15 minutes until puffed and golden brown.
- SLICE AND SERVE: Serve the roast with gravy and Yorkshire puddings, I like to serve mine with honey glazed carrots and green beans.
- It is crucial that you take the meat out of the refrigerator at least one hour before you start to cook. This not only allows the meat to cook evenly through in the oven, but it will drastically reduce the amount of time it takes for the meat to reach the correct core temperature.
- The type of beef roast you use is really up to what is available. Silverside, topside, rump, sirloin and fore rib are all good options.
- In the US you might see cuts like Rib, short loin and round.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 774Total Fat: 50gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 282mgSodium: 538mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 65g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please leave a star rating in the recipe card and share it using the buttons below so that others can find it too!