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8 Steps to creating roast beef heaven on earth

Justina Huddleston is an editor and the head writer for TDmonthly Magazine. She has been a freelance writer for several years, though her real passion is cooking. You can see the recipes she creates on her vegan food blog, A Life of Litt...

Follow these tips for primo prime rib and roast beef

No meal has a wow factor like a perfectly cooked roast. Think brown, savory crust and tender, juicy interior. But cooking a big roast can be tricky. Luckily, these tips will take some of the mystery out of your meat, helping you to make a totally Instagram-worthy meal that you and any dinner guests will love.

1. Choose your meat

Rib roasts

Bone-in prime rib cuts include the first rib roast (tender, most rib-eye), center-rib roast (less rib-eye, still quite tender), and the sixth and seventh rib roast (fattier, tougher, but some say more flavorful). Boneless prime rib roasts are sometimes called Delmonico or rib-eye roasts.

Loin roasts

Strip loin, tenderloin and top sirloin roasts are tender, but lean. Sirloin tip and tri-tip roasts are a little tougher to begin with, but they have more fat, which breaks down during cooking for flavorful, juicy meat.

Round roasts

Some round roasts are quite tough and best used for stews or in wet cooking methods (like pot roast). Others, like eye of round, top round, inside round, outside round and rump roasts are OK for making roast beef — they won't get as tender, but they'll have good flavor and tend to be less expensive than rib or loin roasts.

2. Salt it ahead of time

Salting the meat a day ahead of time will season the meat more deeply, and the salt, along with a rest in the fridge overnight, uncovered, will keep the surface of the roast dry. This will help you get the most browning when it's in the oven.

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3. Bring it to room temperature

Let the roast come to room temperature before you cook it. Letting it rest on the counter for about an hour before it goes in the oven will help it cook evenly.

4. Use a rack

Cook your roast on a rack in a roasting pan. The even flow of air around the meat will help it cook and brown evenly. You can even roast the meat directly on the oven rack, with an aluminim tray below to catch any drippings.

5. Cook it low and slow

Cooking your roast at a low temperature for a long time will help it cook evenly. Roasting at a high heat will cause the exterior to brown before the center is cooked. Aim to cook your meat at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour per pound.

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6. Use a thermometer

More reliable than time alone, an instant-read probe thermometer will help you gauge the exact doneness of your meat. You want to take your meat out of the oven when it's about five degrees short of your desired final temperature (final temperature for rare is 125 degrees F, medium rare is 130-135, medium is 145).

7. Reverse sear

As The Food Lab explains, cooking your roast for maximum tenderness makes it hard to get that flavorful sear you want. So try what's called a reverse sear — searing your roast after you've cooked it in the oven.

Let the meat rest for about 10 minutes when you take it out of the oven, then get ready to sear. You can finish it under the broiler, basting it with melted butter and turning frequently until browned and at your desired final temperature.

Or, you can sear in a pan, melting butter in a pan over high heat and adding the roast, turning frequently until browned on all sides and at your desired final temperature.

8. Let it rest

Let your meat rest before cutting into it. Since you cooked it low and slow there's less risk of losing juices, so you only need to wait about five minutes before slicing into your roast.

The next step? Decide what you want to do with the leftovers... if there are any!

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