• Despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, I still see recipes that insist you should cook meat at high temperature for the first twenty minutes or so to seal it and then lower the level for the rest of the cooking time. This has become the fashionable way and I’m not sure why. Maybe it has something to do with a lack of time in an age when both partners tend to work for a living. shopping list
  • What I am certain about is that this is not the best way to treat a prime roast. Nor does it ‘seal’ it. Let’s put this myth to bed once and for all. Cooking meat at high temperature, whether in the oven, on the barbecue or in a pan does not seal it! It burns it. That’s why it goes brown. And it introduces extra flavor, because the outside of the meat generally has a covering of fat. Fat is what gives meat it’s unique flavor. However adding this crust to the outside of the meat will also speed up the cooking of the rest of the joint, and reduce the amount that remains rare. It will not produce the even finish you see in hotel and restaurant carveries. To achieve that you need slow, low temperature cooking plus regular basting. shopping list
  • Basting is simply taking the juices from the bottom of the pan and pouring them back over the cooking meat from time to time. By doing this, and cooking at the right temperature, you will produce far more succulent results. Browning will still take place, but gently, as part of a process. shopping list
  • Let’s look at the basic method. shopping list
  • Do you use a roasting tin? Well don't. It’s not a good idea to cook meat inside a roasting tin, because the bottom of it tends to be sitting in liquid, much of which is water. A much better way is to place the joint directly on the rungs of the oven with the roasting tin underneath it. In this way, you can pack vegetables in the roasting tin and they will cook nicely in the juices from the meat. shopping list
  • If you don’t like that idea, because it means you have to clean the rungs after use, put the meat on top of a rack in or on the roasting tin instead. You don’t need to buy a special tin for this, simply use a cake rack or something similar. I have even used two or three kebab skewers and rested the joint on those. shopping list
  • However the advantage of cooking directly on the rungs is that the air circulates freely round the joint, ensuring even cooking, and you can remove the roasting tin to make your gravy while leaving the meat where it is. Of course, if you do that, you will want to put some kind of drip tray under the joint, but any ovenproof dish will do for that. shopping list
  • Temperatures and cooking times shopping list
  • Using my method (actually it’s Graham Kerr’s method which I’ve adopted but what the heck) you don’t need to learn a lot of complicated temperature/time formulas. Cook your red meat at 350°F,180°c,gas mark 4. Cook poultry at 325°F,160°c,gas mark 3. shopping list
  • Calculate your cooking time as 30 minutes for every 500 grams (roughly 1lb) of meat. This will produce thoroughly cooked poultry, beef that is well cooked on the outside and rare inside, pink lamb and pork (yes you can safely eat ‘underdone’ pork providing the internal temperature reaches 145°F. The danger bug is trichinae, which dies at temperatures greater than 135°F). Remember to add an extra 30 minutes if you are using stuffing. shopping list
  • If you want to change anything – alter your cooking times accordingly but beware. There is a very thin line between meat that is well done and boot leather. If rare meat is more than you can handle, it’s a much better idea to use my cooking times but then turn the oven off and leave the meat in it for a further 30 minutes or so. shopping list
  • Which brings me to one more point; it’s very important to let the meat stand for at least 20 minutes before carving. Why? Because when you heat protein (which is what meat is) it shrinks and toughens. Allowing it to relax and cool a little restores some of its elasticity. However it will continue to cook for a while after leaving the oven and the internal temperature will increase by as much as a further 10 degrees. Which is why you need a good 20 minutes resting time. Just keep it in a warm place with a sheet of cooking foil over the top while you prepare the greens and gravy. shopping list

How to make it

  • During the 1990s Michael Sheridan was head chef of the Pierre Victoire restaurant in London's West End, specializing in French cuisine. An Australian, he is a published author on cooking matters, and runs a free membership club for busy home cooks at

Reviews & Comments 2

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  • fridaystreet 12 years ago
    f your like me and you always get to sunday just before your about to put that lovely big joint of meat in the oven and suddenly think...damm! how long am I supposed to cook it for?? You try working it out with the guidelines on the packet, but the joint is never exactly a multiple of 500g and it's all too hard.

    Well no longer do you need to be pained by the stress of meat timings on a sunday, or any other day for that matter, you can use the roast meat calculator. With the Roast Meat Calculator you can calculate the exact cooking time required for your meat based on the weight and desired style of the roast, eg. rare, medium or well done.

    There's loads of different meats on there and they give you exact instructions and timings for cooking the perfect roast.

    example result from the website:

    1.00kg roast chicken

    * Preheat oven to 210°C / Gas Mark 6 for 30 mins. * Roast at 210°C / Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes . * Reduce oven temperature to 180°C / Gas Mark 4 and cook for a further: 45 minutes (22.5 minutes per 500g) * Remove the joint from the oven and rest for 20 minutes.

    notes: Cook until juices run clear if you want to use the calculator you can visit the roast meat calculator website by going to the following url:

    give it a try, I'm sure you won't be disappointed!
    Was this review helpful? Yes Flag
    " It was excellent "
    momo_55grandma ate it and said...
    another awsome post and great idea thanks
    Was this review helpful? Yes Flag

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