The Rules of Roasting

As the evenings draw in and the bbq is wheeled away for the year, many of us will return to roasting for Sunday lunch. Here are a couple of tips to give you the best possible result:

Roasting Times:

Guide to roasting meat at 160°C – 180°C:

Meat Desired Result Minutes per 500g Internal Temp °C
Beef Rare


Well Done

20 – 30

25 – 35

40 – 45

60 – 65

70 – 73

75 – 78

Lamb Medium Rare


Well Done

20 – 30

25 – 30

35 – 40

70 – 73

75 – 78

79 – 82

Pork Medium

Well Done

25 – 35

40 – 45



Chicken Not applicable – must be cooked through 25 + 20 Recommend cooking at 180°C. Juices must run clear – test the thickest part of the thigh.

Roasting Technique:

  • The oven must be up to temperature when the meat goes in otherwise your cooking time will be insufficient i.e. you’ll need to cook it for longer.
  • Take the meat out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you need to start cooking.
  • Trim off excess fat, particularly the silverskin on pork which goes sinewy.
  • When cooking lean meats, sear / brown the meat first. Pre-searing will improve the colour and flavour which is more easily obtained from fattier meats.
  • Roasting on a rack allows even heat and browning. You can use a metal trivet, a base of trimmed bones or a vegetable mirepoix.
  • Roast meats fatty side up, this acts as a natural basting.
  • If you are cooking multiple items in the oven everything will take longer.
  • Be sure to allow 10-15 minutes of resting time in addition to the cooking time. Transfer the meat to a heated plate and cover lightly with foil.

Roast Accompaniments:

  • Avoid multiple boiled vegetables. If you are serving boiled vegetables, keep them in separate pots as they will have different cooking times. Drain and drop a knob of butter in the pan so that they are lightly coated when served.
  • Green vegetable such as peas, beans, brussel sprouts and cabbage shouldn’t be overcooked. They should be bright green in appearance. They are always lovely served with a mix of caramelised onion and fried bacon bits.
  • Boiled broccoli and cauliflower can be improved by the addition of a light cheese sauce, a sprinkle or nutmeg or some flaked nuts such as almonds.
  • When roasting lamb, season with garlic, rosemary and sea salt. Serve with mint sauce on the side.
  • Sometimes it is nice to complement a roast with an additional creamy potato dish such as a creamy mash (no lumps!) or a potato gratin
  • For great gravy try my recipe here
  • Stuffing


Roast Rib of Beef

Roast Rib of Beef
Roast Rib of Beef with roasted potatoes, tender stem broccoli, parmesan asparagus and glazed carrots.

When roasting beef serve with Yorkshire puddings and wholegrain mustard or horseradish sauce on the side.

Chicken – Roast an entire chicken (after removing the giblets and wash the cavity) with a pierced lemon, two garlic cloves and some fresh sprigs of parsley and/or thyme in the cavity for a lovely fragrant chicken.


Pork – buy as big a cut as you can, with the bone in. Ask the butcher to score the fat for crackling. Rub salt into the fat before cooking. Cook at the highest heat for 30 minutes then reduce the heat to 150 degrees and cook for as many hours at you can, at least 5 hours for a 3kg joint. The meat will fall of the bone and then you have pulled pork for recipes for the next couple of days.

When roasting pork separate the crackling towards the end of cooking and once the meat is resting turn up the heat to ensure it is really crispy. Serve with apple sauce on the side.


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