- Cooks&Books&Recipes - http://www.cooksandbooksandrecipes.com -

Perfect Roast Beef

Roast Beef Finished Shot - www.cooksandbooksandrecipes.com

Recipe from How to Cook Everything, the Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food, by Mark Bittman

Author Mark Bittman, on Perfect Roast Beef:

Prime rib, cooked so there’s a slice just right for everyone.

Cooks&Books&Recipes Editors:

So, OK, no: we’ve never cooked prime rib. How can that be? Well, I am sure there is at least one “basic” that you’ve never tried. And if you’re a beginning cook, there are undoubtedly plenty of basics that you want to learn how to make. This cookbook is for ALL of us. But back to the prime rib…

One of the first things I liked about this recipe was the suggestion of inserting garlic cloves before the seasoning.

Roast Beef_Demo 1

RUBBING MEAT WITH SEASONINGS: Be generous and really rub it into the meat, especially if you’re not using the garlic. (Photo credit: Romulo Yanes)

I also appreciated the detailed instructions for checking the temperature of the meat as it is cooking.

Roast Beef_Demo 2

USING A THERMOMETER: Most thermometers register a few millimeters from the tip. Keep that in mind and take aim, being careful to avoid fat and bone, which will skew your readings. (Photo credit: Romulo Yanes)

Plus, Bittman explains (and shows) how to cut the meat free from the bone.

Roast Beef_Demo 3

CARVING BONE-IN ROAST: Use a sawing motion, with the blade flat against the bone, to cut the meat free. Then slice crosswise, against the grain, into any thickness you like. (Photo credit: Romulo Yanes)

Finally, I love the fact that someone (Bittman) is helping me through every step of the recipe. Here are photos of our finished meal. Yes, we like our meat well-done and are not going to apologize for that, now or ever. With this recipe, we were able to cook the roast beef the way that we wanted it: perfect!


Photo credit: Cooks&Books&Recipes


Photo credit: Cooks&Books&Recipes

How To Cook Everything

Buy on Amazon

Perfect Roast Beef

Featured Recipe From: How to Cook Everything, the Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food—with 1,000 Photos

Yield: 6-8 Servings

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 1 bone-in beef rib roast (5 to 6 pounds)
  • 2 garlic cloves, optional
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups beef or chicken stock, red wine, or water


  1. Remove the meat from the fridge an hour before you want to cook it so it comes to room temperature.
  2. Heat the oven to 450°F. Put the meat, bone side down, in a roasting pan. If you're using garlic, cut the cloves into slivers; use a paring knife to poke small holes in the meat and insert the garlic into them. Sprinkle the roast generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Put the roast in the oven and cook, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Turn the heat down to 350°F and continue to roast for 1 hour. Spot-check the meat by inserting a quick-read thermometer in several places. You want readings 5 to 10 degrees below your desired final temperature (so 125°F for medium rare). Check every 5 minutes. But in no case let the temperature of the meat go above 155°F.
  4. Take the pan out of the oven. Carefully transfer the meat to a platter with two forks to rest. Pour off all but a few tablespoons of the fat from the pan and put the pan on 2 burners over medium-high heat. Add the stock and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is reduced by half, 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Put the meat on a cutting board and pour any accumulated juices from the platter into the sauce. Cut the meat free from the bone, then slice it crosswise into thick or thin slices. To serve, splash a little of the sauce on the meat and pass the rest at the table.

For a really crisp exterior, turn the heat back to 450°F for a few minutes right at the end of cooking; this won't affect the internal temperature too much but will give you a nice crust.

Especially with an expensive cut like this, it's better to check early and often than to risk overcooking. If you don't have a thermometer, make a small incision on the side somewhere and peek inside. Bright red juices are another clue that the meat inside is rare.

While the roast is in the oven, cook up a batch of roasted potatoes, steam a load of asparagus, and you have a fancy meal with hardly any fuss.


Perfect, Less Expensive Roast Beef: Instead of prime rib, get a boneless rump roast that weighs 4 to 5 pounds. Follow the recipe through Step 2. In Step 3, start checking it after 40 minutes.

© 2012 Double B Publishing

Reprinted with permission from How to Cook Everything The Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food -- With 1,000 Photos, by Mark Bittman (John Wiley & Sons)

Print Print Recipe