So, regular readers may recall that we've been working on the Blowtorch Beef for a while. With varying degrees of success. Varying. But, the flavor has always been there, it was just our technique of getting the meat to medium rare that was the problem.
In addition, I know almost nothing about meat cuts. The dizzying amount of roast beef literature we had read suggested anything from eye round to rump round to rib roasts. (Why can't we just call these cuts something normal, like "Cow leg, upper side near the butt cheek," or "Cow neck, left side"? I need a freakin' scorecard every time I walk up to the meat counter.) Interestingly, a courtesy issue of Cook's Country (from the folks who bring you Cook's Illustrated) featured a fine roast beef, and suggested that the best bet was Top Sirloin Roast (aka top butt, top sirloin butt, center cut roast, spoon roast, or "cow hip") since it had marbling (good for juiciness) and tasted great.
Herewith are the final cooking times and temperatures we settled on to achieve what we felt was incredibly tasty beef. The picture above is just of the leftovers (which, even cold, are REALLY good!). We couldn't slice the beef fast enough to keep the platters full out there. In the end, we cooked four of these babies for the reception, and had about a half a roast's worth left over.
Blowtorch Roast Beef
adapted from Heston Blumenthal
The original recipe relied on long, slow cooking at about 130F to give tender, perfectly cooked meat. Like most home ranges, our oven, sadly, won't go below 200F, so we adjusted Heston's 20 hour cook time to match a higher temperature and the results were still great.
4 lb Beef Top Sirloin Roast
salt and freshly ground black pepper
One day ahead, rinse the beef roast and pat dry with paper towels. Generously season the beef with salt and pepper, cover and refrigerate overnight.
When you’re ready to roast, preheat the oven to 200F (if you have a gas oven, set it to the lowest setting, and use an oven thermometer if possible).
Wipe the beef roast with oil. Then using a blowtorch, brown the meat all over. This may take a few minutes depending on the size of the beef and the power of the blowtorch.
Place in a roasting tray on a rack and roast for 2 ½ hours. But most importantly, keep the meat thermometer handy and feel free to pull it out as soon as the beef reaches 120F. It will rise another 8-10 degrees as you rest it for 20-30 minutes, but will be lovely for medium-rare beef.
To carve, slice thinly across the grain, so that when you eat it, your teeth will bite between the fibres, not across them, giving the meat a more tender texture.
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