Fourth Day of Christmas: Four Roast Beef Tips

Remember that song about the Twelve Days of Christmas? Sure you do. There were some drummers, some birds, some rings… Yeah, it’s not that important. That’s why we’re giving you our own take, one number a day until Christmas, so that you can celebrate the holidays by making something you’d actually want to eat. Now get counting and cooking. This post also unapologetically sets out to not match the given theme; there might not be any calling birds, but there is a strong emphasis on the number ‘four’.


Many folks choose to base their holiday meals around one show-stopping main course dish. Whether it’s a whole-roasted Dickensian goose or perhaps a mouth-watering cauliflower bake, there’s just something about Christmas that makes us all the more eager to crank up the oven and roast away.

And for my family, that show-stopping main dish that we are quite happy to serve time and time again is a perfectly cooked roast beef.

(No, not a roast beast; I’m from Jersey, not Whoville)

Roast beef is impressive and hearty, and with top quality meat it’s pretty divine—but it seems to be an intimidating enterprise for most cooks. However, through trial and error, my family has the art of roasting a big slab of prime rib down to a delicious science. This isn’t as much a recipe as a set of tasty tips that anyone can follow to have a delicious main meal without much fuss.

Four Roast Beef Tips for a Perfect Roast Every Time

  1. Remember the golden ratio: 15 minutes per pound for cooking time. So, if you had a 4 pound roast, that means 60 minutes total cooking time!
  2. Let your meat sit out to room temperature and then season it with these four essentials: cut some slits in the meat and stud with garlic cloves, then drizzle with a little olive oil, a generous crackling of fresh ground pepper, and make sure it is salted well.
  3. A special trick to ensure a tasty crust and a juicy center: crank up the oven to 450 degrees F and roast for the first 30 minutes of your calculated cooking time. Then lower the heat to 325 and cook for the remainder.
  4. And finally, whenever you’re looking to cook meat, your best friend to ensure perfection is a meat thermometer. An internal temperature of 135 works for us; we take it out and let it rest, too, so it’s not too rare but deliciously tender.

Post and Photo by Angeli Rafer.