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When preparing a small roast – whether pork or beef – lower heat for a longer period of time can net you the most tender and juicy final product. Not only that, one roast, when cooked with potatoes and vegetables, can provide a healthy main dish and side dish for your entire family.
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Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place a meat rack inside a roasting pan. If you don't have a rack, you can tightly roll several lengths of aluminum foil and create your own.
Place the roast in the middle of the rack inside the roasting pan.
Put the roast in the oven. Leave it uncovered.
Let the roast cook for 15 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lower the heat. After 10 minutes at 450 F, reduce the oven temperature to 350 F, and leave it at that temperature for the duration of the cooking time. A 5-lb. beef roast will take approximately another 35 minutes at 350 F for medium rare. A 3-lb pork roast will take about an hour and 25 minutes (85 minutes) at 350 F.
Remove the roast from the oven. For pork, the internal temperature should be 160 F. For beef, it should be around 145 F for medium rare, 160 F for medium, and 170 F for well done.
Let the roast stand. You can cover it or leave it uncovered, but let it stand for at least 10 minutes to allow the juices to settle back into the meat.
Carve and serve.
You can marinate your roast or add a spice rub of your choice for an even tastier finished product. Neither will affect the cooking time.
Add vegetables like fennel, potatoes and carrots to the pan with the roast and you will have yourself a complete meal. If you do add vegetables, coat them with oil, salt and pepper before adding.
If there is a layer of fat on your roast, don’t trim it. The fat will add moisture and flavor. You should also place the roast in the roasting pan with the fat facing up. The fat will melt and baste the meat.
You can also start at low heat and turn the heat up at the end of the cooking process for a dark brown crust on your roast.
The internal temperature of your roast will rise about 10 degrees after you remove it from the oven. If you would like a rare beef roast, for example, you will want to remove it from the oven once the internal temperature hits about 130 F. Cooking times are estimated; rely on the meat thermometer.