Pit roasted beef
June 10, 2006 1:52 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have a good method for cooking a largish (10lbs) beef roast in a pit of coals?

I know I’ve seen a technique for doing this either on a cooking show or in a cook book but now I can’t seem to track it down. My searches only find procedures for cooking 200lb pigs, luau style.
posted by Tenuki to Food & Drink (8 answers total)
 
I've cooked this way before on campouts, with a beef roast at least that big.

I've always gone the Searing route - build a seperate fire super hot, give it a minute or so on each side to seal in the juices, wrap the roast up in your wrapping of choice (with some veggies of course), chuck 'er in there and bury the whole damn thing. Begin drinking (continue drinking, whatever). Come back a few hours later, and presto - dinner for 8-10.

Now, if you want it cooked really nicely... you may want to put some extra thought or effort into each step. But that's the basic method I've always used.

Cheers
posted by Cycloptichorn at 2:32 PM on June 10, 2006


Searing does not seal in the juices: that's a widespread myth. Check out On Food and Cooking, which goes into more detail, and is an excellent book in general.

Other than that, I'd basically agree with cyclo. Wrap in tinfoil, surround with low-heat fire. You don't want the outside to char before the inside gets cooked. Probably wouldn't take 8 hours (I think the rule is 15 minutes/lb, so 3 hours should be plenty), but what the hey.
posted by adamrice at 2:49 PM on June 10, 2006


On Food and Cooking correctly points out that searing, while not sealing in the juices, can improve the flavor of the meat.

Wrap it very well in tin foil, with things like onions, turnips, potatoes, garlic, and whatever else in there. You want it water tight, so wrap it at least 3-4 layers thick.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:03 PM on June 10, 2006


On Food and Cooking correctly points out that searing, while not sealing in the juices, can improve the flavor of the meat.

Yes, of course. It's the Maillard reaction.

Wet cooking (braising) will also yield far better results than dry heat cooking for these cuts of meat.
posted by madman at 11:31 PM on June 10, 2006


I think you should post your question here, where a lot of people who love fire and meat will leap at the chance to set you straight.

Can you provide a few more details?

What is the nature of the facilities? A spit? A grille over a fire? A hangi? (I know you're not having a hangi, but who knows, maybe there's a local earth-oven variation where you live).

Have you bought the meat? Is it a tender cut or a whole rump, or a big lump of topside? Or is that something you need to know before you go out and buy?

Contrary to what adamrice says, if you're doing real low and slow, your heat will be less than 130C and you could take 4 or 5 hours, basting towards the finish. It take 10-12 hours for a brisket, which is a very tough cut, so that's your upper end. It really depends what we're up against, so more data required.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:30 AM on June 11, 2006


If you're cooking meat at less than 130°C, it's not safe. Minimum for beef is 145°C, better 160°C.
posted by adamrice at 6:46 AM on June 11, 2006


adamrice, C means degrees celsius. 71C is enough as an internal temperature for beef (reference). Either you are absent-mindedly confusing celsius and Fahrenheit or you are just plain wrong. Consider that no wet method of cooking can exceed 100C, so by your logic no stew or casserole could ever be safe.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:57 PM on June 11, 2006


My bad. I meant F.
posted by adamrice at 1:03 PM on June 11, 2006


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