DRY COOK­ING

Here is your tem­plate. Armed with this, all you need is the weight of the meat and the tem­per­a­ture you’re aim­ing for.

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - HOW TO MAKE - WITH NATHAN ANDA, butcher and chef, RED APRON BUTCHER, WASHINGTON, DC

EQUIP­MENT

■ oven ther­mome­ter (mon­i­tor­ing) and in­stant-read meat ther­mome­ter (temp­ing the meat) ■ sturdy rimmed bak­ing sheet with flat roast­ing rack

ROAST­ING

Step 1: Prep ➞ The meat must start at room tem­per­a­ture. When meat is cold, sea­son­ings sit on top of the fat cap and mus­cle. They don’t pen­e­trate. Room tem­per­a­ture meat al­lows the salt and pep­per to break into that ex­te­rior shell, act­ing as a ten­deris­ing agent as well as deep­en­ing flavour. ➞ I use a heavy rimmed bak­ing sheet lined with heavy­duty foil and topped with a flat roast­ing rack. (Those large, ex­pen­sive roast­ing pans with han­dles and V-shaped racks are pri­mar­ily for tur­key.) ➞ Sea­son­ing style de­pends upon size and cut. For a smaller roast with very lit­tle fat cap, like a pork loin, I might make a paste out of salt, pep­per, chopped gar­lic, and a drop of oil (pasty, not runny), smear it on, and give it a chance to sink into the meat, about 20 min­utes. For a roast that will ben­e­fit from some com­plex­ity, like a but­ter­flied leg of lamb, I make a paste of roasted gar­lic (mel­lows it), Di­jon mus­tard, rose­mary, black pep­per, and olive oil, smeared on the in­side of the roast (be­fore it is rolled and tied) as well as the out­side. ➞ On a larger roast with a sub­stan­tial fat cap, like a ma­jes­tic prime rib that can stand on its own flavour-wise, I just lib­er­ally sea­son with salt and pep­per and roast on top of a bed of aro­mat­ics: sliced onions and strong, woody herbs like rose­mary and thyme (not soft ones like basil). Placed un­der the roast­ing rack, this gives the ex­te­rior crust a great aroma with­out flavour­ing the meat it­self.

Step 2: Heat ➞ When a roast goes into a hot oven, mois­ture trapped in the fi­bres of the meat is pulled to­wards that heat source. While you do get a beau­ti­ful dark ex­te­rior at the end of the roast­ing pe­riod, you also get a well-done rim around the edge – not de­sir­able. But if you use a low-tem­per­a­ture oven, the roast slowly ac­cli­mates to the heat, grad­u­ally rais­ing its in­ter­nal tem­per­a­ture. As a re­sult, the meat retains its mois­ture and has an even tex­ture. ➞ There’s on­go­ing kitchen con­tro­versy about when to oven-sear the meat. Some swear by an ini­tial blast prior to roast­ing in a mod­er­ate oven. I am a prac­ti­tioner of the re­verse sear, first roast­ing in a low-tem­per­a­ture oven, then hit­ting it with the higher heat. I re­alise this is a break with tra­di­tion on what might be our most tra­di­tional meal. But why not do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to pre­serve the meat’s mois­ture, which is a func­tion of heat plus time. So: when the roast gets to your de­sired in­ter­nal tem­per­a­ture in the low oven, it’s time to turn up the heat and brown the fat cap. ➞ There will be ren­dered fat in the pan. Siphon most off, be­cause you’re about to heat things up to 230 de­grees. In a 120-de­gree oven, that tem­per­a­ture rise is so slow it won’t af­fect the meat it­self. It will just give you a beau­ti­ful brown crust. The sign that it’s done: colour, which typ­i­cally hap­pens in about 10 min­utes.

Step 3: Rest ➞ Trans­fer the roast to a cut­ting board for about 30 min­utes (15 for a small roast). Be pa­tient. If you mess with the ex­te­rior too soon, the juices that are drawn to its heat will make a speedy exit rather than be ab­sorbed back into the meat. (While the meat rests, carry over cook­ing can raise the in­ter­nal tem­per­a­ture as much as 15 de­grees.) PM

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