When cooking roast beef, why serve a plain roast, when a crusted one is just as easy and much tastier?

When I am entertaining, a crusted roast is one my favorite things to serve. They are always impressive – yet they don’t ask all that much from the cook. Once you have patted on the crust, and put the roast into the oven, it’s pretty much hands-off from there. Cooking roast beef is not exactly rocket science.

Buying a Roast

Buying beef for cooking roast beef can be tricky because one cut of beef can go by several different names. Depending on where you live, or which butcher you go to, beef can be called by several names. A boneless top sirloin roast might also be called a top sirloin butt or a rump roast. If you decide to buy a boneless top sirloin roast, make sure the butcher removes the cap so that the roast is a better shape for carving.

Tips for a Successful Crust

Sear Before You Crust – Searing the roast before you apply the crust, creates flavorful browning on the surface of the meat.

Sticky Coating – A crust needs something to stick to: yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard etc.

Apply the Crust – But not too thick. Apply the crust about ½ inch thick. Patting lightly to apply.

Not on the Bottom – You don’t need to apply crust to the bottom of the roast, only the top and sides.

Crust Will Fall Off – Don’t worry if some of the crust falls off, try to make sure everyone gets some of the crust on their plate.

Cooking a Roast

When you start your process for cooking roast beef, let the roast sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 400 degrees and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Put the roasting rack in your roasting pan.
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Season the roast (5-pound strip loin roast or 5-to 6-pound boneless top sirloin roast patted dry) liberally with salt (kosher) and pepper on all sides. Heat the oil (2 T.) in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, brown the meat well on all sides, including the ends, about 4 minutes per side. Make sure you have turned on your exhaust fan. This approach to cooking roast beef gets smoky! Transfer the meat to the roasting pan. Set aside to cool while you prepare the crust.

  • 1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs (from baguette)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard

In a medium bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, garlic, shallots, thyme, marjoram, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Pour the melted butter into the breadcrumb mixture; toss to combine. Using a rubber spatula, smear the top and sides of the beef with the mustard. With your hands, lightly press the breadcrumb mixture into the mustard.

Insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the meat and set to 125 degrees.

Keep the crust from over-browning. Start checking on the roast after 30 minutes of cooking, and when the crust is golden brown, tent it with aluminum foil.

Remove the roast from the oven and let the meat rest for 10 to 20 minutes before carving.

A Wonderful Sauce

Creamy Horseradish-Mustard Sauce

  • 1 cup crème fraiche
  • 3 Tbsp. drained jarred horseradish
  • 3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • Pinch cayenne

Whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl and let the sauce sit for 20 minutes for the flavors to meld before serving.

Properly cooking roast beef really is one of the simpler things one needs to learn to truly qualify as a gourmet chef. Basically, everything you need to know is above.