Beef and other red meats, when eaten in moderation, can be part of a healthy diet. Only about 36% of the fat in beef is saturated, the remainder being the slightly healthier form of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. Beef is also one of the highest sources of protein as well as containing most of the recommended daily minerals our bodies need to remain healthy. When shopping for red meat, select lean cuts and use low fat cooking methods such as roasting.
Roasting is the best cooking method for large tender cuts of Beef as well as being the most versatile way of preparing a joint for any number of dishes.
Before putting the joint into the oven, it is best to brown or seal the meat, this involves flash frying the outside of the meat in a very hot pan, with the result of sealing the juices in. Put the meat in a roasting pan, fat side up, if the joint is too large to brown before roasting, cook it at 450 degrees F for about twenty minutes, then lower the heat to 325Fº and cook until done. At the end of the cooking time, place foil over the meat and allow to rest, wait 10-20 minutes before carving, this helps to ensure that the juices stay in the meat rather then spilling all over the cutting board.
The first consideration when buying any meat should be the butchers shop itself, a high standard of hygiene is essential, especially living as we do in a hot country. Meat should be of a good colour and, in the case of beef, relatively dry.
It is always wise to buy good quality meat from a butcher you know and trust, the difference in taste between a fresh joint from an independent butcher and pre-packed supermarket meat can be considerable. For the sake of a small saving, is it worth compromising on quality? And with less wastage on a good joint you may even be saving money! Scotch beef is among the best in the world and although it may not be easy to find a supplier here, it is worth the effort for the difference in taste.
The tenderness of the cut depends on how much the animal has had to use the muscles. Therefore the shoulder or legs, which are used for movement, are going to be tougher and require longer, slower cooking times, whereas cuts taken from the middle section of the animal will be tenderer and therefore need less cooking.
Water is also present in the muscles; some of it is bound-up with the proteins, fats and sugar. This is why a well done piece of beef is so dry, longer cooking time and higher temperatures draw the water away from the meat. To stop this happening, cover the joint with foil during cooking or cook slower and longer adding a little water to the pan. The same rules apply for most larger joints of meat.