When To Cover Roast Beef For The Juiciest Meat Possible

A traditional choice for holidays, family gatherings, and Sunday dinners, there's something comforting about roast beef — the ritual of preparing it and the anticipation that builds while it roasts in the oven, the savory aroma filling the house. And when it turns out tender and juicy, the hours of waiting and the often hefty price tag are well worth it. What you don't want is tough, gray, overcooked meat that keeps your guests asking for more gravy (or wine) just to get it down.

Given that you've started with a good cut of beef, roast beef is a relatively easy, hands-off meal to make. You just season the roast, lay it in a shallow roasting pan, pop it in the oven, and allow it to cook at a low temperature for about one to three hours, depending on how big it is. This can mean the difference between moist, mouthwatering meat and a dry disappointing disaster. The trick is knowing when to cover your roast beef, and we're here to tell you it shouldn't be during but after it cooks.  

How to cook roast beef without drying it out

The reason for this is simple: the trapped moisture will cause the beef to steam rather than roast and you won't get that lovely browned outer crust. Instead, you want to wait until just after it's reached the desired temperature (at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit), remove it from the oven, cover it with an aluminum foil tent, and let it steam and rest for between 15-30 minutes. This will allow the juices to soak back in, permeating the beef thoroughly and ensuring a succulent cut, trusting you've avoided the common timing mistakes during its preparation.

The one exception to the rule is for roasts that are 8 pounds or more. Larger roasts mean longer cooking times and a greater chance of over-cooking. That's why loosely covering larger roasts in foil about halfway through the cooking process is your safest bet for retaining maximum moisture while preventing the outer layer from turning into utter shoe leather. Follow these simple guidelines and your next holiday or family shindig is sure to leave your guests toasting and boasting about your roast.