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Dec 23, 2009 02:01 PM

what exactly is a spoon roast & how do I cook it?

it looks like a piece of sirloin, but I was told to put it in a low, 325 oven for 15 to 20 minutes a pound.

thats it? no searing first? can this be cooked rare or is it like pot roast & always slow cooked well done? which then begs for all those good things like onions mushrooms garlic wine etc etc.

thanks thanks thanks.

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    1. Spoon roast, aka top butt, top sirloin butt, and center-cut roast, is top sirloin. This is the cut used for the roast beef sold in delicatessens. It is well-suited to the Cook's Illustrated salt/fridge/rinse/sear/low-heat roast method that is often discussed on this board:

      1. I do not sear mine first. I find this roast to be a good for an oven roast-tender and flavorful. I just 'discovered' this roast recently. Whole Foods sells them a lot.

        1. Hall's Market in West Hartford, Connecticut has these roasts on sale often. I use a recipe that originated in health-food guru Adelle Davis's book "Let's Cook It Right."

          Upon bringing home the roast, I salt and pepper the roast and also rub in marjoram, basil and some hot pepper flakes. I oil up the roast well, wrap in cellophane and leave in the fridge for a day.

          Preheat the oven to 300 F. Unwrap the roast and place in a roasting pan -- there's no need to let the meat get to room temperature. Place the roast in the oven (I put onion slices all over it) and roast it for 5 minutes a pound. Then, dial the oven down to the temperature you'd like the roast to come out at -- about 150-155 for medium rare. Cook a roast that's about 4-6 pounds for at least 6 and better, 8 hours.

          It's like a miracle. You'd think that even a large roast would dessicate, hanging around in the oven for hours. It doesn't. You discard the onions, of course. The outside is dark and crispy. When you slice into the meat, there's the crust, then about 1/16" of grey, then the rest is all beautiful, evenly red-pink. And it's nearly fork-tender, even when using a "choice" or "select" cut of meat. Juices stabilize if you let the roast rest (sit on the counter) for about 15 minutes after the roast comes out of the oven.

          The drawback to this method is that other than a blackened spot about 3-4 inches in diameter, and a little melted fat, there's precious little in the pan by way of drippings to make gravy with. But heck, this roast is going to be so incredibly tender you may want to put Bearnaise sauce on it.

          17 Replies
          1. re: shaogo

            The CI method linked to above is a take-off on Davis' approach. Searing all round resolves any qualms about the meat being below 140 degrees and therefore a good bacterial host because any on the exterior would be killed and there shouldn't be any on the interior. CI's is faster but with the same results, at 225 degrees. Many home ovens won't set as low as Davis' method requires. Roasting on a rack eliminates the "blackened spot".

            1. re: greygarious

              Thanks, greygarious.

              I've feared using the 225 method, because Davis's book said that if protein is cooked at a temp higher than 200 it toughens. The lower the temp, the less toughening of the outside occurs. But I'll give it a try.

              I didn't include an instruction to place the roast on a rack, but that's a given. If one follows the Davis method, the few drippings that do come out of the roast turn into the blackened spots I described. Does the CI method yield more useable pan drippings?

              I'm doing a steamship round of beef -- a big one -- this Christmas. I was going to try my method but I can try the method you refer to. Mmmm... beefy goodness.

              P.S. I understand that not everybody's oven can dial as low as 155 degrees. I have an electric oven that rises to the task, so it's easier for me to do.

              1. re: shaogo

                I could be wrong, but if anyone is familiar with Halo Heat ovens or Alto Sham cook and hold ovens, most recommendations for roasting meat like Top Butt Sirloins call for temperatures between 200-225*. Most Prime Rib Houses use the 225* mark as well.

                1. re: fourunder

                  Pretty close. I'm looking at the Alto-Shaam Cook & Hold Guide right now and they call for cooking at 250 until the meat hits 100, then holding at 140 until it hits your target temp (minimum 4 hours).

                  I've been simulating this with a conventional oven for some time now with all my roasts, from Rib-Eyes to Tri-Tips, and they really come out great. Assuming you've got the time.

                2. re: shaogo

                  No usable drippings to speak of. I did a 2.3 pound eye round and got a spot of burnt drippings the size of a quarter. Next time I'll line the pan with foil or parchment to spare the scouring.

                  I pulled out the original CI piece and re-read. The first time out, they roasted, unseared, at 130 for 24 hours. The eye round was like tenderloin, but they wanted a more practical and faster method. It says the natural enzymes in beef, which tenderize it, work faster as the meat heats up, but stop working at 122 degrees. Hence the decision to shut the oven off at 115. The searing also improves the visual appeal of the roast, which without it has a gray exterior. If time is unimportant and your oven will go that low, to maximize the time spent below 122, you might want to try it at 130 and perhaps sear when finished if you want the brown crust.

                  By the way, that's a particularly good issue (Jan/Feb 2008). It also has the Almost No-Knead dutch oven bread, crunchy baked pork chops, French onion soup, crispy oatmeal cookies, and a stew-making primer.

              2. re: shaogo

                Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. It is just what I was looking for! Thank you!

                1. re: shaogo

                  Sounds good shaogo. I live in CT. too, but have never been to Halls. I looked at a lot of recipes and chose yours. It's all herbed up in the fridge as I type this. I like the idea of low and slow. I have read that high heat changes the enzymes in the meat...and not for the good. I'll post back on the outcome. I have three mothers I am feeding tonight for Mom's day, one is a gourmet home cook. Hope she likes it!

                  1. re: Highgear

                    I like the idea of low and slow. I have read that high heat changes the enzymes in the meat.


                    Low and slow does as well....

                    1. re: fourunder

                      I found that my electric oven will only go down to 170 degrees. So, I'll have to do with this setting. I think it is still considered low from the 325 most use. What do you think?

                      1. re: Highgear

                        The setting i choose for roasting beef is made depending on these factors and considerations, but not limited to any one variable.

                        * size, large or small
                        * shape, i.e. flat or round and thickness
                        * weight
                        * roasting during the day, or overnight.

                        In general, I roast all meats between 200-225*. I'll use 250 if I need the roast a little sooner, but I won't go above and I always allow for a e hour rest.

                        these following threads all cover the points above for sloe roasting, regardless of meat cut, they work for beef, pork or lamb.




                        1. re: fourunder

                          I see cook times/temps in the last link, but they are for a flat cut. I have a 5.5 pounder that is tied and round. Is it OK to use a meat thermometer the whole time? Am I looking to see 155 core temp for the perfect tender roast? I do a lot of cooking, since my wife does not, but this is a first time beef roast for me. It's been in the oven for about two hours at the 170, and I want to serve in about 3.5-4.5 hours. I would like to have the hour resting time as you recommend. Time to bump up the heat? Thanks for your input Founder!

                          1. re: Highgear

                            Sorry I did not see this sooner, but i left for the day to play golf...

                            I would have advised you to consider going higher at 200-225....I have no experience with 170 to provide you with a timeline, but I would imagine there was not enough time to do so in this how did it turn out.

                            1. re: fourunder

                              Thanks. I came out on top. I did go to 220 after I wrote, and then to 225 for the last 45 min. I spent a little more time reading the forum and had a good idea. As soon as I saw a little over 150 degrees, I took it out to rest with foil around it tightly. The only problem I had was that I didn't have enough time to let it rest for the hour minimum. I was more like 40 minutes. Now I didn't see much juice in the pan when I took it out. I carved about half of the 5.5 pound roast in a shallow serving dish. Then the flood gates opened. I had a 1/2" pool of juice on the plate. Would another half hour of rest have prevented this? It was a hit though. I will surly make another now that I know the steps to follow, thanks to you and this site. I hope others find the wealth of information, it helped me. Now I feel comfortable making this spoon roast for the holidays instead of the standard turkey or salty ham. My mother in law hates turkey anyways........BTW, the olive oil, kosher salt, marjoram, crushed red pepper and pined yellow onion slices added well to the flavor of the beef.

                              1. re: Highgear

                                Your results are the reasons why I have come to fine the two hour rest is pretty much eliminates bleeding. the only thing that causes the meat to bleed is the heat built up within the roast. If you allow the meat to cool, the temperature reduces and allows more time for the meat t redistribute the moisture within. Since you like your meat cooked more thoroughly, it's more important to allow a longer resting period , than say a rare toast brought it 120*....which can also bleed if cut into too soon.

                                Meat is clearly a personal preference with many considerations for others.....but meat does not need to be served HOT. that's what Jus or Gravy are for. Red meat can be served cold, room temperature, warm or hot. With a longer rest, you only need to reintroduce the roast inside the oven for 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the roast to bring it to the peasant serving temperature you, your family or guests prefer.

                                but to answer your query specifically....30 more minutes would have helped....60+ more would have been better.

                                1. re: fourunder

                                  Wow, up to two hours of rest. After seeing all the juices ending up on the plate, I can just imagine how much better the roast would be if it retained them. This has been a big learning experience for me, and I bet for others as well. Thanks!

                                  1. re: Highgear

                                    I rest the Holiday Prime Rib, Turkey and Leg of Lamb a minimum of two hours....sometimes up to four hours with excellent results....I hold inside the oven at 140*. You can hold outside the oven covered with foil, or a bowl. to retain the heat, cover with a large bath towel.


                                    1. re: fourunder

                                      Thanks. I look at cooking in a different light now that I understand a bit of the proses that meat undergoes while being cooked. The 350 rule goes out the window.

                2. I cooked a spoon roast this evening. My butcher's direction was 350 for 20 minutes/pound. It needed a little longer for medium rare. Before cooking, I made slits in the meat, and inserted sliced garlic.. No searing. No sauce. Just delicious!