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Jul 10, 2012 08:31 AM

how to roast a juicy and tender silverside

I bought today at the supermarket (I am based in the UK) a beef joint labelled for roasting, it's silverside. The other one for roasting they sell is topside but they had only big joints and we're only two and besides it was double the price, being at least 1kg (the one I got is only 500g, enough for 2). They suggest oven roasting this silverside joint on the label, so I presume this cut can be successfully roasted even though I read it's kind of tough and should be used for a pot-roast.
My boyfriend doesn't like pot-roast but really not even roast beef, he's gonna eat it to please me so I have to make sure it's tender and tasty (he finds roast beef utterly flavourless, but that might be because his mum absolutely cooks every kind of meat to death as she is afraid of pink in meat and won't eat it less than well-cooked).
To get a roast that is tender and still pink, should I opt for roasting it for the 44 minutes suggested for medium on the label at quite a high temperature or should I slow-roast it?
If I slow-roast it, how long for? what temperature? I repeat it's only 500g and I don't have casserole dishes or slow-cookers and I would like it to be still pink in the middle.
Thanks in advance for any reply, I will be very grateful if you can help me as this will be the first time I attempt to cook a beef roast. :)

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  1. More information would help. Is there a bone in this roast? What shape is it? How thick is it? 44 minutes at a high temperature is probably going to result in a roast that is way more cooked than you want it, depending on the size and thickness of the meat, so given that this is quite a small roast, I would be wary of cooking it that long. As for tenderness, that depends a great deal on the inherent properties of the cut of meat, in addition to how it's cooked and sliced - so if you bought a tough roast, it's not going to matter how you cook it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: biondanonima

      it's a boneless one:

      It's not that one, but shape and thickness are the same

      1. re: biondanonima if you bought a tough roast, it's not going to matter how you cook it.

        I can't argue you with taste concerns .....but many who use Cook's Illustrated's / America's Test Kitchen Eye Round Roast Recipe would disagree with you.. I low temperature roast thick Chuck Roast, or thick cuts of 7-Blade Roasts quite often to medium-rare temperature with excellent results for taste and tenderness. You can see the results in pictures in the links to the threads below:

      2. I always feel very suspicious when I see that supermarkets have started to label silverside as as a 'roasting joint' (I am in the UK too) because IME it is too tough and stringy to be good. I think you'll have extra problems because your joint is so small it's hard to keep the middle pink. HOWEVER, I did recently have an interesting conversation with the butcher in my local Sainsbury's about this very topic because of the extortionate cost of topside, and he said that he would always pick silverside to roast but the mistake everyone makes is to try to roast it uncovered. He said that's what everyone's mums used to do, so everyone still tries to, but now beef is produced so fatless it just dries out in an instant. He said he would put some liquid in the roasting tray and cover it with foil, and cook it on a lowish heat like 180deg. Having said all that I bottled it and didn't do it though! so this advice may be useless......
        I have had a lot of success with this Jamie recipe though, including the resting which I never believed could make a difference but actually does. I always add a slosh of wine into the veg, too. It also specifies topside but maybe you could try it with your joint....

        I'd be interested to hear how you get on because uninspiring roast beef is an enduring problem of mine too.

        24 Replies
        1. re: flashria

          Uk here too. I think if you want rare, juicy and tender roast beef, I think silverside Or topside are the wrong choice. I'd cook them with some herbies (rosemary or time) slow and low for 4 hours, until you get beef that's just falling apart. It will shrink a bit, but it will be delicious. (the problem with this is getting the roast potatoes nice and crispy, so if you have a "top oven" I'd suggest that!)

          IMO, if you want a really good pink roast beef, I'd recommend a rib of beef, one is plenty for 2 people, but it can be a bit pricier. Just the rule of thumb for a superior cut. I've bought one from a butcher, and even cooked one as our xmas joint a couple of years back. It's a nice fatty joint, full of flavour, and I think both times, I pan seared it before cooking for... I can't remember, about 45 minutes? 1 hour?

          Here's a Waitrose butcher picture to give you a clue (you only want one rib probably, though the bone is large)

          And on the other end of the scale, for a superb flavoursome slow'n'low joint, brisket is superb. I've only ever boiled one, but I've eater roasted brisket, and it's sublime. And VERY beefy.

          I always pass over the top/silver sides these days, they just don't cut the mustard!

          1. re: Soop

            Yes, tough; I am off to Asda to get something else for dinner, I will eat the tough roast though, I don't mind that much, but my boyfriend would hate it.

            1. re: Soop

              that's interesting, I'm glad it's not just me! I've never cooked a rib of beef but perhaps I ought to experiment with that next time... I think I'm a bit intimidated by the bone, although I don't know why as I always cook lamb bone-in..I'll give it a go for a change when I'm next at a proper butcher's.

            2. re: flashria

              Thanks for replying. I hadn't read your answers, so I have roasted it on a rack, with a bit of water in the tray at 100 degrees for about an hour and 15 minutes. Now it's resting but I think it came out well-cooked and I fear it will be tough, also it looks so shrunk, I bet it won't be enough for both of us :(. I pierced it with a skewer and the juices are clear so I definitely think it's well-cooked. I will taste it in a bit after the resting time and update... might have to think of an alternative I think if it's too tough, poor me.

              1. re: lemony05

                US here. for future roasts....consider researching low temperature roasting. I forgot my conversions from Celsius to Fahrenheit,, but 190-225* F is what I roast cheap cuts and prime beef with excellent results. It works for one inch thick cuts to large round shaped ones. If you can devote the time and patience....the final results will be worth it.

                Another tip.....after the roast reaches desired temperature, hold for two hours covered and let it rest. Rewarm at 250* F for 20-30 minutes and blast at 450* F for 5-10 minutes, depending on size of roast and it will be ready to slice and serve without any additional rest.

                And last.......NEVER PIERCE the meat. push with your finger. : o )

                1. re: fourunder

                  I did want to slow-roast it, but obviously I did something wrong, I am not a top cook. Unluckily I don't have a meat thermometer so I need to know more or less how long a pound of a cheap cut would take to slow-roast and what temperature I should use to cook it. Thanks for your suggestion :)

                  1. re: lemony05

                    Thickness and shape are more important than weight when slow roasting. If you gave more specifics and possibly a future beef cut you purchase....the details could be easily determined for how to proceed.. The conversions from F to C would also be easy to look up.

                  2. re: fourunder

                    Thank you Fourunder. Extremely useful sounding tip (holding for two hours). What is the "desired temperature" to to reach medium rare without overcooking when rewarming?
                    Also, any idea how long a large round roast for 8 people would take?.

                    1. re: Fuffy


                      If I'm understanding you correctly, in the scenario you query, you have already roasted the beef and held it for two hours......the rewarm phase would simply be to place the roast back into the oven at 250* F for an additional 20-30 minutes and then blast @ 450* for an additional 5-10 minutes if you prefer a little more char. During the rewarm phase, even though the oven setting temperature is higher than the one you used for original roasting.....this is not a re-cooking phase and it does not change the original target temperature, i.e., medium-rare. The rewarm phase is just that....warming the meat to serve.

                      The cut of beef general situations the best way to monitor your roast is with a digital probe thermometer. You would keep the probe inserted the whole time. During the first roast, you would remove the roast from the oven between 118-125* F....( my preference is 122-125. the lower for Prime, the higher for Inexpensive Cuts ). Cover the roast with a Large Bowl and insulate the bowl with a large towel or blanket. During this time, the meat will rise approximately 5-7* at most before starting to drop. This is known as the carry-over heat during the hold over phase. With the temperature probe inserted, you monitor the changes, but you will see that with the insulated bowl, the meat will stay sufficiently warm and not drop down in temperature too drastically. Lately, if I do not need to oven for any other items to complete the planned meal....I open the oven door and let the heat escape, then close it and hold the roast in the oven at 140* F for the two hours. Now , it's VERY IMPORTANT for you to know and understand, during the re-warm process, the temperature probe will not increase in temperature reading much...because you are not cooking. do not worry about what the "desired temperature" should be.

                      Please note, the decision to use the lower or higher end of the recommended minutes should be determined by the actual roast at any given time based on the cut, size and shape.....the weight of the meat is really only a small consideration.

                      Assuming you are asking how long it takes for a large round roast (in Shape and Size, not cut of beef ) to bake in total time...... the general rules to approximate cooking times are:

                      @ 225* F, 30-35 minutes per pound

                      @ 210-215* 40 minutes per pound

                      @ 190-200* 50 minutes per pound

                      To give you more practical examples, a ( round) Whole Sirloin would take 4-6 hours, a large ( flat 2 inches thick ) Chuck or Top Round Cut would take 2-3 hours, a large (round ) Top or Bottom Round Cut would take 4-6 hours.....and finally

                      2-Rib Prime Rib 1.75 - 2.5 hours

                      3-5 Rib Prime Rib 3.5 - 4.5 hours

                      6-7 Rib Prime Rib 4.5 - 6 hours.

                      Please note these ate general rules. Should you ever provide actual details of specific roasts at a future time, I would be happy to give you follow up thoughts. If you look at the above links to threads I started and noted (3rd post from top), it shows and explains the differences with chuck roasts sizes, weights and shapes with pictures.. The following links below will show you my results from Prime Rib Roasts....with process, steps and with pictures.



                      1. re: fourunder

                        Fourunder. You are wonderfully helpful. Thank you so much. I now have an onglet weighing 2,980 pounds about 5 ' across - elongated and tied ready for roasting. I am ready for the terrifying experiment - . My plan is to roast at 200 for 3 X 50 minutes (to 125) and then do what you now do, open the oven door to let the heat escape and hold at 140 until we (us and four cousins) are ready to eat - up to two hour later.
                        I suppose it will outside look very pale and non charred, but seems less of a gamble than the 10 minute blast.
                        Does this sound OK to you?

                        1. re: Fuffy

                          I'm not up on conversions....but I'll assume you mean about 3 pounds and 5 inches across, not about 3000 pounds and 5 feet (; 0 ) )....and allowing for about six hours total cook and hold time. If so, you should be fine. The only variables of concern is the thickness of the roast which could add or subtract time to reach temperature, especially if your oven is running a little hot (calibrated). If you are using a digital probe thermometer it should give you the confidence it will not over cook. Again, you can hold the roast pretty long if it is 1.5+ inches thick or more. Thin roasts would be more prone to over cooking.

                          If the appearance of the roast is of concern....I suggest you sear on the stove top first. That's what I do with smaller roasts. If you have already started the roast....after holding, you can brown under the broiler carefully.

                          I do not recall if I made this suggestion earlier, but the information and comments in the thread below should give you some good information ....the process and method are similar.


                          I also have some more pictures of past roasts posted on this thread below......Good luck.


                          1. re: fourunder

                            Sorry, Fourunder, about my loopy measurements. Experiment was huge success and I am extremely grateful for all your generous help. I actually miscalculated so the roast was done early and a little overcooked. But it won't be next time...This is a wonderful method in so many ways including the worry about timing at the last moment. As life changing as no knead bread and definitely more important than discovering a new star. Thank you.

                        2. re: fourunder

                          All this is extremely helpful. Thank you. Two points. Yesterday I made an Eye roast by mistake (grabbed it thinking it was a rib eye). I roasted at 215 with an initial 10 minutes at 450. All easy and satisfactory except for two things: the meat was still very, very chewy (in spite of what Cooks Illustrated finds); my husband pointed out that the meat was too cool.

                          1. re: Fuffy

                            I would suggest you try any of the following cuts...all have beefier taste and are more tender.

                            Top Butt Sirloin
                            Flat Iron or Top Blade Roast
                            Chuck Roast
                            Chuck Eye
                            Flap Meat

                            Here are a couple of threads that will show you what the results look like. The methods are the same as described here.

                            For Top Sirloin...


                            For Chuck Roast:


                            For the record.....I personally believe the Cooks Illustrated/ATK Eye Round Roast Beef is the most over-rated and over-hyped recipe on this site.

                            1. re: fourunder

                              Thanks very much. How about the meat not being hot enough question?
                              After two tries I agree with you re. the Cooks Illustrated eye round recipe.

                              1. re: Fuffy

                                When it comes to eye tastes are a little different than most for it to be edible. I partially agree with your husband if it was slightly undercooked, either rare or medium-rare. Since the meat does not have much in the way of fat, I believe it needs to be slow roasted to break down the meat or muscle. Therefore, if by too cool, your husband means it was undercooked, then I would agree. Unless the eye round could be machine sliced thin, I believe bringing the meat closer to medium temperature would make the meat easier to slice and or chew... Should there be another next time, I suggest you roast to at least 135-140.... with carry over heat, you could expect it to rise another 5 degrees.

                                1. re: fourunder

                                  He didn't mean that it was undercooked, just that the temperature was too cool. Isn't that a general problem with roasting at 215?
                                  I shan't do eye round again, it was a mistake, in future I'll do one of the other cuts you suggest.

                                  1. re: Fuffy

                                    Rare and Medium-rare meat only reaches up to, or about 135* in most cases....the center of the meat most certainly will be cool or only warm at best.. When I cite the meat as being *undercooked*, I mean to say it did not reach your intended target temperature..low temperature roasting will not have a great increase in temperature in terms of carryover...only a nominal 5*. With a small roast, any delay in serving could definitely affect the temperature of the meat....also, the thin slices of meat will not hold the warmth and will cool quickly as well.

                                    If you have read some of my posts in the past, you will see I am a proponent of low temperature roasting(200-225). After holding periods, you can serve in a short while of 10-20 minutes....but I prefer to hold meats (beef, pork, lamb and turkey) for a minimum of 60, or up to 120. (Beef, Pork and Lamb), I would cover with a stainless steel bowl and wrap with a large bath towel or blanket. (Turkey) with simple foil as not to loose the crispiness of the skin. If I did not need the oven for side dishes, I would simple reduce the oven to the lowest warm setting of 140* and keep the roast in the oven......this how most commercial kitchens keep their meats while waiting to be served.

                                    Last, I would suggest after the holding period, you place the oven into a preheated 450* oven for a short blast of 5-10 minutes...depending on the size of the roast to warm it up for serving.....this will take care of the too cool issue and put a little or crust on the meat. It will not cook up the roast's interior in any way.

                                    1. re: fourunder

                                      fourunder.. . .you mentioned not to pierce a roast, but for steak you mentioned to tenderize by piercing.

                                      Can you pls elaborate when to pierce/tenderize and when not to?

                                      1. re: cookinglisa

                                        cookinglisa, that was a little bit in jest to test the roast or steak, but I usually use the poke, or press with my finger test/technique, to see how the roast or steak is coming along.

                                        For cooked meats...and piercing:

                                        Though it is not recommended, you can certainly pierce a roast to check the temperature, near the end of your expected cooking time. With a temperature probe, you can insert earlier or later.......just leave the needle in and the juices will not escape...not so much anyway. If your roast is cooked rare or medium-rare, not much juice will come out through any piercing hole.....the meat really needs to be heated to medium or past, for the juices to form and flow.... until then, the bleeding is minimal from one small hole.

                                        With a steak...the same holds true. I prefer to use tongs myself, but many professional kitchens do use a fork or a utensil known as a *pig tail flipper* The trick is not to pierce too deep.... but merely break the surface. Seasoned cooks will pick up at the corner where any gristle exists.


                                        For preparing meats before cooking:

                                        Yes, you can pound or piece meat for tenderizing. For steaks or roasts, you can do this with the hand gadgets, prongs or needling devices.....or you can have your butcher run them through a blade machine. Piercing, or cubing, is believed to aid in meat accepting marinades better and aid in cooking meat faster.

                                        Have a look here at the following thread where I pierced a Top Sirloin (Butt) steak before cooking with a reverse sear process. If you have any questions...I'll check back in:

                    2. re: lemony05

                      what a shame, lemony, how disappointing...what will you/did you do with the tough meat? just brave it in a sandwich and do lots of chewing? or did you have a really clever plan b?

                      1. re: flashria

                        Well, I had most of the chewy beef, really not a great dinner; went and bought lamb chops for my boyfriend, that came out good, simply pan-fried.
                        I am not sure why my roast was well-cooked at that very low temperature... maybe I roasted it for too long; anyway I won't ever buy silverside as it's clearly not good for roasting. I will stick to roast chicken and pork which I can cook ok. I can't afford expensive cuts of beef and that tiny roast was 5 pounds, not good value for money in my opinion.

                        1. re: lemony05

                          Ah, I'm sorry Lemony :(

                          I'm not sure you should give up completely after one bad experience - beef can be expensive in the supermarket, but I'm fairly sure if you wanted to plan something in advance we could find you something delicious for a good price.

                          Let us know if you want to give it another shot, and I'm sure everyone will help out.