How to cook perfectly Medium Rare Roast Beef and Gravy

We love roast beef in our house. In fact, roast beef would be my chosen 'last meal on death row', should I ever find myself in that position. However a good joint of quality beef topside isn't cheap. For a few years I was always the one to cook it; Andy was worried he'd mess it up. Once he'd perfected how to cook perfect Medium Rare Roast Beef just the way we liked it using the high temperature method, his roast beef was better than mine. Lucky break for me then. Though I still make the gravy.

Perfectly medium rare roast beef

High Temperature Roast Beef Roasting Method

This recipe may sound like the maddest way to cook beef you have ever heard of, but please stick with me. You cook the beef briefly at a very high temperature, the time being dependent on the weight of your beef joint. You then turn the cooker off. You leave the beef in there as the oven cools down, without opening the door. Repeat: you do not open the door (this is very important!). I promise you, it works beautifully.

Cooking Medium Rare Roast Beef

We like our Roast Beef cooked Medium Rare in this house, so it is still pink. I reminds me of how my Mum used to cook it, juicy and succulent. As opposed to when I went to Nan's for Sunday Roast and she cooked her roast beef to within an inch of cremation, love her. Although it still tasted lovely and I'd sell my soul for a plate of my Nan's roast beef right now, I much preferred it pink.

If you like this method but prefer your beef a little more done, you can wrap the joint in foil and heat it a bit more before serving. That way it will cook a little more.

And our favourite cut for Roast Beef is Topside.

Homemade Roast Beef Gravy

Is there anything finer than homemade beef gravy? I think not. When you cook your joint this way, you will have plenty of beef juices left in the pan after resting the meat. Seemingly making gravy from the meat juices is a dying art, which I think is a crying shame. There really is no comparison with gravy granules.

This is how I make stunning homemade Beef Gravy. All credit to an ex-boyfriend's Mum who showed me me how to make gravy from the roast when I was 17. I've made it this way ever since.

1. Take the joint out of the pan and put it on a plate, wrapped in foil to keep it warm.

2. Heat up the fat and juices in the pan.

3. Add 1 tablespoon of plain flour and mix it all up with a whisk to get rid of any lumps.

4. Add half a glass of red wine and continue to whisk.

5. Add some of the vegetable water from the pans in which you've cooked the veg, until the gravy is at the consistency that you want.

6. By this stage, the lumps should have gone. If by any chance they haven't, strain your gravy through a sieve.

6. Finally mix in a teaspoon of redcurrant jelly to make the gravy all glossy and gorgeous. 

Calculating the Cooking Time

You are going to cook your joint of Beef for 5 minutes per pound (per 450g) at the hottest temperature your oven will go to. You will then turn the oven off and leave the joint in there for 2 hours with the door closed. The 2 hours applies whether the beef joint is large or small. It is only the cooking time that changes, depending on the weight.

Cooking a Roast Dinner using this Method

Because you cannot open the oven door for 2 hours, you cannot cook the rest of your lunch whilst the beef is in the oven. Even if you have two ovens one on top of the other, as we do, you can't use the other one to cook whilst the beef is in the oven as the heat will get through and the meat will overcook. 

So we either cook the beef the night before, or we cook the vegetables to go with the beef whilst the meat is resting, covered in foil.

Perfect Medium Rare Roast Beef using the High Temperature Method


1 joint of Beef (our favourite cut for this is topside)

Dijon mustard

Black pepper


1. Turn on your oven to the highest temperature setting.

2. Weigh your beef on digital scales so you know exactly how much the meat weighs without any packaging.

3. Work out the cooking time for the beef, based on its weight. You will be cooking your beef for 5 minutes per pound, which equates to 661 seconds per kg. In our example, for a piece of beef which weighs 1.496kg:

661 x 1.496 = 988.86 seconds.

Rounding 988.86 up to the nearest second give us 989 seconds.

989 seconds = 16 minutes and 29 seconds.

So 16 minutes and 29 seconds is the amount of time for which the beef needs to cook, followed by 2 hours left in the oven with the door closed.

4. Put the beef in a roasting pan and coat the outside of the joint with dijon mustard. For a 1.5kg joint we use 2 dessert spoonfuls of dijon mustard which we paint on with a brush.

Roast Beef High Temperature Method before cooking

5. Grind black pepper all over the mustard. 

6. When the oven is up to temperature, put the beef in the oven and set a timer for the time you calculated (in our example it was for 16 minutes and 29 seconds).

7. When your timer goes off, turn off the oven. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR! Re-set your timer for 2 hours and leave the beef inside for 2 hours without opening the door at all.

8. When the timer goes off after 2 hours, remove the beef and immediately wrap it in foil to rest.

9. If you are making vegetables to go with the beef, start making them now whilst the beef rests. You can move the beef on to a plate with the foil still on it so you can make gravy with the juices (see above how to do that). The beef will stay warm for 2 hours at least.

10. Carve and serve.

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Perfectly Roasted Beef High Temperature Method

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