Should you cover beef with foil when roasting

There’s nothing better than sinking your teeth into a tender, juicy forkful of delicious beef. However, there’s also nothing very appealing about trying to eat a dry, tough hun of beef either. So, what’s the secret in ensuring that your beef comes out perfect every single time?!

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It’s allll about how you cook your beef, how you prep the beef, and how you season the beef. But, the most crucial part is all in how you roast your beef. So, let’s answer everything you need to know about roasting beef, like, “should you cover beef with foil when roasting”, and any other questions you may have!

Having a beautiful roast beef on the holiday dinner table (or any special occasion dinner table) is a necessity, so we must figure out how to make the perfect juicy, tender, roast beef every time. It’s my goal that by the end of this post, you’ll be able to feel confident in deciding if your cut of beef needs to be covered or not and if it should be covered with aluminum foil or not at any time in its roasting process.

Maybe this post gets your brain whirling and you’re wondering if you should be covering your meatloaf or not? If that’s you, we have the post that covers this here. We’re all about making things in mom life easier and more organized.

When cooking a cut of beef, always remember the golden rule, cook low and slow. Generally, this is the rule to follow, but there will be occasionally exceptions when you will want to cook the beef at higher temperature or higher heat for a shorter period of time.

Should you cover beef with foil when roasting?

In general, you don’t want to cover the beef with foil while it is roasting, if you do, you will ruin the crispy exterior that you typically get on your beef roast when roasting it in the oven. You also grow accustomed to a specific taste when it comes to roasted beef, if you cover it with foil it won’t have the same juicy taste that you expect it to have.

If you were to cover the meat with foil it would steam the beef rather than roast it.

However, there will be some exceptions to this rule that we will discuss later.

Is it best to cook roast beef covered or uncovered

Whether or not it is best to cook roast beef covered or uncovered can go either way depending on the cuts of beef you have and the size of them.

For smaller cuts, I don’t recommend covering the beef. Instead, letting it get a nice crust on the outside to hold the juices on the inside of the meat is what we prefer to do.

However, if you have a larger cut of beef, say a chuck roast or a rump roast or something that is over 8 pounds, I recommend covering it half way through the recommended bake time so you don’t over brown or burn the top crust of the meat on the outside.

There are some times when it is appropriate to use foil to cover your meat, like with the larger cuts. Here are a few other scenarios when we actually suggest using foil.

  • When you need help locking in the moisture of the meat. This usually happens with larger cuts again. As you’ll be cooking the beef for longer periods of time, you don’t want the juices to run out of the meat and evaporate, that’s why you cover halfway through when you get larger portions of meat so it locks in the moisture and flavor to give you the perfect roast beef.
  • Again, when cooking a larger cut of meat, using aluminum foil to cover the beef will help ensure that the heat is distributed evenly throughout the meat as it roasts

Important Chef’s Note: Using foil does not make a difference in the amount of cooking time required. You may think that the foil will help the food cook faster, but that has been proven incorrect, there is no difference in roasting time.

The other thing to consider when roasting beef is ensuring that you’re giving it sufficient time to rest after removing it from the oven. This is when you place your beef on a cutting board and let it sit and lock in all the juices and let the flavors really develop as it rests.

While the beef is resting, this is when we like to carefully and lightly cover it with aluminum foil and let it sit covered for 15 minutes. Letting the meat rest lets all of the juices get distributed evenly all throughout the meat, making sure nothing is left dry, everything is juicy and moist when you go to cut the meat.

Should you cover a beef joint with foil

A beef joint is a piece of meat with a bone still attached and that may make you think you’re going to need to speed up the cooking time because it will most likely need a few extra minutes, this doe not meat that you need to wrap the joint in aluminum foil. If you wrapped it with foil, you risk steaming the meat instead of roasting it and getting the crispy exterior.

Instead, you can roast it uncovered for the first portion as it browns the exterior and creates that crust to lock in flavor and moisture, and then the last 10 minutes or so of roasting time, it can be covered with an aluminum foil tent.

What temperature should a beef roast be cooked to

When cooking a beef roast, the best way to determine if your meat is finished roasting or not it to use your internal thermometer at the thickest part of the beef to determine the internal temperature of the beef.

  • If you like your beef medium-rare the internal temp should be 145F.
  • If you like your beef medium-well the internal temp should be 160F
  • If you like your beef well done the internal temp should be 170F

Once the meat reaches those temps, you can cover with foil and let it rest

145 degrees Fahrenheit for medium-rare, 160 degrees Fahrenheit for medium-well, or 170 degrees Fahrenheit for well done, take the roast beef out of the oven. And that’s when you can use your aluminum foil tent.

Another important thing to consider is you can cook the meat to about 2 degrees less than the above mentioned internal temperature specifications before letting it sit for 15 minutes. While the meat rests, the internal temperature will continue to increase just slightly, letting your reach the desired temperature without risking drying out your meat by leaving it in the oven for too long.

Do you put water in the bottom of a roasting pan

While your first thoughts on adding water to the pan may be, yes do it because you think it will keep the meat moist…. you need to think again. Generally speaking, no, you should not add water to the bottom of the pan. If you add water to the pan it will steam the beef rather than let the beef roast. In return, the meat will be soggy and nowhere near as flavorful since the oven won’t roast and brown the outer crust of the beef so the juices can stay locked inside.

Does beef roast get more tender the longer it cooks

Yes, beef roast does get more tender the longer it cooks. That’s why we say to cook your beef low and slow, meaning lower oven temps and for longer periods of time. As the cooking time goes on, the fat and connective tissue have more time to soften and start to break down. This creates even more flavor, tenderness, and moisture in the meat. Again, this is where letting your beef sit that extra 10-15 minutes really lets those flavors disperse as it rests.

What temperature do you cook roast beef for medium-rare

If you want a medium-rare roast beef, you’ll want the internal temperature to reach 145F using a meat thermometer in the center or thickest part. An instant-read thermometer will give you an instant read. If you use a regular thermometer, you’ll usually need to wait 15-20 seconds for an accurate reading.

How do you keep beef moist when roasting?

If you’re worried about drying out your beef as it roasts, try basting it every 30 minutes to keep it nice and moist. You can use a little olive oil with some sea salt and black pepper for flavoring and don’t forget to tent it when appropriate to lock in the moisture and flavors.

Tips for Roasting Beef

  • Don’t forget that periodically, it is important to check the actual temperature of your oven to ensure that the oven thermometer is accurate and is actually getting your oven to the temperature that you are expecting it to get to. If you find that your recipes are turning out quite as you expected, this is something important to check out and it is often overlooked as a reason why a recipe failed or didn’t turn out like you were hoping for.
  • Larger cuts of beef are better for dry heat roasting
  • Remove your beef from the refrigerator and place it on a plate to sit at room temperature for about a half hour before roasting it so it cooks more evenly
  • Always choose a shallow roasting pan with a rack to roast your beef on
  • Bone-in roasts may require a little longer to cook than boneless beef
  • Feel free to add any seasonings you enjoy- garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and pepper are common and delish
  • Be patient with the cooking process, remember that low and slow roasting wins the race
  • Always be sure to preheat the oven before you place the beef roast in there
  • Depending on what cut of beef you get at the grocery store, you may have to prep your meat first before roasting it. By this, we mean removing any silver skin and trimming off any fat. Using a nice sharp knife makes this process much easier and faster.
  • It is important to keep in mind that some recipes will call for you to sear the outsides of the beef roast first before placing it in the roasting pan with a roasting rack and putting it into a preheated oven. This is more commonly used in smaller cuts of meat, but can be used with any recipe. It is also a common practice to do this to any meat that tends to be tough and will need more time roasting to break down the fibers and tendons on the inside so they meat can get nice and tender, flavorful, and juicy as it roasts. As the fat and tendons break down, the meat becomes more tender. This can be a crucial thing that needs to happen if you have a very marbled, tough cut of meat to begin with. Pay attention to what your recipe says.

Looking for other tips when cooking in the oven?

What should you serve your easy roast beef recipe with?

Delicious roast beef pairs nicely with potatoes and any root vegetables. But, you can truly pair your beef with just about anything. It can also be great as a protein topper for a nice healthy salad. Alternatively, it can be used in other recipes, like making beef to use in tacos, burritos, or other dishes where you need cooked beef to make it. Since most beef cuts make quite a bit of beef to be used in various things, beef is a good thing to use for meal prepping. It can go far when planning meals with it.

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