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Jan '06

Look, Ma! I can cook a roast!!!

oven roast

Yesterday we had company for dinner, and we were planning to have pot roast cooked in the crock pot with potatoes and carrots on the side. That is, we were planning to have pot roast until I accidentally bought an oven roast instead.

I got the roast from the high-class grocery store Wal-Mart, where the roasts have pictures of pots and ovens to clearly distinguish one type of roast from another.

(I have to admit…I didn’t realize there was a difference until I noticed the pictures.)

I thought I was in the crock pot section of the roasts–I checked the pictures and everything. The pot roasts didn’t look all that appetizing (arm chuck roast? yuck). And they were all large, around three or four pounds. We were just feeding four people and didn’t want leftovers.

Suddenly my eyes lighted on a beautiful triangular roast called tri-tip sirloin. My mind instantly backtracked to our most recent trip to Tucanos, the amazing Brazilian restaurant, where tri-tip sirloin was my favorite meat selection they brought to our table. Either that or top sirloin. In any case, I knew the tri-tip had to be good, and I wanted dinner to turn out good. Plus, the meat was only 1.70 pounds–perfect for four people without much leftover.

It wasn’t until I got home and proudly pulled my tri-tip from the Wal-Mart plastic bag that I noticed the label had a picture of an oven, not a pot.

Have I ever cooked an oven roast before?


Heck, I’m not even that good at making pot roast, and with that all you do is dump the meat in a pot with water and turn the thing on for eight hours.

That’s when I started worrying. John will tell you that I’m a worrier, and, as I always say, John is never wrong. I worried all through the sledding party on Saturday afternoon and dinner on Saturday night. I worried all through sacrament meeting on Sunday and my Sunday school lesson (which I taught!) and relief society. I came home from church worried and scoured the Internet for needed insight on how to cook a tri-tip sirloin in the oven.

I learned that tri-tip is an oven roast because it requires dry heat to cook properly. If you cook it improperly, like with moisture in a crock pot, or overcook it, it can turn out tough. Appropriate cooking methods include grilling, broiling, or roasting (in an oven, like the picture on the meat label indicates).

In addition to worrying, another talent I have, especially in times of possible calamity, is praying. I wonder if anybody else has ever said eight prayers in a single morning for help to figure out how to successfully cook a tri-tip sirloin oven roast. I may have been the first.

In answer to my prayers and nervous Web surfing, I found a recipe for a savory herb rub, and I read about six cookbooks to figure out what temperature the roast needed to cook and what type of pan to cook it in (about 350 degrees, and a shallow pan covered in tinfoil).

We pulled out the roast at 6 p.m. and checked it (I made John do this, I was too worried).

It was done!

And, I’m happy to report, it turned out tasty! John gave it rave reviews, which is really saying something, since he’s a bit of a meat connoisseur.

The secret seems to be in the herb rub I used. So I share it here for all fellow wannabe successful oven roasters.

Shannon’s Basic Oven Roast Recipe

1 beef tri-tip roast (approximately 2 pounds)

1 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. savory
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

1. Heat oven to 425ºF. In small bowl, combine seasoning ingredients. Press seasoning mixture evenly into surface of beef roast.
2. Place roast, fat side up, in a shallow pan lined with aluminum foil (a cookie sheet or other baking pan will work). Do not add water or cover. Roast in preheated 425°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes for rare to medium.
3. Remove roast when meat thermometer registers 135°F for rare or 155°F for medium (I used an instant-read thermometer, which you only insert after you pull the roast from the oven). Allow roast to stand outside the oven, tented with aluminum foil, for 10 minutes. Roast will continue to rise in temperature to reach 140°F for rare and 160°F for medium.

If you want to roast potatoes with the beef, you can cut up potatoes or other vegetables (carrots, squash, whatever) and coat them in oil and herbs. You can use the same herb mixture you used for the roast, if you want, and just add some oil to help coat the veggies. (Or you can buy a pre-made herb mix from the store for the veggies.) Then place the veggies around the roast and cook them with the roast. Once you remove the roast from the oven increase the oven temp to 475 degrees and continue cooking the veggies 10 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.

It turns out good! Honest! I can swear by it now, since I am a successful oven roast maker!

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