Roast beef mise en place. Photos by Donna Turner Ruhlman

On Thanksgiving, I offered a roast/braise combination cooking technique for turkey. Interesting that I use a dual cooking technique for our traditional holiday Christmas meal as well. The Grill/Roast method, which I write about in Ruhlman’s Twenty.

I don’t think there’s a better way to cook a rack of beef (or a whole beef tenderloin) than this combination grill-roast method. It gives the meat great grilled flavor and allows you perfect control of temperatures and timing. I use the method in during holidays, to serve beef tenderloin sandwiches on a buffet or a rack of beef for a large group of people because I can grill the beef a day ahead if I want and then just finish it in the oven. Flavor the meat on the grill, finish it in the oven. It’s beautiful. (I like to season the beef with coriander and black pepper.) I’m psyched this year because it will be done on the Big Green Egg, which I am loving (my big green egg review here). I don’t recommend using this method with a gas grill, only real coals.

The ribs themselves are an added benefit. You can serve them immediately, but I like to save them, for a second leftover meal the next day. They’re delicious spread with some Dijon mustard and bread crumbs, cayenne if you like them hot, then broiled. I order or buy a pound/455 grams per person, which is usually enough to have leftovers.

If you want to concentrate the flavors, start preparing this dish several days before you want to serve it by salting the meat and leaving it to dry for at least a day and up to four days, uncovered, in the refrigerator.

Make a beef stock jus for the sauce or simply mix freshly grated horseradish sauce with whipped cream, seasoned with some salt pepper and a little white wine or sherry vinegar for a simple horseradish sauce.

Serve with Marlene’s excellent Yorkshire pudding.

Grilled and Roasted Beef

  • One 6-pound/2.7-kilogram rack of beef
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely cracked or chopped black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely cracked coriander seeds
  1. Rinse the beef and pat it dry. Line an appropriately sized baking sheet or platter with paper towels. Liberally sprinkle the beef all over with salt. You will need 2 to 3 tablespoons. You should have a nice crust of salt on the exterior. This is best done several days before cooking; refrigerate the beef, uncovered, until the day you cook it.
  2. Remove the beef from the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours before grilling. Rub the beef with the oil and sprinkle all sides with the pepper and the coriander.

    Grilling off the sides of the roast (I'll add more pepper and coriander next time!)

  3. Build a hot fire in one half of the grill/barbecue (you’ll be searing all sides of the rack of beef). Spread the coals out, put an oiled grill rack over them, and allow it to get hot. Put the beef on the rack over the coals, and cover. Sear it on all sides (covering will keep more smoke on the meat and reduce the flames from the rendering fat). When all sides are seared, a few minutes on each side, move the roast to the cool side of the grill cover and cook another 10 minutes.

    I like to make good grill marks.


  4. If you’re serving the beef immediately, preheat the oven to 250°F/120°C/gas 1/2. Put the beef on a rack in a roasting pan or on a baking sheet and roast it to an internal temperature of 125°F/52°C for rare or 130°F/54°C for medium rare. This will take about 15 to 20 minutes per pound, but can vary depending on the internal temperature of the meat when you began cooking it. I use a Redi-Check cable thermometer, which sounds an alarm when it hits the desired temperature. This way, I can talk to family, enjoy myself completely, and forget about the meat till it’s ready.
  5. If you’re cooking the beef ahead of time, refrigerate it after grilling and cooling, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate it. To finish it, let it sit out at room temperature four hours or so before putting it in the oven. It should take 15 minutes per pound at this point.

    All done grilling and now to finish off cooking in the oven.

  6. Allow the meat to rest for 15 to 25 minutes at room temperature after you remove it from the oven.

    This is how I measure the internal temperature of the roast.

  7. Remove the beef loin from the ribs, slicing along the ribs downward to remove the loin in one piece. It’s best to do this on a carving board with a moat, or channel, around the periphery. The beef will release a lot of juice, which can be spooned over the meat when serving. Slice the meat as desired. If you wish to serve whole pieces on the bone, simply slice them whole and serve with the juices.

Serves 6

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© 2011 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2011 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved