If you’re anything like me, the very best part of any roast is that flavorful crunchy crust that develops where seasonings meet fat and meet heat. Of course, the tender juicy inside is delicious too, but as Chef Michael is quick to point out, our palates actually crave the contrast between the two. Turns out, it’s all about the juxtaposition of two contrasting, yet oh-so-complimentary, tastes and flavors that gives a great roast its appeal.
So, then, how does one achieve the perfect crust? Part of it is the seasoning. Whether you use just kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper (all you really need to enhance the naturally robust flavor of the beef) or dress things up with herbs like rosemary and thyme or aromatics like garlic, it’s important to go big or go home. Because a roast is, by definition, a big hunk o’ meat, there’s only so much surface area to go around and which to be seasoned. So do it up nice and be extra generous with your seasoning!
But wait … there’s more! Just one little ingenious secret that will make all the difference in the world.
Ready for it? Drumroll, please! … Cornstarch!
That’s right. That flavorless powder is going to perform some serious roast magic. See, when you mix it in with the rest of your seasonings, it’s going to create a powerful layer of adhesion, because it helps wick moisture away from the surface of the roast. So without changing the flavor, it’s going to help those delicious seasoning bits stick to each slice of roast, and not crumble away like the crumbs Santa leaves on the cookie plate.
I tell you, it’s life-changing. Well, that may be overstating it a bit, but it’s definitely the secret weapon of chefs in the know … and now, you know about it too! The perfect roast, with the perfect crust: what could be better than that?
Looking for more roasting tips and techniques from our beef experts? We’ve got all the information you need at your fingertips:
- How to buy a roast – which cuts are ideal, what to look for in the meat case, and calculate how much you need
- Learn how to tie a roast in this quick video
- Roasting basics – season a roast with a flavorful rub (remember, add cornstarch for staying power!) and cooking temperatures.
- Or … how to grill a roast, if the weather allows
- Get saucy at Christmas dinner with these flavorful accompaniments
- How to carve a roast – your 30-second primer
- Need recipes? We’ve got ’em: the 12 Roasts of Christmas (with step-by-step instructions) and a treasure trove of flavorful options from our favorite food bloggers!
Best wishes for a festive and flavorful holiday, from our kitchens to yours. May your Christmas be merry and bright, and your roast perfectly crusted!