Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rump Roast

A feast for the eyes, indeed! Growing up, I never saw a rump roast that looked this good!

I always get a bit excited when I spy rump roasts in the meat department at the grocery store. It's not the best cut of meat, but I love the grain of its texture and rich, beefy flavor.

I grew up with Sunday rump roasts. My mom would throw one in the oven before we went to church on Sundays. Sometimes, she put it in the oven but forgot to turn it on ... YIKES! She was angry the rest of the day! I don't think she ever used a thermometer ... just time. So, there you go.

You need a thermometer.

I hated Sunday rump roasts. They were tough and difficult to swallow. Chew, chew, chew. My mother hated Sundays ... everyone was home, even my dad ... and she had to cook and clean up. She never got a day off. Pins and needles. When she was angry, she banged around pots and pans, cabinet doors. I think today, that is what we call passive-aggressive behavior.

The leftovers were better, though ... served over grocery store white bread that sopped up the gravy ... and made it all more palpable.

Roasts are more and more difficult to find, (good roasts, anyway, which include pork). Most of what we prepare is already sliced and diced. That's too bad. A roast is one of the easiest things to prepare: just season, bake, slice and serve. And if you have a family, it can go a long way. Leftovers are great for cold or warm sandwiches.

Thin slices of rare, seasoned rump roast served with a side
of garlic and rosemary polenta. Just a smidge of gravy.

When I lived in Michigan, I had the luxury of choosing between several butchers. The rump roasts were on the tender side and cut with a generous saddle of fat which basted the roast as it cooked. If there were not enough fat, the butcher would give several pieces of suet that I affixed to the roast with toothpicks. The roasts were also uniform in size so they cooked evenly.

If you get your roast in the supermarket, it will be packaged upside down making it difficult how much fat the "butcher" left on it. The more the better. You can always trim it yourself if there is too much--but there never is. Try to choose a roast that is uniform in size. Many are "triangular" shaped which means the thinner parts will cook sooner.

The rub below is enough to use for 2.5-3.5 lb. roast (this is a good rub for any beef cut that you will roast). Remember, the spices only penetrate about 1/4 inch of the meat as it cooks. A roast such as this should be served rare, and cut against the grain in thin, thin slices.
  • 1, 2.5 - 3 lb. rump roast
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose black pepper
  • 1 good teaspoon granulated/powdered beef bouillon
  • 1.5 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/4 heaping teaspoon dried thyme leaves, lightly crushed
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon regular paprika
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • optional: roughly chopped onion, carrot, celery, one whole unpeeled garlic clove,
    • if desired add a spring or two of fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, marjoram and
    • lightly toss all in some olive oil 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

With a damp paper towel, wipe all sides of the roast.

In a small bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Rub the olive oil into the roast and then coat with the dry rub.

Place roast on a metal rack in a shallow metal pan/dish. If desired, spread roughly chopped vegetables on bottom

Notice the saddle of fat that has been
left on the roast. It adds
both moisture and taste.

Roast until it reaches an internal temperature of about 120-125 degrees. This will take anywhere from 50-70 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to stand, covered, without cutting for 10-15 minutes. This allows the juices to stop flowing out and settle back into the meat.

Cut against the grain when carving. An old pie tin serves well as a roasting pan.
I like the heat to hit all sides when roasting.

Remove roast to a cutting board and cut into thin slices. Sometimes a sharp serrated knife works best. Be sure to cut against the grain of the meat.

If gravy is desired, add a bit of water or beef or chicken stock to the pan drippings and stir over medium heat until bubbly. Pour into a small bowl and serve on the side. I don't use flour ... I like au jus ... 

If you added veggies, smash them a bit to release flavor and then remove. Add water or stock, scraping the bottom of the pan. Strain and serve.