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However advantage of cooking directly on rungs is that air circulates freely round joint, ensuring even cooking, and you can remove roasting tin to make your gravy while leaving meat where it is. Of course, if you do that, you will want to put some kind of drip tray under joint, but any ovenproof dish will do for that.
Temperatures and cooking times
Using my method (actually it’s Graham Kerr’s method which I’ve adopted but what heck) you don’t need to learn a lot of complicated temperature/time formulas. Cook your red meat at 350°F,180°c,gas mark 4.
Cook poultry at 325°F,160°c,gas mark 3.
Calculate your cooking time as 30 minutes for every 500 grams (roughly 1lb) of meat. This will produce thoroughly cooked poultry, beef that is well cooked on outside and rare inside, pink lamb and pork (yes you can safely eat ‘underdone’ pork providing internal temperature reaches 145°F. The danger bug is trichinae, which dies at temperatures greater than 135°F).
Remember to add an extra 30 minutes if you are using stuffing.
If you want to change anything – alter your cooking times accordingly but beware. There is a very thin line between meat that is well done and boot leather. If rare meat is more than you can handle, it’s a much better idea to use my cooking times but then turn oven off and leave meat in it for a further 30 minutes or so.
Which brings me to one more point; it’s very important to let meat stand for at least 20 minutes before carving.
Why? Because when you heat protein (which is what meat is) it shrinks and toughens. Allowing it to relax and cool a little restores some of its elasticity.
However it will continue to cook for a while after leaving oven and internal temperature will increase by as much as a further 10 degrees. Which is why you need a good 20 minutes resting time.
Just keep it in a warm place with a sheet of cooking foil over top while you prepare greens and gravy.
During the 1990s Michael Sheridan was head chef of the Pierre Victoire restaurant in London's West End, specializing in French cuisine. An Australian, he is a published author on cooking matters, and runs a free membership club for busy home cooks at http://thecoolcook.com