How to Cook a Rolled Roast Medium Rare

by Fern Fischer
Let a rolled roast rest after cooking to retain juices and to make slicing easier.

Let a rolled roast rest after cooking to retain juices and to make slicing easier.

A rolled roast consists of a layer of meat rolled into a cylindrical shape. Rolling the meat helps create uniform density throughout, allowing the heat to penetrate evenly, resulting in a brown outer layer and a pink center -- the hallmark of meat cooked to medium-rare perfection. When you buy a rolled roast, it is bound with butcher’s twine to hold its shape. Simply snip the twine and remove it at serving time. Extra fat is trimmed from the meat before it’s rolled, so the only fat should be marbling and a thin layer covering the top of the roast. Except that it awaits your favorite seasonings, a rolled roast is ready for the oven when you purchase it.

Set the roast out on the counter until it reaches room temperature, about two hours for a 3- to 4-pound rolled roast. This is not a safety concern, because bacterial growth doesn't begin until about four hours.

Unwrap the roast and place it on a clean work surface. Rub the outside of the roast with seasonings such as salt and pepper, or insert small garlic cloves into the surface of the roast by making incisions with the tip of a sharp knife. Herbs can impart complex flavors during cooking. Tuck a small bay leaf under the twine in two or three places on the roast, or rub dried, crumbled herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme or savory over the outside of the meat.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If your oven is equipped with a convection fan, turn it on. Place the roast on a rack in the bottom of the roasting pan with the fat side of the meat facing up.

Place the roast in the center of the oven. Sear the roast in the hot oven for about 15 minutes, or until a caramelized layer develops. The lightly browned outer layer creates the flavor-packed bits that make the drippings so good. While it is not required, a convection fan circulates the hot air in the oven and helps the outer, caramelized crust develop.

Turn down the oven temperature to about 250 F and continue to cook the meat uncovered and with the convection fan off. The cooking time is generally about 20 to 30 minutes per pound, or about two hours for a 4-pound roast. Baste as necessary to redistribute the flavorful drippings. Basting about every 30 minutes helps maintain an evenly brown and juicy roast. Check the temperature in the center of the roast using an instant-read meat thermometer for accuracy. Remove the roast from the oven when the internal temperature is 125 F. Set the roast where it can rest undisturbed.

Cover the resting meat with a loose tent of aluminum foil, if desired. Rest the meat until the temperature increases to no more than 130 F for medium-rare, pink-in-the-middle slices. Generally, the resting time is about five minutes for each pound of meat. Slice the roast and transfer the meat to a serving platter.

Items you will need

  • Seasonings
  • Roasting pan
  • Roasting rack
  • Instant-read meat thermometer
  • Aluminum foil (optional)
  • Platter


  • Cook a rolled roast with or without the traditional vegetables. If you include vegetables, baste them with drippings when you baste the roast. Monitor the level of the drippings in the pan and add broth if necessary.


  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends cooking meat to an internal temperature of 145 F.

Photo Credits

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