The Spencer roast, another name for a boneless rib-eye roast, is a flavorful, juicy and tender cut, which makes it relatively pricey. Thanks to its generous marbling, it holds up well to dry-heat cooking methods like roasting, a practical approach given a whole Spencer roast's bulky size. It easily feeds a crowd, making this a good holiday meal choice, or yields plenty of leftovers from a smaller family dinner. It's best when roasted slowly at a relatively low temperature.
Set an oven rack one or two slots below the middle level so the beef sits centered in the chamber. This allows for optimal heat circulation and even cooking. Preheat your oven for about 30 minutes to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line the bottom and sides of the roasting pan with aluminum foil and lightly coat the rack with nonstick cooking spray. The foil catches the meat's drippings so you don't have to scrub the pan after dinner, and it makes it easy to use the drippings for gravy.
Blot the Spencer roast dry with paper towels, then brush it with cooking oil. Pat it with salt and pepper to taste. Sea salt and coarsely cracked pepper add some pleasing crunch. For more depth of flavor, add a few of your favorite dried herbs and spices, such as thyme, rosemary, garlic or onion powder, chili powder, dry mustard powder or a ready-made meat rub.
Set the meat on the rack in the roasting pan with the fat side facing up. Insert an oven-safe meat thermometer into the thickest part of the roast. Put the roast into the oven.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F after about 20 minutes, once the outside of the Spencer roast looks nicely browned.
Cook the beef until the thermometer reads 10 degrees below your target doneness, as large roasts cook another 10 degrees or so while resting. The USDA advises cooking beef to a final temperature of at least 145 F; you may choose a lesser or greater degree of doneness based on your personal preference. For rare, remove the roast from the oven at 115 to 120 F; for medium-rare, take it out at 120 to 125 F; for medium, 125 to 135 F; for medium-well, 140 to 150 F; and for well-done, 155 to 160 F.
Transfer the Spencer roast onto a serving platter. Rest it for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the muscle fibers to reabsorb the juices that seep out during cooking.
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- The James Beard Cookbook; James Beard
- For a quick gravy, pour the Spencer roast's drippings from the foil into a pan on the stove over medium heat. Whisk in about 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour for 1 minute, then add about 1 cup of red wine and bring it to a boil for about 3 minutes. Toss in some chopped garlic or shallot, along with any desired seasonings, like some salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. Pour in about 1 cup of beef broth and return to a boil. Stir occasionally and reduce to the desired thickness.
- Store your Spencer roast in the refrigerator to keep it below 40 F and prevent bacterial overgrowth that can lead to foodborne illnesses.
Eric Mohrman is a food and drink, travel, and lifestyle writer living with his family in Orlando, Florida. He has professional experience to complement his love of cooking and eating, having worked for 10 years both front- and back-of-house in casual and fine dining restaurants. He has written print and web pieces on food and drink topics for Orlando Style Magazine, CrushBrew Magazine, Agent Magazine, Dollar Stretcher Magazine, The 863 Magazine and other publications.