The Cottage Smallholder

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Recipe for Danny’s easy, tasty, rare roast rib of beef

Rare roast rib of beef

Rare roast rib of beef

Years ago during the great BSE scare in the late 1990s I gave up eating beef for a year. I’d never been a big fan of burgers but rare roast beef was an all time treat for me. Bone in beef was believed to be an even bigger no-no back then. People and cows were dying from this disease.

I also gave up butter for a few years before the beef boycott. Until one happy day I saw an advertising hoarding on my way out of London.
“Welcome back to butter!” It announced.
I drove home with a pit stop at the dairy section of the local supermarket.

I was tempted back to beef by a visit to The Queens Head at Newton, just south of Cambridge. On Sunday lunch times they offer enormous platters of meat or cheese with a superb salad selection. The prices are unbelievably good value. As I queued to order my meal I gazed at a vast joint of beef and tried to concentrate on the cheese board. It was a pointless exercise, far beyond my capacity for deferred gratification, and of course I sat down and devoured the best plate of cold, rare beef that I had ever guzzled.

I had never tasted rib of beef before I met Danny. When he was growing up in the south west of Ireland this was his family’s standard Sunday joint of beef. The problem is that at £14.00 a kilo it’s very expensive for a bone in joint in the UK. Last week I spotted that rib of beef was half price on the butchers counter at Tesco so I splashed out and bought a small joint as a treat.

Needless to say, Danny was thrilled. As our joint was only 1.2 kilos I was a bit concerned that it might shrink to nothing but Danny is used to roasting smaller joints and has his own technique to produce the most succulent joint imaginable.

His technique keeps the joint moist, holds the juices and stops the joint shrinking too much. He makes what he calls a nest. This is made out of aluminium foil and has tall sides that reach the top of the joint but do not cover the top.

Danny cooks all of the roast meals at the cottage. He approaches the task with mathematical precision – making a list for perfect timings of the complete meal. He discovered fairly early on that I was not good at preparing roast meals efficiently so he did the sensible thing and took over! My roast potatoes used to soften as I frantically boiled vegetables on the hob. His roast spuds are to die for – crisp on the outside and fluffy within.

We love rare roast beef – hot and cold. If we have a really big joint we often freeze the leftovers in slices so that we can whip them out for sandwiches or a roast beef salad for an easy supper when we are feeling lazy.

Rare roast rib of beef recipe


1 kg to 1.5 kg bone-in rib of beef (ours was 1.2)

half tsp of ground sea salt (we love Maldon sea salt from a grinder)
1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil


Pre-heat the oven to 240 (220 fan assisted, gas mark 9). That blackens the outside for tasty outer slices.

Make a mini-baking tray nest from foil, just bigger than the joint, allowing enough foil to cover the sides of the joint but not the top. Place the joint (bone side down) in its nest on a roasting tray, the smaller the better to contain the joint closely (Danny used a pie dish for our joint). This will keep the juices in a smaller area and helps keep them from burning off and evaporating.

Mix the salt and pepper with a little of the olive oi, reach into the foil nest and coat the joint all over. Pour the remaining olive oil into your foil nest and put the seasoned joint in the oven. Make sure that the oven has pre-heated fully.

After 15 minutes, turn the temperature down to 180 (160 fan assisted, gas mark 4) and let it cook for a further 40 minutes for a 1.2 kilo joint (15 minutes per 450g/1 lb). For good rare beef, do not exceed these timings.

Take it out of the oven and allow to relax beneath towels for 15 to 20 minutes.

  Leave a reply


  1. David Southey

    I have now reached the 40 minute stage.

    Up to know I have not covered the 1.32 kg rib roast.

    However, in order to let it rest,” covered in a towel” as you quote, surely I should put a lid on the roasting dish plus ” nest”. No mention is made of this.

    Am I going wrong? My wife will not talk to me before the New Year if I have “ballsed” it up at the last stage.

    I do realise that by the time I receive a reply the house may be entirely silent!!!

    • LOL – sorry, David.

      “let it rest” simply means removing it from the heat source and also insulating it from becoming too cold – hence the towel. A nice sized roast like yours will happily “rest” for 20 minutes before starting to cool too much for a decent carving/serving temperature.

      Hope silence did not reign on your majestic cooking effort!

  2. My rib is off the bone but not rolled so how long should I roast it for?

  3. Marianne

    I’m just about to try out this recipe….I’m having it with sweet potato fries and my husband is having roast potatoes. I am so hungry!

  4. sue Irvin

    Hi Danny have a rib roast 1,2 kilos just waiting for the beef to reach room temp, and i will try your receipe many thanks will leave a comment of how it went Sue

  5. Marilyn Atkins

    Thanks so much for this recipe. We love rib of beef, and also really like rare beef. I didn’t think it was possible to have rare rib. There are just two of us so only buy a small joint. Used this recipe and the meat was perfect!! The best ever…thanks again.

  6. Kevin Harrison

    Best recipe I’ve seen for this type of joint, am going with it, let you know how it went

  7. Oh Yum! The weather is cooling off here now as it is Autumn downunder and it’s time for roasts, stews, casseroles and pies. Sigh…my favourite foods.

  8. Terrier

    I never cut back during the BSC scare…Moo!

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