How can I make my dry roast moist?

Cooks are often heard to lament that their turkey is dry or their roast beef is like cardboard. Some might even try cooking their roast joint in water or another liquid in the mistaken belief that this will keep it moist. There is no "trick" to producing a moist and tender roast. The most common cause of a dried out roast is over cooking, no matter if it is beef, lamb, pork or poultry. Keeping it tender is simply a matter of not cooking it for too long and keeping the juices contained.

Beef, pork, lamb and veal

Place seasoned roast meat on a rack in a pan in the centre of the oven at a temperature of 230 degrees C (450F) and cook for 15 minutes uncovered. This will help sear the outside of the roast and seal in the juices. Do not prick the meat with a fork because you will allow the juices to escape. Turn the oven down to 120 degrees C (250F) and cover with the lid of the pan or a sheet of aluminium foil with the shiny side down.

Insert a meat thermometer, taking care that it is not lodged beside a bone, and check it often. Cook until the internal temperature of the meat is: 55 degrees C 130F) for beef; 63 degrees C (145F) for veal; 66 degrees C (150F) for pork; and 60 degrees C (140F) for lamb. If you prefer your meat "well done," wait until the internal temperature is a few degrees higher but be aware that it will be dryer than meat that is cooked for a shorter time.

Remove the meat from the oven and wrap it in aluminium foil, shiny side in, and place in a warm spot for 15 to 20 minutes. The roast meat will not be fully cooked when you take it out of the oven but will continue to cook in the foil. When you open it up and carve it, you should find that it is adequately cooked, moist and tender.

Roast poultry

Cook roast poultry in an oven roasting bag. Roasting bags are non-combustible and are sold in most supermarkets. They can be found on the shelves close to the aluminium foil and other types of bags.

Pour 15 ml (1 tbsp) of flour into the dry bag and shake it to disperse. Put the seasoned meat into the bag and seal with the tie provided. Make slits in the top of the bag to allow steam to escape and place it in a roasting pan.

Cook at 200 degrees C (400F) until the internal temperature of a fleshy part of the bird not close to a bone is 77 degrees C (170F).

Remove the bird from the oven bag and pour out the juices. Place it on a serving dish.


Beef, lamb and pork can also be cooked in oven roasting bags instead of wrapping the meat in foil.

Things You'll Need

  • Roasting pan
  • Seasoning
  • Oven roasting bag
  • Aluminium foil
  • Meat thermometer
  • Oven gloves
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About the Author

Trish Jackson is an author, blogger and freelance writer. Her second romantic suspense novel, "Redneck P.I.," was released in March 2011. Jackson particularly likes to write articles relating to life in the country, animals and home projects and has kept a blog focusing on this since 2006.