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How long does it take to cook beef?

Updated July 20, 2017

Size and shape, presence of a bone or amount of fat have a direct effect on how long a cut of beef will need to be cooked. Instant-read or meat thermometers are a great way to ensure that beef ends up cooked to your desired doneness. Because different cuts of beef cook at different rates, the USDA recommends specific cooking times for eight different cuts.

Standard Cooking Times

The USDA recommends the following cooking times:

Rib Roast (bone in, 1.81 to 2.72kg.): Roast at 163 degrees C for 23 to 25 minutes per pound for medium rare, 62.8 degrees C.

Rib Roast (boneless rolled, 4 to 6 lbs.): Roast at 163 degrees C. Add 5 to 8 minutes per pound to above Rib Roast.

Chuck Roast, Brisket (3 to 4 lbs.): Braise at 163 degrees C until 71.1 degrees C for medium.

Round or Rump Roast (2 1/2 to 4 lbs.): Roast at 163 degrees C for 30 to 35 minutes per pound until 62.8 degrees C for medium rare.

Tenderloin, whole (4 to 6 lbs.): Roast at 218 degrees C for 45 to 60 minutes total, medium rare, 62.8 degrees C.

Steaks (3/4" thick): Broil/Grill 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare, 62.8 degrees C.

Stew or Shank Cross Cuts (1 to 1 1/2" thick): Cover with liquid; simmer 2 to 3 hours for medium, 71.1 degrees C.

Short Ribs (4" long and 2" thick): Braise 163 degrees C for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours for medium, 71.1 degrees C.

Doneness

While everyone has a method for determining when a cut of beef is sufficiently cooked, whether it is by colour, time or touch, these methods are inherently unreliable and can expose eaters to harmful pathogens such as E. Coli, listeria and salmonella. Cooking thermometers are suggested by the USDA to ensure cuts have met temperatures high enough to kill or neutralise any potential pathogens.

The USDA recommends cooking whole-muscle beef such as steaks and roasts to a minimum 62.8 degrees C. To correctly gauge internal temperatures of steaks less than 2 inches thick, insert the meat thermometer into the side of the steak. Taking a chop's temperature in the middle of the cut of meat is optimal, so inserting the thermometer into the side of a thin cut is the most effective way to make sure it does not get too close to the heat surface.

Techniques

There are three easy techniques that will help you cook beef faster, more reliably and more evenly. First, let your beef warm to room temperature 30 to 45 minutes before cooking. Once warm, make sure to preheat your oven, grill or pan to the correct temperature. Finally, to prevent unnecessary dryness, turn steaks only once, refrain from puncturing them and let them stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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About the Author

Dan Gaunt is a writer in Birmingham, Ala., who focuses on food, travel, and technology. His work has appeared in Cottage Living magazine, Food Arts, and Thicket magazine.