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Roasting

RoastingRoasting is a cooking method that uses dry heat, whether an open flame, oven, or other heat source.  Roasting usually causes caramelization or Maillard browning of the surface of the food, which is considered a flavor enhancement.[citation needed] Roasting uses more indirect, diffused heat (as in a oven), and is suitable for slower cooking of meat in a larger, whole piece.

Meats and most root and bulb vegetables can be roasted.  Any piece of meat, especially red meat, that has been cooked in this fashion is called a roast. In addition, large uncooked cuts of meat are referred to as roasts.  Roasting is a much slower method of cooking.  A roast joint of meat can take one, two, even three hours to cook - the resulting meat is tender. Also, meats and vegetables prepared in this way are described as "roasted", e.g., roasted chicken or roasted squash.

Methods
For roasting, the food may be placed on a rack, in a roasting pan or, to ensure even application of heat, may be rotated on a spit or rotisserie. During oven roasting, hot air circulates around the meat, cooking all sides evenly. There are several theories for roasting meats correctly: low-temperature cooking, high-temperature cooking, and a combination of both. Each method can be suitable under appropriate circumstances.

A low-temperature oven, 200 °F to 325 °F (95 °C to 160 °C), is best when cooking with large cuts of meat, turkey and whole chickens. This is not technically roasting temperature, but it is called slow-roasting. The benefit of slow-roasting an item is less moisture loss and a more tender product. At true roasting temperatures, 400 °F (200 °C) or more, the water inside the muscle is lost at a high rate.

Cooking at high temperatures is beneficial if the cut is small enough—as in filet mignon or strip loin—to be finished cooking before the juices escape.

The combination method uses high heat just at either the beginning or the end of the cooking process, with most of the cooking at a low temperature. This method produces the golden-brown texture and crust, but maintains more of the moisture than simply cooking at a high temperature, although the product will not be as moist as low-temperature cooking the whole time. Searing and then turning down to low is also beneficial when a dark crust and caramelized flavor is desired for the finished product. Note that searing in no way "locks in" moisture: moisture loss is simply a function of heat and time.

In general, in either case, the meat is removed from heat before it has finished cooking and left to sit for a few minutes, while the inside cooks further from the residual heat content, a phenomenon known as carry over cooking.

The objective in any case is to retain as much moisture as possible, while providing the texture and color. During roasting, meats and vegetables are frequently basted on the surface with butter, lard, or oil to reduce the loss of moisture by evaporation. In recent times, plastic oven bags have become popular for roasts. These cut cooking times and reduce the loss of moisture during roasting, but reduce flavor development from Maillard browning. They are particularly popular for turkeys.

Until the late 19th century, roasting by dry heat in an oven was called baking. Roasting originally meant turning meat or a bird on a spit in front of a fire. It is one of the oldest forms of cooking known.

Traditionally recognized roasting methods consist only of baking and cooking over or near an open fire. Grilling is normally not technically a roast, since a grill (gridiron) is used (in English-speaking countries). Smoking differs from roasting because of the lower temperature and controlled smoke application.

Meat
Most meat roasts are large cuts of meat. Many roasts are tied with string prior to roasting, often using the reef knot or, in the more traditional sense, the packer's knot. Tying holds them together during roasting, keeping any stuffing inside, and keeps the roast in a round profile, which promotes even cooking.

Prior to roasting in an oven, meat is generally "browned" by brief exposure to high temperature. This imparts a traditional flavor and color to the roast. Red meats such as beef, lamb, and venison, and certain game birds are often roasted to be "pink" or "rare", meaning that the center of the roast is still red. Due to food safety concerns, this practice is not recommended with pork and poultry. Although there is a growing fashion in some restaurants to serve "rose pork", temperature monitoring of the center of the roast is the only sure way to avoid foodborne disease.

In Britain and Ireland, a roast of meat may be referred to as a joint, or a leg, if it is a leg.

Other
Roasting is a preferred method of cooking for most poultry, and certain cuts of beef, pork, or lamb. Some vegetables, such as potatoes, zucchini, pumpkin, turnips, parsnips, cauliflower, asparagus, squash, and peppers lend themselves to roasting as well. Roasted chestnuts are also a popular snack in winter.

See also
Coffee roasting
Dry roasting
Low-temperature cooking
Braising or pot roasting
Roast beef
Pan frying

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