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Cooking times when using a smaller roast   Go to last post Go to last unread
#1 Posted : Tuesday, January 5, 2021 9:16:06 AM(UTC)

Hopefully this is not a dumb question.....but I am planning Barefoot Contessa's Slow Roasted Spiced Pork later this week and my roast is approximately 1/3 the size called for......the original recipe says 350 - 2.5 hours covered then 4 - 4.5 hours uncovered for a 7-9 lb roast......Mine is just under 2.5 pounds.

Should I adjust the FIRST uncovered cooking time?   I realize the second uncovered time will depend on the actual doneness of the roast.

AND perhaps lowering the oven temp is also a good idea?

ANY advice (other than use a bigger roast :) will be appreciated!

#2 Posted : Tuesday, January 5, 2021 10:50:54 AM(UTC)

Hi Averythingcooks, I tracked down her recipe, there is a video on Food Network, it looks delicious!

Your question is about adjusting the cooking times, and sorry if this is a dumb response, but first you should make sure you have the correct cut of meat.

She calls for a "(7- to 9-pound) bone-in pork butt with a layer of fat on top". This is also known as a pork shoulder or Boston butt in the U.S., and I have never seen one weighing less than 2 1/2 pounds in the markets here. I think a boneless pork butt would also work for this recipe, but I would not use this slow-cook method for a pork loin or tenderloin.

I also noticed that she is cooking at 300 degrees, not 350. 

If I were to attempt this, I think I would leave it covered for 1 1/2 hours, then finish it uncovered.

#3 Posted : Tuesday, January 5, 2021 11:56:23 AM(UTC)

Thank you for the response!  Yes - 350 was me typing too is 300 :)

My roast is a bone in pork shoulder (smallish fat cap - I'm okay with that) and in my small town grocery stores they are aften in the 2 to 5 lb range......a large one like she calls for would be very hard to get.  I typically use 3 - 4 lb'ers  for all kinds of recipes (slow braises for pulled pork. SFAH's pork braised in chilies, Alison Roman's harissa rubbed pork with beans etc) and most recently Small Victories DELICIOUS pork braised in cider).  I seldom buy one bigger than 4 lbs.....and I just dug this smaller guy out of my freezer.  I cook for 2 so I'm used to scaling things back.

It really is the 1st interval of covered time that I am questioning....I am not cooking for company (Is anyone? We are in a month long lockdown - again! - here in Ontario) and I am prepared for it to be done...whenever.  I have now compared this method to Roman's and hers was 450 for 15 minutes to form a crust then down to 250....til done.  Your idea of the reduced 1st interval time is also a good one.  Hmmm..... still thinking about my options.

Thanks again - and Happy New Year!  

#4 Posted : Tuesday, January 5, 2021 4:08:40 PM(UTC)

I;d let my nose fo the timing question work for me! Often slow roasting recipes vary in times & temps & weights .. but if its low & slow you're after have a look at this web site : Free Range Butcher.. Enjoy!

#5 Posted : Tuesday, January 5, 2021 4:52:28 PM(UTC)

Thanks Debkellie.....I had a quick read at the link you provided and intend to spend some more time there to see what other info / tips she has.  I think it was just the  initial covered time interval that had me guessing and I believe I'm going to just follow the Small Victories method with a quick blast of heat  and then longer slow cook at a much lower temp.  I can always cover it later if it is getting too much of a crust :)

Thanks for your help!


#6 Posted : Saturday, January 9, 2021 4:23:46 PM(UTC)

If you have a smart phone like iPhone or Android, I highly reccomend getting a wireless thermometer. It takes a lot of the guess work out cutting down recipes. I was gifted with this 2 Christmases ago and I absolutely love it! No guess work and no opening the oven to read the thermometer:

The phone interface is wonderful. You select the type of meat (Pork, Beef, Chicken, etc.), then the cut (Tenderloin, Rump Roast, etc.) and finally the doneness displayed both by name and temperature. The interface even knows about resting time and that internal temperature will continue to rise. So, for example it will tell you to remove from heat at 130º to rest for a target temperature of 135º. It will then continue to monitor and tell you when the resting is complete.

I have this basic one with a short 33' range. They make a more expensive model with a longer range that would be better for barbecuing or if you have a larger house. They also make a 4 probe model that my nephew-in-law has, which is great for doing steaks, or for holidays when you have multiple things going at once.

#7 Posted : Saturday, January 9, 2021 7:00:58 PM(UTC)

Thanks to everyone for their help!  I cooked the roast yesterday (and will be commenting on the actual recipe soon).  I followed the Small Victories method of very high heat uncovered  (450 for 15 minutes) then covered it and dropped the temp to 300 for an hour and then went with uncovered at 275 until it was "pull apart".  It helped that I was here for the afternoon and was periodically poking at it until it was pull apart.  I shredded it it and stirred it back into the defatted liquid.  Initial impressions are "pretty good"! and it is being used for tacos tonight. 

And yes - we are now researching the wireless thermometer - thank you Fyretigger for the suggestion :) 

#8 Posted : Sunday, January 10, 2021 1:05:34 AM(UTC)

The Meater wireless thermomenter is brilliant .. I use it in the BBq, stove etc .. only one it won't work in is the combi-microwave .. great investment! I don't even mind their follow up posts after every cook with "how was your *** roast?"

#9 Posted : Sunday, January 10, 2021 3:28:05 PM(UTC)

Thanks to both Fyretigger and Debkellie for the references to the wirless meat thermometer!  I watched a quick video re: the "Meater" and yes - among many features - the resting time being built in is amazing.  I have sicced my partner on this....he is the digital gadget guy in the house.....and "someone" here has a birthday coming up :)

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