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How to Cook the Perfect Holiday Roast


The holiday roast is the highlight of the meal, the centerpiece of your table. You want to serve a juicy, awe-inspiring roast, but the task can seem daunting. We’re here to help with our tips for holiday roast perfection.

Just imagine… a gorgeous chateaubriand with decadent butcher’s butter or a rich prime rib roast for you and your family and friends. A perfect beef roast worthy of your special occasion.

Be the host with the roast this holiday season with our beef roast cooking tips. Your guests will love you and be back for seconds.

Select your ideal roast

When selecting your roast, plan for approximately ½ pound per person. If you are serving a bone-in roast or a group with larger appetites, serve ¾ pound or 12 ounces pound per person. There are two iconic holiday roasts: chateaubriand and prime rib. Each roast has a unique flavor profile, both create an amazing holiday meal.


The chateaubriand is a tenderloin roast – a roast-size filet mignon. It is a fork tender roast with mild flavor that pairs perfectly with rich sauces. This decadent roast has excellent presentation and is memorable.

How to Cook the Perfect Holiday Roast

Prime rib roast

Prime rib roasts are cut from the rib primal and have rich, buttery flavor you love with ribeye steaks. This roast is well-marbled and the fat melts into the roast as it cooks, leaving you with a flavorful, tender beef roast.

Prime rib roasts can be boneless or bone-in. Bone-in cuts have a juicier more robust flavor through insulating the beef through cooking. Another variation of bone-in prime rib roast is frenched style – the bone portion of the rib is fully cleaned for beautiful presentations and easier carving. Any prime rib roast you select is an iconic classic American roast.

How to Cook the Perfect Holiday Roast

Thaw completely

Don’t forget to thaw your roast completely in the refrigerator for 48-72 hours. Set a reminder now to make sure you give yourself enough time to thaw the beef before the big event.

Use a meat thermometer

Cooking your roast to your desired doneness is best measured with a meat thermometer. Make sure to monitor your roast during the cooking process and use these temperature guidelines for doneness.

  • Rare 120-130 °F
  • Medium rare 130-140 °F
  • Medium 140-150 °F
  • Well done 160-170 °F

Cook to perfection

Cooking a perfect holiday roast can seem intimidating, but it’s actually very easy.  There are three simple methods you can use for cooking a delicious holiday roast: quick roast, sear and slow roast or reverse-sear and roast.

Quick roast

One of the easiest methods for cooking a large roast is the quick roast method where you use a higher temp oven to sear the roast during the cooking process. Use these instructions for quick roast:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil and season roast. Place on an elevated rack in a roasting pan. Roast uncovered, using the times below. Allow 20-40 minutes resting time before slicing.

How to Cook the Perfect Holiday Roast

Sear and slow roast

The sear is important on a roast, because it gives the roast a nice crust and adds flavor. You can sear before or after cooking it in the oven. To sear before roasting, use these instructions:

Preheat the oven to 250°F. Lightly oil and season roast. Sear roasts in a large pan, with small amount of oil, or on the grill for 2-3 minutes on each side or until well browned. Place the roast on an elevated rack in a roasting pan. Refer to this roast cooking chart for approximate cooking times. Allow 15-20 minutes resting time before slicing and serving.

Reverse-searing method

The Reverse Searing Method results in a stunning, well-browned holiday roast with an evenly cooked interior that’s tender and flavorful. The preparation is easy and forgiving, but it takes forethought. Here’s the basic idea:

Roast slowly using this chart for approximate cooking times and cook to 5-10 degrees below your desired finish temperature. Let the roast rest for 30 to 45 minutes, then sear in a hot skillet for 2 minutes on each side or until a delicious brown crust uniformly covers your roast.

If you want to smoke your holiday roast, it is a great cooking option and it frees up your oven. Cooking instructions for smoking will vary depending on your smoker and weather conditions. You can try our recipe for bacon wrapped smoked chateaubriand.

Let it rest

It’s important to give your roast time to rest after cooking is done. This allows the juices to flow from the center back to the exterior resulting in juicier cuts. We recommend at least 20 minutes of rest time for your roast.

Shop Omaha Steaks roasts – aged 28 or more days for tender beef and trimmed to perfection by our master butchers – and you’ll have everything you need to get your holiday menu started. Enjoy!

Now go get your roast on.

And don’t forget, Omaha Steaks is your best bet for amazing meat gifts for Christmas!

More Holiday Recipes & Tips:

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2012 and has been updated for freshness and comprehensiveness.

How to Cook the Perfect Holiday Roast

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