Roast beef on a spit

(Recipe #2, page 74)

For any first-rate preparation of roast beef, the first requirement is good-quality meat, aged 2–3 days in the summer, 4–5 days in winter; since it is easy for the meat to acquire an off-taste when the weather is hot, it is advisable to use an ice house (if one is available) or otherwise to leave the meat whole as long as the butcher can and then to hang it in a cold place, preferably with good air circulation. Second, the meat must be pounded on all sides shortly before it is to be cooked. Third, an alert cook is needed, who will see that the right temperature is maintained and that the meat is basted frequently.

For roast beef, take the sirloin with the ribs, above the filet, from which most of the fat has been removed. Wash and dry it with a kitchen towel, pound it as described in no. 1, and sprinkle it with finely ground salt (too much salt will make the roast tough). Lard the filet with pork fat, put the roast beef on the spit, and secure it with a skewer.

Baste the meat often with melted butter and suet, begin roasting it at a high temperature to brown the meat rapidly, so that it will retain its juices. Continue roasting for 2–3 hours; the exact length of time will depend on the size of the roast and whether you want to leave the meat on the rare side. For a 6–8 pound roast, you can figure on ¼ hour per pound.

Translated by David Green.

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