How to carve a beef roast

Carving a beef roast needn’t be stressful, with a well-rested roast and a sharp knife it’s easy. Follow our simple step-by-step guides to get the juiciest results everytime.

For general rules that apply to the carving of all roasts go to our ‘How to carve a roast’ page.

How to carve a beef roast

  1. For the juiciest roast, allow the beef to rest for 20 minutes before carving. This allows the meat juices to redistribute (which keeps the beef juicy) and makes carving easier.
  2. Place a dampened napkin under the board to prevent it moving as you carve.
  3. Steady the beef with a carving fork and begin to carve the roast with a slicing (not sawing) motion, using the full length of the blade.
  4. Carve across the grain of the beef at a consistent angle. Gently remove any strings or skewers as you carve.
  5. Transfer the beef roast slices to a warm plate or serving platter and spoon any juices over the top.

Carving boneless beef roasts

Rib eye (scotch fillet) is an easy beef roast to carve. For even slices, hold the knife at the same angle for each cut

The tenderloin (or fillet) can be presented on a platter, and then transferred to the carving board using a fork and the flat of the knife blade. Hold it in place with the back of the fork instead of piercing the meat. Begin slicing at the wide end of the fillet, keeping the blade of the knife slightly tilted, carving across the grain. Make the slices about 2cm thick. To keep the warmth and juices within the slices, keep them stacked closely together on one side of the carving board as they are cut.

Carving bone-in beef roasts (standing rib roast)

Carving is easier if you have the backbone removed by the butcher and the rib bones cut short.

  1. Place the roast on the carving board with the large end down to form a solid base. Insert the fork firmly beneath the top rib. Starting at the right hand edge (the broadest part), slice across the grain horizontally toward the rib side.
  2. Use the tip of the knife to cut along the rib bone to release the slice. Be sure to keep close to the bone. Lift each slice individually by sliding the knife back under the slice and steadying it with the fork. Lift the slice to the side of the platter, or to a heated platter close by.

Usually a rib roast is carved in slices, but for hearty eaters you might like to serve a whole rib. To serve a whole rib, cut under the first rib, near the bone, slicing the meat from the rib top inward. To lift the whole rib neatly, pick it up with the knife underneath and use the fork to hold it steady.

Carving a rolled rib beef roast

A rolled rib can be carved lying on its side or on its end. This will be determined by the length or height of the roll. For a larger roll it is recommended to lay it on its end with the larger cut surface down and the smaller end up. Sirloin roasts may also be carved using this technique.

Insert the carving fork firmly 2-3cm below the top of the roast. Slice across the grain from the right side. Make the first slice thicker than the others in order to get a smooth and level surface from the start. Lift each slice with the blade of the knife and steady with the fork. Place directly on the plate or a hot serving platter. Reinsert the fork progressively lower in the meat each time, keeping the slices uniform.

Remove any strings as you come to them. When the roast has only 5-10cm left to carve, divide it down the middle. Lay the cut surface flat on the carving board. Continue to slice and repeat for the other portion.

Carving corned silverside

Place the meat fat side up, on the carving board, with the tip to the right of the carver. Look for the direction of the grain. If you’re not sure how it runs, check by cutting off a thin slice or two. Begin at the tip, slicing across the grain at the desired thickness. As the grain changes, turn the meat so that you are always cutting across the grain, to ensure tenderness.

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