In past years, Christmas dinner has been a celebration of pork. I went with a pancetta-wrapped pork loin our first year hosting the holiday and a porchetta last year. This year, sticking with the theme of meat wrapped in meat, I thought we would go back to beef.
Originally, I was going to make this beef tenderloin recipe that I found at CHOW.com. (Side note: I heard from a few people saying that they made this for Christmas after seeing that I posted it to my Pinterest wall. Everyone gave it a thumbs up.) I tapped out on the tenderloin, as feeding 12 people on a $13 per pound cut of tenderloin was way out of budget. I thought about the lateral move to a rib roast, but it would have been for everyone else’s benefit. I don’t really like prime rib.
So, we dropped a rung and went with the sirloin tip roast, which actually is not part of the sirloin. From Saveur:
This cut, also called the knuckle, comes from the part of the hindquarter of the steer closest to the tender sirloin, but it actually extends into the round, of which it is a part. Thus, sirloin tips are the tenderest of the round cuts; in fact, butchers often label them sirloin.
If you are from the Greater Syracuse area, you probably know of Nichols Supermarket in the village of Liverpool. The family-owned store has a full-service butcher in the back of the store, one of the things that helps it stand apart from the big markets like Wegmans and Tops. On the Saturday before Christmas, with a crowd around the butcher’s window, I was able to get a 4 lb. roast custom cut in about 10 minutes. While the roast was being prepped, I was able to sneak over to the deli to get a pound of uncured slab bacon sliced.
Anyhow, there was some strategy here. I assembled the roast on Monday, even though I wasn’t cooking it until Wednesday. After scoring the roast, seasoning it and wrapping it in bacon, I let it stand covered in my basement fridge for a day and a half. This let the salt and herbs to set in without drying out the beef, since the bacon would catch most of the air. Scoring the meat also turns the roast into a self-basting meal, with the bacon drippings permeating the beef underneath.
And while I would have preferred medium rare, my crowd would not accept anything less than medium. So, I cooked it to an internal temperature of 145 degrees and let it stand. The end result saw no complaints about color or doneness.
My only complaint was cleanup. The combination of drippings made for a ridiculous mess to scrub off the bottom of the pan.
Bacon-Wrapped Sirloin Roast
By Jared Paventi
- 4 lb. sirloin tip roast
- 1 lb. uncured slab bacon, sliced
- herbes de provence
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Cut five or six long pieces of meat string or cooking twine. Space them out at even intervals on a large sheet of parchment or wax paper. Set 2 to 3 slice of bacon over the string, then set the roast on top of the bacon. Cover the roast with an even layer of bacon, then tie off the ends of each string to secure. Move the roast on the paper to a baking sheet, cover with foil and refrigerate until 30 minutes prior to cooking.
Set the oven rack to the lowest point of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Transfer the meat to a roasting pan with an elevated rack at the bottom of the pan. Roast uncovered for 10 minutes before reducing your oven’s temperature to 300 degrees. Continue roasting until the roast reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees, approximately 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove the roast from the oven, tent with foil, and let stand for 15 minutes before slicing.