One of the things my dad loves to do is cook a large piece of meat, and I have called him more than once for tips on how he does it. When we would all gather at the lake for a family reunion, a baron of beef was usually on the menu, and the leftovers are perfect for french dip sandwiches.
So when round steak goes on sale, I try to get the butcher to cut me a baron. Now the definition of a baron is sketchy, so some butchers look at me blankly when I ask for a baron, and some knowingly nod and say they’ll be right back. I have a thirteen-pound baron which will make a public appearance on our Sabbath table tonight. And it’s the easiest thing in the world to roast, which explains why I love to prepare it. On top of that, it makes the house smell wonderful, and all my family will say happy things when they see it coming.
Here’s what you do. Rub it down with salt and pepper and thyme. Put it on a rack in a roasting pan. Set it in the oven at 300 degrees and wait. Roast your baron for about 20 minutes per pound if you want it rare, and 22-25 minutes if you want it medium. My sister-in-law Leslie’s advice is to watch it closely the last couple hours because it will rise about 20 degrees each half hour toward the end. When you get it out, let it sit about half an hour before you slice it up. At my house that honor goes to my son-in-law Luke who is our expert carver. I keep a manly apron on hand for him, and he stores a set of carving knives (and sharpener) at my house so he can perform his weekly service easily. I love to see him at work. He makes it look so easy.
Prepare to make some delicious gravy, and of course you’ll want potatoes of some kind to pour this gravy over. I use a couple of smallish pitchers for the gravy at our table because they are so much easier to handle than the gravy boat and ladle. (But you have to remember that I have lots of little hands at my table.)
I learned from Robert Farrar Capon (The Supper of the Lamb) to never add water to gravy. Broth, yes. Wine, yes. (And don’t tell him I said this, but a can of cream of mushroom soup will do wonders too.)
And though we had a roast last week as well, I doubt I’ll get any raised eyebrows if I put one on the table later today. They will all be too busy piling potatoes on their plates to remember.