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Subject: WHAT DID I DO WRONG?
JC> This past Friday I made my first attempt in many years to barbecue JC> a rump roast. JC> I placed it on the spit over medium coals, using a meat JC> thermometer. It roasted for about 2 hours before reaching the JC> medium setting, at which time I removed it from the grill ... JC> When the meat was sliced the center was a nice medium pink. JC> The meat was tough as a piece of shoe leather. What could I have JC> done wrong, or was it just a case of a bad piece of meat to begin JC> with?
From: Kathy Pitts
Tough to tell long-distance, Jean, but I'd say the problem was too hot a fire. Rump isn't the tenderest meat in the world to begin with, and if you subject it to too much heat too fast, the connective tissues are going to tighten up, forcing the moisture out, and resulting in a dry, tough hunk of cow.
Next time, try roasting the meat in an pan, rather than the rotisserie, building your fire by making SMALL mounds of coals on either side of the roast (no heat directly below). If you like, you can place the roast directly on the grids of your grill, placing the pan in the center of the firebox to act as a buffer for the coals.
Place a cover over the roast (if your grill doesn't have a cover, you can improvise one with some heavy wire and heavy-duty aluminum foil.) The heat from the coals should only result in an interior cooking temperature of 250-300 degrees. If it goes down further, don't panic. Anything above 200 will cook the meat eventually, and the slower the better in this case. You also might try using a more acid marinade (wine, beer, lemon or lime juice in the marinade). The acid will tenderize the meat somewhat (don't expect miracles, though).
Good luck, and let us all know how the next one turns out.
Kathy in Bryan, TX
From: Dave Sacerdote
I've found the most common cause of a tough roast isn't the cut of meat or how you cook it, it's how you SLICE it.
When you carve, make sure you're cutting across the grain of the meat. With a tied roast, this usually means that you have to change the angle of your cuts as you go along.
As for the dryness: I like to slightly undercook a roast when I do it on the grill's rotisserie. The meat continues to cook for a few minutes after coming off the heat, as you know. Letting the roast rest for that time, like you did, usually gives it enough time to "finish off" without drying too much. Remember that when you're rotisserie cooking, the fat side of the roast doesn't baste the meat nearly as much as a standing roast where the fat side stays on top throughout the whole time.