Many charts give roasting times per pound of meat. However, these can be approximate only and should be used in estimating and planning cooking times, not in determining doneness.
Many factors other than weight and oven temperature determine cooking time:
1. Temperature of meat before roasting.
2. Amount of fat cover (fat acts as an insulator).
3. Bones (bones conduct heat faster than flesh, so boneless roasts cook more slowly than bone-in roasts of the same weight).
4. Size, type, and contents of oven.
5. Number of times oven door is opened.
6. Shape of the cut (a flat or a long, thin cut cooks more quickly per pound than a round, compact cut).
You can see why roasting requires experience and judgment.To be really accurate and useful, a complete roasting chart that took all variables into consideration, including all meat cuts, sizes, oven temperatures, and so on, would be the size of a small book.
Point 6 above is a key point. It is the thickness of a cut, not its weight, that determines cooking time—the time needed for the heat to penetrate to the center. Half a pork loin roasts in about the same time as a whole pork loin, even though it weighs half as much.The thickness is the same.
Perhaps the most useful roasting time charts are those you make yourself.When you regularly roast the same cuts in the same way with the same equipment and find they always take the same length of time,you may use those times as indicators of done-ness. Many food service operators have developed charts based on their own practices, and the correct times are indicated on their individual recipe cards.
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