Let the joint hang as long as it can possibly be kept perfectly sweet. When it is first brought in, remove the pipe of marrow which runs along the backbone, and cut out the kernels from the fat. Be very careful in summer to guard it from flies; examine it frequently in warm or clamp weather; and scrape off with a knife, or wipe away with a dry cloth, any moisture which may appear on the surface: when this has been done, dust some powdered ginger or pepper over it. Unless the joint should be very large, its appearance will be improved by taking off the ends of the bones, which may then be laid in salt for a few days, and afterwards boiled. Spit the beef firmly; keep it far back from the fire until it is well heated through; baste it constantly; and proceed as directed in the general rules for roasting (see page 131). Persons who object to meat being frothed for table, have it dredged with flour when it is first placed at the fire, and sprinkled with fine salt when it is nearly done. It is not necessary to paper the fat of beef, as many cooks direct, if proper attention be given to it while roasting.
As a general rule, it may be observed, that when the steam from the meat draws strongly towards the fire, it is nearly or quite ready to serve. The time required to roast it will depend on the state of the weather,* the size and strength of the fire, the thickness of the joint, the use or non-use of a meat-screen or reflector, the general temperature of the kitchen and other contingencies. A quarter of an hour for each pound of meat is commonly allowed for solid, heavy joints, and, if the directions we have given be attended to, this will not be found too much even for persons who prefer beef somewhat rare: it must be left longer at the fire if wished very thoroughly roasted, and quite double the usual time when the plan we have noticed at page 132, is adopted. When likely to be sent to table hashed, minced, or dressed a second time in any way, the juices of the meat should be dried up as little as possible when it is first cooked.
As this joint is generally too large to serve whole, as much of it as will form a handsome dish should be cut from the chump end to roast. It must be managed as the sirloin, to which it is commonly preferred by connoisseurs. When boned and rolled into the form of a fillet of veal, as it sometimes is, nearly or quite an additional hour should be allowed to dress it.