There are two modes of roasting: one is to use a tin kitchen before an open fire, and the other and more common way is to use a very hot oven. The former gives the more delicious favor, but the second is not by any means a poor way, if the meat is put on a rack, and basted constantly when in the oven. A large piece is best for roasting, this being especially true of beef. When meat is cooked in a tin kitchen it requires more time, because the heat is not equally distributed, as it is in the oven.
Wipe the meat with a wet towel. Dredge on all sides with salt, pepper and flour; and if the kitchen is used, dredge the flour into that. Run the spit through the centre of the meat, and place very near the fire at first, turning as it browns. When the flour in the kitchen is browned, add a pint of hot water, and baste frequently with it, dredging with salt and flour after each basting. Roast a piece of beef weighing eight pounds fifty minutes, if to be rare, but if to be medium, roast one hour and a quarter, and ten minutes for each additional pound.
Prepare the meat as before. Have a rack that will fit loosely into the baking-pan. Cover the bottom of the pan rather lightly with flour, put in rack, and then meat. Place in a very hot oven for a few minutes, to brown the flour in the pan, and then add hot water enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Close the oven; and in about ten minutes, open, and baste the meat with the gravy. Dredge with salt, pepper and flour. Do this every fifteen minutes; and as soon as one side of the meat is brown, turn, and brown the other. Make gravy as before. Allow a quarter of an hour less in the oven than in the tin kitchen. The heat for roasting must be very great at first, to harden the albumen, and thus keep in the juices. After the meat is crusted over it is not necessary to keep up so great a heat, but for rare meats the heat must, of course, be greater than for those that are to be well done. The kitchen can be drawn back a little distance from the fire and the drafts closed. Putting salt on fresh meat draws out the juices, but by using flour a paste is formed, which, keeps in all the juices and also enriches and browns the piece. Never roast meat without having a rack in the pan. If meat is put into the water in the pan it becomes soggy and looses its flavor. A meat rack costs not more than thirty or forty cents, and the improvement in the looks and flavor of a piece of meat is enough to pay for it in one roasting.
The time given for roasting a piece of beef is for rib roasts and sirloin. The same weight in the face or the back of the rump will require twenty minutes longer, as the meat on these cuts is in a very compact form. If a saddle or loin of mutton is to be roasted, cook the same time as beef if the weight is the same; but if a leg is to be roasted, one hour and a quarter is the time. Lamb should be cooked an hour and a half; veal, two hours and three-quarters; pork, three hours and a quarter. Ten minutes before dishing the dinner turn the gravy into a sauce-pan, skim off all the fat, and set on the stove. Let it come to a boil; then stir in one tablespoonful of flour, mixed with half a cupful of cold water. Season with salt and pepper, and cook two minutes. Serve the meat on a hot dish and the gravy in a hot tureen.