Every now and then I try something out in the world that inspires me to try replicating it at home. That was the case with a roast beef sandwich from a local deli I’ve been a little obsessed with. They make their own roast beef in-house and it’s just excellent. Normally, I don’t really care for the chewy pink (or sometimes brown over-cooked) processed roast beef served at some restaurants or grocery stores. Nonetheless, when it’s done right, roast beef can just hit the spot.
I’ve made a few roasts in the past that have turned out tough and dry. I gave up for years as a result of those failures. This recipe is my redemption and it makes homemade, versatile roast beef easy. The recipe works wonderfully as a full roast to serve guests for a nice dinner or just carving up into slices for sandwiches. It’s also fantastic both hot and cold.
I chose to make this roast using eye of round beef because I like that it’s lean yet still has a fat cap, not too large, and extremely affordable. The recipe works with other roast cuts as well though (like sirloin, chuck, or bottom round). The key to the recipe is a blast of high temp to crisp up the outside, followed by low and slow cooking to avoid toughness. Then slicing the meat really thin. This allows the roasts that are often composed of tougher cuts of meat to remain tender.
I’ve made this recipe a few times and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. I think you will too.
Easy Homemade Deli Style Roast Beef
Thinly sliced homemade roast beef.
- 3 pounds of eye of round beef Note: Other cuts of beef roasts will also work. I just like eye of round because it’s lean, not too large, and very affordable.
- Optional Ingredients:
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Olive oil
- Medium sized roasting pan (quarter or half sheet)
- Aluminum Foil
- Meat thermometer
- Very sharp chef’s knife or long serrated knife (or a deli slicer is even better!)
- Let the roast sit out of the fridge on the counter, covered for about 30-45 minutes before cooking. This allows the roast’s temperature to even out a bit and provide more even cooking.
- Pre-heat the oven to 475 degrees F.
- Line a roasting pan with foil and lay the roast in the pan.
Note: In the picture below, the roast is sitting with the fat cap down. Ultimately, you want the fat cap on top so that the fat renders down onto the meat while it cooks.
- Season the roast all over with a sprinkle of kosher salt and cracked black pepper. A light covering is good. Regular table salt works too, but just don’t overdo it.
- If you’d like to add garlic powder, onion, powder, and paprika (which I recommend), then do that. Just sprinkle each spice lightly all over the roast. Feel free to try other spices as well like rosemary or cayenne pepper or chili powder to experiment with different flavor combinations. Don’t add anything too sweet or sugary though because it’ll burn.
- Optionally, if you’d like to add some potatoes while roasting just roughly chop your favorite potatoes and spread them around the pan surrounding the roast. Red potatoes work really well. Season the potatoes with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Add any other spices to the potatoes you might like, but I always keep the flavors similar to whatever is on the roast. It’s very important not to overcrowd the pan or the roast though. Make sure air can get around to the entire roast.
- Make sure the fat cap (if there is one) is on top of the roast rather than on the bottom. This helps to let all of that fat render down onto the meat for added flavor. If you have a meat thermometer (highly recommended), now is the time to insert it into the thickest part of the roast.
- Put the roast into the oven for roughly 25 minutes or about 8 or 9 minutes per pound.
- After 25 minutes, reduce the heat to 200 degrees F.
Note: There are some recipes that will tell you to just shut off the oven entirely and let the roast sit for 2 to 2.5 hours untouched without opening the oven at all. This can work, but it really depends on the oven. Some ovens, like mine, vent the heat to cool down the oven as fast as possible, so this method wouldn’t work in that kind of oven. That’s why I continue roasting at a low temperature to ensure thorough cooking.
- Let the roast cook for roughly 2 to 2.5 hours more or until the internal temperature gets to 140 degrees F. The desired temperature is 145 degrees F for medium, but the roast will continue to cook even after taking it out of the oven, which is why it’s pulled at 140. For those people looking for a more rare roast pull it at 135 degrees F.
- Let the roast sit for at least 30 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute. Otherwise, all of that moisture you’ve worked so hard to retain will just pour out on to the cutting board!
- Slice the roast very thin for maximum tenderness and serve with a side of roasted or mashed potatoes and gravy or make delicious deli-style sandwiches. If you have a meat slicer, then this is the time for it to shine.
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