Slow Roasted Mouthwatering Tender Roast Beef
Learning how to cook roast beef in the oven is easy with this recipe
Slow roasted, mouth-watering roast beef so tender that it melts in your mouth is a lot easier to make at home in the oven than most people think. All you need to learn how to make roast beef is this recipe, a nice roast, and a couple of hours.
Long a staple of Sunday night dinners, making roast beef at home has somewhat fallen out of favor, which is a bit of a travesty. When it’s cooked right, with a crisp crust paired with deep garlic and herb flavors a roast has so much to offer. It can be the centerpiece to a nice dinner, the starting point for amazing sandwiches, or sliced paper-thin and served as a cold appetizer. It also works well as a tasty late-night snack.
In this Piece
To create this roast beef recipe we wanted to respect the techniques and ingredients that helped make the dish a classic while adapting it to how people cook today. That meant figuring out what type of roast to use, which seasonings highlight the flavors in the beef, and the best way to cook it.
It also meant figuring out the answers to perennial questions, such as do you cook a roast covered or uncovered, brown it in a pan or in a hot oven, how long should it cook, what’s the right temperature to pull it out of the oven, and how long should it rest. All of which are answered below.
Even though it’s easy to make and affordable – roast beef feels like a special occassion
We also wanted the recipe to be easy enough to use and so delicious that people would make it over and over again.
Finding the Best Cut
There are lots of choices when it comes to picking out the type of roast you want to use. In general, we prefer using Eye of Round over Top or Bottom Round when we’re making roast beef for dinner or to have in the house for sandwiches or as leftovers.
In our testing, we found that Eye of Round was usually a little more tender and just as flavorful as similar cuts as long as it’s slow-roasted and sliced thin. One of the nice things about any of these cuts is how affordable they are.
If you’re making a roast for a special occasion or the holidays, think about getting a standing rib roast or prime rib, the additional marbling and tenderness mean they can be served as thick slices. They’re also going to be more expensive but are real showstoppers when they’re carved at the table.
When it comes to Chuck Roasts, this recipe will work fine but we’d recommend turning them into a Tender and Delicious Pot Roast.
Learn How to Make Roast Beef Delicious
Let’s be honest, under-seasoned or overcooked roast beef is the very definition of blah, which is why seasoning a roast is so important.
A part of the challenge in seasoning any large cut is figuring out how to infuse every bite with flavor. Our approach is to cut tiny slits in the outside of the roast to slide slivers of garlic into each cut, creating pathways for the flavors in the garlic and spice rub to deeply embed themselves into the meat.
Cutting slits in the roast helps the seasoning soak in
The reason we recommend using fresh garlic and rosemary is that they impart so much more flavor than their dried or powdered versions. We also encourage everyone to sprinkle a small bit of salt across the top of the roast after it’s been sliced and right before it’s served. It’s almost magical the way the salt brings the flavors in beef to life.
Tender is the Beef Roast
Learning how to cook roast beef that is tender and juicy is easy once you have the basic technique down and a few helpful cooking tips.
To start, let the roast come to room temperature before roasting. We like to season it when it comes out of the fridge, giving time for the flavors to soak in while the beef comes up to temperature. It’s also ok to season everything the night before.
Using a roasting pan helps everything cook evenly
To cook it nice and even use a roasting pan with a rack that lets the air in the oven circulate around the beef. The roast should also be cooked uncovered to help develop flavor and texture.
The best way we’ve found to create a nice crust on the outside of a roast is to start it in an oven that has been preheated to 450℉. Once the roast has been in the oven for 15 minutes the heat should be turned down to 325℉ and cooked until it reaches the desired internal temperature.
The preheated oven method is significantly easier than trying to brown a roast in a pan before sticking it in an oven and produces a better result.
To help make the roast even juicer, add liquid to the roasting pan, to create a small steam bath in the oven. Beef or chicken stock works well, especially if you want to use the drippings to make gravy. Adding liquid to the pan also gives you something to baste the roast with, helping to add depth of flavor.
Roast Beef Cook Time & Temperature Guide
The real key to fabulous roast beef is to cook the roast to your desired level of doneness. The best way to keep track of the roast’s temperature is to use an oven-safe thermometer and to remember that the internal temp will rise around 5 degrees while the roast rests when it comes out of the oven.
A general rule of thumb for roast beef cooking times is:
- 18 minutes per pound for rare
- 20 minutes per pound for medium rare
- 22 minutes per pound for well done
Here is a temperature guide for doneness and a reminder that using a thermometer is more accurate than using a clock.
- 125℉ to 134℉ rare
- 135℉ to 144℉ medium rare
- 145℉ to 155℉ for medium
- 155℉ to 165℉ for well done
- 166℉ plus for charcoal
Giving the roast time to rest is key to keeping it tender and juicy. A tip when the roast comes out of the oven is to leave it in the roasting pan, covered with a piece of aluminum foil for at least 15 minutes, which also happens to be the amount of time it takes to make gravy.
Letting the roast rest after cooking gives it time to relax before coming to the table
When you’re ready to slice the roast, make sure to use a sharp knife and cut across the grain, slicing it as thin as you can. In general, the leaner the roast the thinner it should be sliced.
Serving a Roast
There are lots of ways to serve roast beef. If we’re serving it for a dinner party we like to make White Cheddar and Horseradish Mashed Potatoes along with a nice gravy using the pan juices as a base.
A dash of salt brings the beef’s flavors to life
If we’re gilding the lily we’ll serve some roasted or grilled mushrooms that have been tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh herbs that people can ladle across the top of their beef.
A few other side dishes that pair well with this recipe are Sautéed Rainbow Chard and Green Beans with Balsamic Vinegar. As far as drinks go, you’re not going to do any better than a Classic Old Fashioned or Rusty Nail.
Roast beef cooked this way is delicious as leftovers and will last for a week or two in the fridge after it’s cooked. It can also be frozen for later. The best way we’ve found to reheat it, sliced or whole, is in a 300℉ oven until it’s been warmed through.
Whether we’re serving the roast for dinner or as sandwiches we like to put some horseradish sauce and a few good mustards on the table for people to choose from along with a little dish of salt that they can sprinkle on top.
- 3 lb beef roast
- 3 tsp rosemary, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced into slivers
- 3 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 3 cups of stock, chicken or beef
- 2 cups liquid, combination of pan juices & additional stock
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
Making the Roast
- Take the roast out of the fridge an hour before putting it in the oven to let it warm to room temperature.
- Slice the garlic into small slivers and mince the rosemary.
- Combine the rosemary, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper with the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and olive oil to make a paste.
- Using the tip of your knife poke small holes in the roast. Insert the garlic slivers into the roast. Spread the spice rub on the outside making sure to cover the whole thing.
- Place the roast in a roasting pan with a rack and then pour the stock into the bottom of the pan.
- Place the roast into an oven that has been preheated to 450℉ for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 325℉ and cook the roast until the internal temperature has reached 137℉. For a 3lb roast, this takes around an hour.
- While it’s cooking, baste the roast with the pan juices a couple of times. We use a turkey baster every 25 minutes or so.
- When the roast has reached the desired temperature, take it out of the oven, cover it loosely in foil, and let it rest covered for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Slice the roast thin and sprinkle a tiny bit of salt across the top of the slices right before serving.
Making the Gravy
- Once the roast has finished cooking, remove the juices from the pan and add enough stock so you have 2 cups of liquid.
- In a saucepan, make a roux by whisking the butter and flour together over medium-low heat. Once the roux has turned golden brown, slowly pour in the liquid, while continuing to whisk.
- Add the salt and pepper and continue stirring until the gravy has reached the desired consistency. This usually takes 5 to 7 minutes.
- The gravy will start to thicken as it cools.