Sous Vide Roast Beef
Use this recipe to make a perfectly medium-rare roast that’s juicy and tender on the inside with a beautifully seared crust on the outside
If you like tender, juicy roast beef try cooking your next beef roast sous vide.
This recipe makes a fantastic roast whether you’re serving the whole thing for dinner or just want a delicious way to make roast beef sandwiches.
In this Piece
The advantage of cooking a roast this way is the long cooking time tenderizes the beef while it absorbs the flavors from the spices without overcooking the meat.
The spice rub in this sous vide roast beef recipe uses loads of garlic, rosemary, and smoked paprika to create a full-bodied roast a has that classic roast beef flavor. We also add some Worcestershire sauce to deepen its natural umami flavors.
Picking Out a Roast
One of the things about cooking beef sous vide is how well the technique works for a wide variety of roasts. This approach works equally well with tougher roasts such as chuck, top round, or rump as it does with more tender ones like sirloin, ribeye, and tenderloin.
The reason this recipe works with so many different cuts is the flavors are modeled after those in traditional English roast beef recipes. It also helps that sous vide is such a forgiving technique. The long slow cooking time helps to tenderize the meat without breaking down the connective tissue and collagen making the meat fall apart the way braising does.
No matter which type of roast you choose, pick one out that has good marbling and has a nice shape. It’s also a good idea to remove any extra bits of fat or gristle before cooking.
How to Cook a Beef Roast Sous Vide
One of the best things about cooking roasts this way is how easy it is to get a perfectly medium-rare roast, that’s juicy and tender on the inside with a beautifully seared crust on the outside.
Most recipes call for cooking the roast between 12 to 48 hours in a water bath set between 130ºF to 145ºF.
We recommend a time and temperature combination of 136ºF for 24 hours when you’re cooking a beef roast sous vide.
During our testing, we found that cooking the beef at 136ºF gave us a nice medium rare roast that was firm enough to easily slice for sandwiches but was still tender enough to serve as the main course.
When we cooked roasts at lower temperatures, the beef pulled apart so easily that it was hard to slice for sandwiches and anything more than 140ºF and the meat was more done than we prefer.
As far as time goes at 18 hours, the texture wasn’t what we were looking for, and for the most part, we haven’t found any benefits to cooking cuts this size longer than 24 hours. That being said, a few extra hours here or there won’t make a big difference if it makes it easier to get dinner on the table at the right time.
An optional step is to pan sear the roast before cooking. The theory is that pre-searing helps to deepen the roast’s flavors. In general, we haven’t found that pre-searing does much more than add extra steps to sous vide recipes.
Finishing a Roast
There are two ways to get a nice sear on the roast at the end. The first is to pan sear it in some olive oil after it’s finished cooking. This is a good way to go if you’re going to make a pan sauce to serve with the roast.
Our preferred finishing method is to place the roast on a broiler pan in a hot oven or under the broiler for 10 to 15 minutes, making sure to turn it halfway through.
What we like about this method is how easy it is to do as we’re pulling the rest of dinner together and turning the cooking liquid into an au jus or gravy.
Making au jus with this recipe is incredibly easy, just cook down the liquid from the roast for a few minutes. If the au jus is cloudier then you would like, it can be strained through a coffee filter.
If you’re interested in learning more about this type of cooking, read Getting Started Cooking Sous Vide.
A few of the more frequently asked questions we came across researching this recipe were:
How long does it take to sous vide a roast?
To get the right balance between flavor and texture we recommend cooking roasts for 24 hours.
Can you overcook meat in a sous vide?
You can’t overcook meat in the traditional sense when you’re cooking it this way. At a certain point in time it will breakdown and fall-a-part even though it’s internal temperature never exceeded the cooking temperature.
Can you sous vide a frozen roast?
Yes, you can. A few things to keep in mind is that the roast needs to be in plastic that works for sous vide, so beware of items that you didn’t package yourself, and depending on the cut it may need to cook longer to get it to turn out the same as one that’s been defrosted.
If you have other questions, leave them in the comments below, and we’ll try and answer them.
So Many Delicious Serving Options
There are so many different ways to serve roast beef cooked this way. One of the most popular ways is to slice it thin and use it for French Dip or Italian Beef sandwiches.
We’ll often make a roast and slice it throughout the week whenever we want a roast beef sandwich using whatever toppings we have on hand. If you use the cooking liquid to make gravy, you can serve traditional open-faced beef sandwiches.
It also works equally well as the centerpiece to an elegant dinner. A few of the dishes we like to serve with this recipe are White Cheddar and Horseradish Mashed Potatoes and Sautéed Green Beans with Balsamic Vinegar. Toss in a couple of Manhattans, and you’ve got a thoroughly modern take on a classic 1950’s Sunday dinner.
- 3 1/2 lb beef roast
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp rosemary, minced
- 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Set up your sous vide water bath with the temperature set to 136℉
- In a small bowl, mix the minced rosemary and garlic with the smoked paprika, mustard and onion powders, salt, and pepper.
- Rub the beef down with Worcestershire sauce, then spread the spice rub over the whole roast.
- Vacuum seal the roast in a plastic bag and cook it at 136℉ for 24 hours. When the roast is done cooking, drain the liquid into a small bowl and set the roast aside for finishing.
- To get a nice crust on the outside of the beef roast, place it on a broiler pan and finish it in a 350ºF oven for 15 minutes, turning it halfway through. Once the roast comes out of the oven, let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
- The juices from the roast can be served as an au jus. To make the au jus take the liquid from the bag the roast was cooked in and bring it to a boil in a small saucepan for three to five minutes.
- The au jus is especially good when you’re using the roast beef to make French Dip sandwiches.