If you want to make a roast beef the way your mom or grandmother used to do it, this is the recipe. You start by searing the roast in a hot pan, and then finish it in the oven. It’s juicy and tender, and an absolute classic!
Roast beef wasn’t something that we had often when I was growing up, but when we did, this is how my mom cooked it. She started by seasoning the roast well (I’ve done this even more thoroughly here by adding a dry brine), then she’d sear it in a hot pan or in a hot oven, and finally, she’d finish it off in the oven.
Below I go through the method in more detail, giving some simple tricks that can turn a basic roast beef cut into a juicy, tender roast just like mom used to make.
Making Classic Roast Beef
We’ll start by applying a dry brine to the roast, which is simply salting a piece of meat and allowing it to rest before cooking. Learn more about dry brining here. The dry brine has two purposes. The first is to add flavor to the roast and the second is to help break down the proteins in the meat to create that tender texture we’re after.
The next step is to sear the meat on all sides. This creates a beautifully browned exterior. After all, we eat with our eyes first. It also adds flavor and texture to the roast.
The oven is where the magic happens thanks to a little bit of science. Here’s the science part. During cooking, enzymes are activated. These enzymes break down the connective tissues and tenderize the meat. BUT, this process stops when the meat reaches 122˚ F. So, the goal is to keep the meat at 122˚ F for as long as possible. Lucky for us, it is pretty easy to accomplish.
Cooking the roast at a low temperature until it reaches 115˚ F, then turning the oven off while keeping the meat in the oven until it reaches 130˚ F ensures the meat will be tender and juicy. And yes, it is safe.
So, let’s get started.
Step By Step Instructions
First, choose a roast. I like the Eye of Round because it has a uniform shape, but this method will also work for Top Round or a Sirloin Tip. The Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner site is a great resource to help you choose the roast.
Next is the size of the roast. Figure 1/2 pound per person.
4 people = 2 pounds
6 people = 3 pounds
12 people = 6 pounds
STEP 1: You will need 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of meat for the dry brine. Sprinkle the salt on all sides of the meat and pat into the surface.
STEP 2: Wrap the roast in plastic wrap and refrigerator for 18 to 24 hours.
STEP 3: Remove the roast from the refrigerator and pat dry with paper towels. Rub 1 tablespoon olive oil on the roast and season all sides with pepper.
STEP 4: Heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat in an oven-proof, stainless or cast iron skillet until smoking. Sear each side of the meat until brown, 3 – 4 minutes per side.
STEP 5: Remove pan from heat. Insert a probe thermometer from the one end of the meat until it reaches the center of the roast. Place the pan in a 350˚F oven. Cook until meat reaches the temperature on the chart below, remove pan from oven, and let rest 15 minutes before carving.
|Rare:||Remove from oven at 120°F||Resting temp will rise to 124-128°F|
|Medium Rare:||Remove from oven at 130°F||Resting temp will rise to 134-138°F|
|Medium:||Remove from oven at 140°F||Resting temp will rise to 144-148°F|
|Medium-Well:||Remove from oven at 145°F||Resting temp will rise to 149-153°F|
|Well Done:||Remove from oven at 155°F||Resting temp will rise to 159-163°F|
STEP 6: Remove the roast from oven and allow to rest for 10 – 15 minutes.Print
Serving a juicy, tender roast beef dinner doesn’t have to break the bank. With a couple of simple methods, an economical cut of beef can be turned into roast fit for a holiday meal.
- 3 – 5 lb. eye of round beef roast
- ½ tsp. coarse Kosher salt per pound of meat
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. pepper
- Rub all sides of the roast with salt. Calculate ½ teaspoon of salt per pound of meat.
- Wrap the roast in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 18 to 24 hours.
- Remove the roast from the refrigerator after 18 to 24 hours, unwrap and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Heat oven to 350˚F.
- Rub 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the roast and season with the pepper.
- On medium-high heat, heat remaining oil in an oven-proof, stainless or cast iron skillet until smoking. Sear roast on all sides until golden brown, about 3 – 4 minutes per side.
- Remove pan from heat. Insert the probe of the thermometer through one end so that it reaches the middle of the roast.
- Cook until the internal temperature reaches 130˚F for medium rare.
- Remove from the oven and allow the roast to rest for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Carve and serve.
This post originally appeared in November 2018 and was revised in February 2022.