I’ve been having so much fun posting some of my classic back-to-the-basics lately, such as my Summer Garden Gazpacho recipe, my Cucumber Salad recipe, my simple Refrigerated Beets recipe, and my Classic Potato Salad recipe, that I’m considering making it a new category on my blog. It’s always good to have some simple, easy-to-execute recipes in your arsenal; recipes that are versatile and don’t take a gazillion ingredients to prepare.
Adding to my classic recipe collection is this (in my opinion) perfectly-cooked medium rare roast beef. The beauty of this roast is that you don’t need an expensive cut of meat to make it. I’ve done this with top round roasts and bottom round roasts and they’re both delicious when cooked this way. The roast in my photos below is a small 2 pound bottom round roast, an inexpensive cut but very tender and flavorful when cooked and sliced correctly. The bottom round roast typically has a little more marbling than a top round, so it tends to have better flavor, plus it’s usually cheaper than top round. Score.
You can season this however you like, although salt and pepper at the bare minimum is highly recommended. A little bit of oil rubbed all around helps to keep the edges from drying out in the initial high-heat sear. I love the flavor rosemary adds to this, but all kinds of herbs will work – go with what you love. This works best with a fresh roast, as freezing meat tends to draw out some of the moisture. If you can get a higher-end Black Angus cut, go for it…it’s worth it.
The key to any great roast is a probe thermometer; if you don’t have one, it’s worth your money to invest $15-$20 and have one on hand. It will more than pay for itself in just a few no-more-over-cooked meals.
Behold a big platter of sliced roast beef.
This is one of my “it’s a technique more than it’s a recipe” posts. Why? Because it really doesn’t matter the size of the roast, what matters is this:
- a bit of oil and seasoning rubbed all over
- let the meat sit at room temperature for at least an hour, so the roast slow-cooks evenly
- an initial sear in a very hot oven
- a slow roast at a low heat
- a probe thermometer to tell you when it’s done
- a long resting period
- slicing very thinly against the grain with a sharp knife or meat slicer
bottom round roast beef recipe
These are the instructions for the roast pictured here – again, you can use a top round roast if you’d rather. These cuts don’t typically have a lot of fat on them but if it does, you can trim off any excess. Remember though…the fat keeps the roast from drying out.
- 1 2 lb. bottom round roast
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary (or 3 tablespoons fresh)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 healthy teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Unwrap the roast, pat it dry and set it inside a large, low-sided roasting pan or on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with oil and then rub the oil and seasonings all over the roast. Let sit about 1 hour at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 500º
Place roast in oven and roast at high heat for about 12 minutes.
Remove roast from oven, reduce oven temperature to 275º, and insert the probe of the thermometer into the center of the thickest part of the roast. Set the alert temperature to 122º. I don’t insert the probe during the initial searing process, due to most probe thermometers shouldn’t be used in temperatures over 450º.
Let roast slow-roast until the probe thermometer tells you the thickest part of your roast has reached122º.
Remove from oven, cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil, and let rest at least 30 minutes. Remove the probe and wipe clean.
Transfer the roast to a platter or cutting board or, using a meat slicer, slice thinly across the grain with a very sharp knife or meat slicer. My trick is to cut it starting at a corner, so you cut a corner off and keep going from there. You can slice it very thinly or shave it, whichever’s your preference.
You now have perfectly cooked, tender, medium rare roast beef. Enjoy it as a dinner, with a bit of horseradish and your choice of sides or pile it onto sandwiches, bruschetta, etc.
This is, seriously, the best deli-style roast beef you can make.
Life’s too short to eat over-cooked roast beef. 🙂
If you’re cooking a larger roast, up the sear time to 15 minutes but don’t go any longer than that. The slow roasting is really the key.
So now you know how to cook a top round or bottom round roast to medium rare. Easy, right? Put that slow cooker away!
The other beautiful thing about this recipe is the roast cooks pretty quickly. You can cook a 2 lb. roast in under an hour and that’s a wonderful thing with a busy schedule.
Are you hungry yet?