Roast Beef

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

My mother knows a thing or two about cooking beef. She knows all of the cuts and the best way to prepare them. Perhaps it’s because she came of cooking age during a time when most neighborhoods still had local butchers who prepared the cuts themselves and freely shared information with customers about what to do with them.

I remember accompanying her to our local corner butcher (now long gone) years ago. The butcher had these huge graphics of beef, pork, lamb on the wall behind the meat counter showing what part of the animal the various cuts came from. It was easy to see that a chuck roast came from the shoulder, and that a rump roast came from, well, the rump.

These days most people by their meat already packed in plastic at the supermarket, and if you want to talk to a butcher, you have to work to find one in your area.

Back to the roast. My mother typically uses a rump roast when making roast beef. This is her method for getting the most out of this (relatively) less expensive cut. (You can also use a round roast or a sirloin tip with these instructions.) She starts the roast at a high temperature to get browning for flavor, and then lowers the oven temp and cooks the beef “slow and low” for a couple hours.

This slow roasting method at low heat is good for tougher cuts of beef; the lower heat prevents gristle from getting too tough. Roast beef made this way is easy, relatively inexpensive (compared to other cuts of beef), and you get great leftovers for roast beef sandwiches.

Roast Beef Recipe

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  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 3 hours
  • Bring roast to room temp time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 3 to 3 1/2 lbs (1.3 to 1.6 kg) of Boneless Rump Roast (pick an end cut with a layer of fat if you can)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8-10 slivers of garlic (3 to 4 cloves, sliced in half or into thirds)
  • Salt and pepper

You will need a meat thermometer

For the gravy:

  • Red wine, water, and or beef stock
  • corn starch

Method

1 Salt the roast and let sit at room temp: The beef should be brought to close to room temperature before you start to roast it so that it cooks more evenly. So, remove it from the refrigerator at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours, before cooking. Open the wrapping, sprinkle all sides with salt, and wrap it up again.

2 Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).

3 Insert slivers of garlic into the roast: Pat the roast dry with paper towels. Use the tip of a sharp knife to make 8 to 10 small incisions around the roast. Put a sliver of garlic into each cut.

4 Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper: Rub olive oil all over the roast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

5 Place roast on rack, fat side up, with pan to catch drippings below: Place the roast directly on the middle oven rack, fatty side up, with a roasting pan to catch the drippings on the rack beneath it.

Placing the roast directly on the rack like this with a pan on the rack below creates a convection type environment in the oven, allowing the hot air to more easily circulate around the roast, so you don't have to turn the roast as it cooks.

Place the roast fat-side up so that as the fat melts it bathes the entire roast in flavor.

6 Roast initially at 375°F, then lower the heat to 225°F: Cook the roast initially at 375°F (190°C) for half an hour, to brown it. Then lower the heat to 225°F (107°C). The roast should take somewhere from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours additionally to cook.

The shape of the roast will affect the cooking time. If your roast is long and narrow, rather than a more round shape, it may take less time to cook, so keep an eye on it.

7 Remove roast when internal temp reaches 135°F to 140°F: When juices start to drip from the roast, and it is browned on the outside, check the roast's internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Remove the roast from the oven when the internal temperature of the roast is 135° to 140°F (57°C to 60°C).

8 Tent with foil and let rest before cutting: Place the roast on a cutting board and tent it with aluminum foil to keep it warm. Let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes before cutting. Thinly slice the roast to serve. (Resting the cooked roast is important. If you cut into it too soon, the roast will lose more of its juices.)

To make the gravy: Remove the dripping pan from the oven and place on the stove top at medium heat. Note that if you are pulling the roast out early, for rare or a medium rare level of doneness, you may not have a lot of drippings. Hopefully you will have some. If not, you may want to leave the roast in a little longer at even lower heat, 175°F, to ease some more drippings out of it.

Add some water, red wine, or beef stock to the drippings to deglaze (loosen the drippings from the pan). Dissolve a tablespoon of cornstarch in a little water and add to the drip pan. Stir quickly while the gravy thickens to avoid lumping.

You can add a little butter if there is not a lot of fat in the drippings. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mom adds some fresh thyme too if she has some. (See also How to Make Gravy.)

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Related Links:

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Roast Beef

Showing 4 of 150 Comments

  • Kate

    I have to say every recipe I try of yours turns out to be my new favorite meal. Whenever someone compliments me after cooking I always say don’t thank me, thank Elise! THIS roast is now my new favorite. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your service to the cooking community and your easy to follow and simple recipes that are always packed with flavor. I will forever refer your website to friends. Xo

  • Jeff Marzano

    I just starting out experimenting with cooking.

    I bought an All-Clad roasting pan with a curved rack based on a TV show I watched with my mother. The rack is curved which supposedly allows for good air circulation around the meat.

    I’m following this recipe as a general guideline:

    1. I put olive oil and Paul Prudhomme Meat Magic on the roast the night before and let it sit in the refrigerator over night.

    2. I took it out and let it stand at room temperature for at least an hour (2 hours today)

    3. I peeled quite a few garlic cloves and placed them on top of the roast as opposed to cutting small cuts into the meat itself.

    4. I started roasting it at 375 per this recipe.

    5. I will turn the temperature down but probably not to 225. I may go down to 275 today so it cooks faster.

    I like all meat cooked well done.

    I don’t get into making gravy or things like that.

    I didn’t think of placing the roast in the oven with the fat side up. I may try that next time.

    Thanks.

  • Cindy KQ

    When deglazing the pan for gravy and stirring in cornstarch mixture, should the pan be cooking on the stovetop, burners on?

  • Heide

    Elise, I have to tell you, whenever I need the answer you’ve always got it. This roast turned out great. I wasn’t quite brave enough to put it directly on the oven rack, I put it on a rack in the roasting pan and it was fine. Do make an effort to tie the roast up into an even shape as possible. Inevitably one end will still cook a little faster than the other. I saved the really rare piece for roast beef sandwiches the next day – perfect!

  • Deb

    This is how I do roasts. Start high, go low. Great recipe, thanks :)

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