How to Cook the Best Roast Beef Despite Your Fears

Updated on May 20, 2017

The Best Roast Beef

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Trip Down Memory Lane

When I was growing up, beef for dinner was considered a treat. Beef was as expensive then as it is today. When we did have it, it was usually ground chuck stretched with canned cream of mushroom soup or made into a meatloaf. Sometimes though, my mother would cook "chicken steaks," horrible thin cuts of beef with the vein running down the middle. She'd fry them in a pan on the top of the stove and cook them until they were ashen. I hated those steaks, and I have never, nor will I ever, cook one. They are called something else today, although I don't know what. (I did google "chicken steak" and found a lot of great recipes for chicken and steak dinners and for chicken-fried steak, but no leads on the slab of ash I ate as a kid.)

Thus my fear of cooking beef. What if I made a pile of ash?

Experimenting with Beef and a Meat Thermometer

I've had wonderful steaks and roasts in my adult life, cooked by friends or enjoyed at dinners out. But it was only a few years ago that I found the courage to experiment with cooking beef on my own. The turning point was when my mother gave me a meat thermometer as a housewarming gift, which was really funny, because I don't think she ever used a meat thermometer in her life. However, my mother is a genius at finding previously used and sale items for pennies on the dollar. I expect this meat thermometer was one of her "finds".

Armed with a meat thermometer, I now needed something to stick it into.

Although you can stick a thermometer into a number of meats (chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, veal, and even fish), I chose a beef roast because it was beef and therefore a challenge. Besides, true to my mother's bargain hunting instincts, I found the roast offered at a very good sale price and I couldn't pass it up. I brought the roast home and attacked it with the meat thermometer and a little creativity. The rest is history.

Mrs. Dash pressed into the flesh.
Mrs. Dash pressed into the flesh. | Source

All You Need Is Beef

To make this wonderful beef, you need an eye round roast, a container of Mrs. Dash (I use the "original" blend), a meat thermometer, a pan with a rack that fits into it, and an oven. That's it.

Start with an eye round roast that's at least 3 pounds.

Take the roast out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before you start to pre-heat the oven.

Pre-heat the oven to 475 degrees F.

The Seasoning

Shake the Mrs. Dash onto all parts of the beef-top, bottom, and sides-and press this wonderful seasoning into the flesh. You might want to do this in your freshly scrubbed kitchen sink. It can make a mess.

When all the seasoning is pressed into the flesh, place the beef onto the rack with the fat side down.

Put the rack and the beef into the pan.

Poke the thermometer into the fattest part of the roast so that the stabbing end of the thermometer goes only half-way down.

Time and Temperature

Your meat thermometer may have a temperature setting for rare, medium, and well done beef, or it may not. So set the desired doneness either by words or numbers:

Rare = 140 degrees F

Medium = 160 degrees F

Well done = 170 degrees F

When the oven is up to 475, put the pan and its beef in, uncovered.

Set a timer for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, turn the oven down to 275 degrees F.

Depending on the size of the roast, the rest of the cooking may take an hour or two or more. Just check the thermometer's progress. You can do this by turning on your oven's light and looking through the glass door. If you don't have an oven door with glass that you can see through, then you will have to open the door and look, which will delay the cooking time.

The beautiful thing about the meat thermometer is that it doesn't lie. It doesn't matter whether your oven's internal thermometer is working or not. The meat thermometer will tell you when the beef is done.

When the beef is done, take it out of the oven and let it sit in its pan on your kitchen counter for about 10 minutes before you slice it.

My vintage Sabatier carbon steel knife is the perfect tool for slicing a roast.
My vintage Sabatier carbon steel knife is the perfect tool for slicing a roast. | Source

About Slicing the Roast

You need a sharp, finely honed knife. I use Sabatier carbon steel knives, which I acquired in the late 60's.

Cut across the grain. Think about your own muscles here. Like in your arm. Muscle tissue runs in very discernable straight lines from your elbow to your wrist. You can imagine threads of tissue in a straight line from elbow to wrist. When you cut across these threads, you are cutting across the grain. This is very obvious with a hunk of beef. You can see how the muscle strands go the length of a roast. You just cut across that.

As you cut, the roast will bleed. Make sure your cutting board can catch the juice, or make sure that you are prepared to pour the juice into a container as it flows. You want to save that juice.

Before you serve your magnificent roast, pre-heat your plates. A warm plate will keep a rare slice of beef warm without cooking it more.

Heat the reserved juice in a sauce pot for pouring over the beef-laden plates when you are ready to serve.

A deck of cards.
A deck of cards. | Source
 

About Using the Leftovers

If you like rare roast beef, then you know heating the leftovers will turn the rare into the medium or well done. So here's an alternative...

We like cold roast beef sandwiches. To have these treats, slice what's left over of the roast very thinly. Freeze the thinly-sliced leftovers in little packets that approximate the size and shape of a deck of playing cards.

Are You Cooking for One?

Don't hesitate to make this recipe just because you usually cook only for yourself. Those frozen and thawed decks of cards are not only great for sandwiches but delicious when heated in a pan with homemade or prepared au jus.

When you want a roast beef sandwich for lunch one day, put a frozen packet in your refrigerator the night before. On the next day at noon, just make a sandwich!

My Future Engagement with Beef

I still have a long way to go to master the art of cooking beef. For now, don't ask me to charcoal grill steaks for a dinner party. I'd simply swill some Scotch and turn the tongs over to the nearest guy.

Recipes appearing in Sally’s Trove articles are original, having been created and tested in our family kitchens, unless otherwise noted.

Questions & Answers

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      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Sheacat, THANK YOU! Yes it does, only sliced so that it's about half as thick as the photo shows. If it's the second-most tender cut on the animal, my mother surely did a horrible job on it. What a find. I'm so glad you found this article and shared the abominable chicken steak. :)

      • profile image

        sheacat 

        6 years ago

        Does this look like the cut your mom used to make?

        http://www.esquire.com/the-side/feature/cheap-stea...

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        TY, weezyschannel!

      • weezyschannel profile image

        Lisa 

        6 years ago from Central USA

        great recipe idea! Been looking at them all and I like yours too!

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        TY, anil...hope you will try this when you are hungry!

      • profile image

        anil 

        6 years ago

        sincere recepie, my stomach is full, only read your recepie, god bless you

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Right you are, eatlikenoone. I have a meat thermometer that I've used for many years...don't know how they make them, but they work and work well! They remove all of the guesswork. Thanks for that observation.

        Kpam and mauihawaii, thanks so much for reading and commenting.

      • eatlikenoone profile image

        eatlikenoone 

        7 years ago from Saline, MI

        I am glad someone else is pointing out the use of a meat thermometer. I never go by time with a roast. The thermometer takes out the guess work and guarantees you the doness you are after.

      • Kpam profile image

        Kpam 

        7 years ago

        What a great recipe. I think I just found what I will be making for Sunday's dinner. Thank you Sally.

      • mauihawaii profile image

        mauihawaii 

        7 years ago from Maui, Hawaii

        looks very tasty

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Fay, you are so welcome! That Mrs. Dash seasoning is a tasty blend...try it on eggs, chicken, and pork, too.

      • profile image

        Fay Paxton 

        7 years ago

        I'm always looking for ways to spice up my cooking. Thanks for this. Now I'm hungry!

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Swedel, you are so welcome. Definitely give this a try. And you know what? Try cooking a pork roast the same way. Easy and fantastic.

      • swedal profile image

        swedal 

        7 years ago from Colorado

        Wow, this opens up a whole new way of cooking roast to me. Usually I just put it in the crock pot with some veggies and let it go all day. Thanks.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        You are very welcome, John! Glad you found this Hub worthwhile.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Ashlie, thanks for letting us know that the roast beef came out great. We really like to hear that!

      • AskAshlie3433 profile image

        AskAshlie3433 

        7 years ago from WEST VIRGINIA

        Sally, what a great dish. Cooked it today and it was great. You are such a great talent! lol

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Thanks for the great tip, Vincent!

      • profile image

        Vincent 

        7 years ago

        Sally when you get ready to grill a steak try to find a grill with an ajustable grate. Most grills these days are to far from the coals and you find it hard to atually sear the meat which is desired.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        You bring up an interesting point, Dan. What's rare for some is not necessarily rare for others. Even meat thermometers, when they include a verbal description along with a numerical scale, differ about what temperature reading they label as rare...120, 130, or 140 or somewhere in between. You and my daughter may share a love of the roast that's still mooing when done to rare! Thanks for adding good information here.

      • profile image

        Dan 

        7 years ago

        140 is too high for rare.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Julie, you made my day! Thanks so much for letting us know how this recipe worked for you. :)

      • profile image

        Julie 

        7 years ago

        It worked! The first recipe for rare roast beef that worked! Thank you!

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Right you are Baileybear. Resting gives the roast a chance to reabsorb its juices, allowing less fluid to escape when slicing. Although I suggest resting for 10 minutes, another 5 or so is fine, too. Thanks for reinforcing that important step.

      • profile image

        Baileybear 

        8 years ago

        Looks very yummy. Resting the meat before slicing is an important step

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        This is one very, very easy roast to make, Steph. Enjoy your Sunday!

      • stephhicks68 profile image

        Stephanie Hicks 

        8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

        How did I miss this one? I am a huge roast beef fan (especially with horseradish - yum) Very wonderful and giving me ideas for Sunday cooking....

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        The best things often come through time and pain. LOL. So glad you enjoyed this Hub.

      • 2patricias profile image

        2patricias 

        8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

        Excellent instructions! It took both of us years to work out how to make decent roast beef.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Dolores, so nice to see you here, as always.

        When I wrote that passage about cutting across the grain, I was thinking about an injury I had as a child, an injury that got me interested in anatomy. And that made me a better cook!

        It is a cold winter's day here, and the menu for tonight, to warm up the kitchen, is beef marrow vegetable soup over rice.

        Warm thoughts to you and yours.

      • Dolores Monet profile image

        Dolores Monet 

        8 years ago from East Coast, United States

        There is nothing like a nice roast beef on a cold winter day. The best tip that yo gave was to cut across the grain. That makes so much difference.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Thanks for the nice comment, jollytan. No more fear! Your roast will be perfect every time.

        Say, the stir fry beef with black pepper sauce sounds delicious. I saw a picture of it in your Cooking and Bonding with Children Hub. Maybe you could add the recipe there? I'd love to try it.

      • jollytan profile image

        jollytan 

        8 years ago from Singapore

        Wow! Now you make me want to try cooking this for my family. Always wanted to do something like this but you are right about "FEAR". I always resort to stir fry beef with black pepper sauce or grilled slabs of beef. Thanks for this!

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        DixieMockingbird, thanks so much for reading, commenting, and complimenting! Isn't this just the easiest method in the world?

      • DixieMockingbird profile image

        Jan Charles 

        8 years ago from East Tennessee

        I love this method and you did a fabulous job of explaining it. Your roast looks to-die-for!

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        sagebrush_mama, I feel your pain! Shortly AFTER I wrote this Hub, I put this roast in the oven to serve at a small dinner party. I had the feeling the roast was taking too long to cook, but we were all having such a good time, I just let the feeling pass. I'd been checking the thermometer, and the needle was advancing toward its preset mark for being done. When the needle finally hit the mark and I took the roast out of the oven, I saw that I had accidentally preset the thermometer for well done, not rare beef. Uuggh is right! So, even this recipe isn't foolproof without double checking those settings.

        Definitely, try it again. I know you will be pleased.

      • sagebrush_mama profile image

        sagebrush_mama 

        8 years ago from The Shadow of Death Valley...Snow Covered Mountain Views Abound!

        Great hub...I have had a hard time on the rare occasions I attempted roasts, the worst being a $40 roast that was done much too quickly on Christmas day. Uuggh! Your hub inspires me, I may have to try, try again!

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Edweirdo, you'll love this roast beef. And it's so easy. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      • Edweirdo profile image

        Edweirdo 

        8 years ago from United States

        Looks yummy! I'm sick of my slow cooker roast beef recipe so this might be a good alternative!

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Scouting out recipes and collecting them is a bit of an addiction, isn't it?

        But, you know, somewhere down the line, there may a book in it for you. We all add our special touches to a recipe, or have memories associated with one that no one else has...who knows what can happen?

        Thanks for your cool comment!

      • akirchner profile image

        Audrey Kirchner 

        8 years ago from Washington

        Great idea on the Mrs. Dash - we use that a lot because it is sodium free and we are 'old' or trying to be good I should say...you are only as old as you feel! I will have to check out more of your cooking hubs and sigh...have yet more recipes. I can't seem to quit - I wonder if there is a Recipes Anonmyous...

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Thanks nikki1.

      • nikki1 profile image

        nikki1 

        8 years ago

        sounds like a plan to me..

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Mega1, what an awesome comment. I never thought about Mrs. Dash and a meat thermometer as quite that kind of magic, but you are probably right. Especially since Mrs. Dash comes in so many different blends, all salt- and MSG-free.

        I never heard of Spike...going to look it up now.

      • mega1 profile image

        mega1 

        8 years ago

        Mrs Dash! Man, I never thought I'd see a roast beef hub with Mrs Dash as the secret ingred.! This is right in my line of thinking - You are pretty clever, with Mrs Dash and a meat thermometer you could probably cook your way around the world! Also, if you ever have to cook for low salt diets there is "saltless Spike" which is a lot like Mrs Dash only no salt. Man, I'm hungry - thanks for this hub.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Jama, I'm pretty sure our mothers were not sisters (my mother came from Poland). Although they may have had a similar way of destroying beef, my mother does cook the most awesome roast chicken, which I kind of allude to in my Hub on a weekly planning menu.

        As for Mrs. Dash, she is the queen. I do wish I had invented this herb concoction first. I'd be sitting pretty.

        Thanks so much for your awesome comments.

      • JamaGenee profile image

        Joanna McKenna 

        9 years ago from Central Oklahoma

        Are you sure our mothers weren't sisters? Until I married and left home, I had no idea steak (or any cut of beef for that matter) wasn't supposed to look and taste like shoe leather. And I'll spare you what the woman did to whole chickens for Sunday dinner. Suffice that to this day I avoid oven-roasted chicken like the plague.

        But "original" Mrs. Dash was a staple in my kitchen before the kids left home. Wonderful stuff! Wish there was a roast in the fridge right now to rub it into!

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        This is an outstanding suggestion! I have never cooked meat (only poultry) with sage dominating. Since I grow sage, I have a plentiful supply. I love this idea.

        About meat thermometers, I could not make any kind of roast without one.

        Your words about bringing beef up to room temp bear repeating. Do it!

        Thanks for your awesome comments.

      • 2patricias profile image

        2patricias 

        9 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

        Nice hub! I have only recently discovered the wonder of meat thermometers - thay make it so much easier to judge when the roast is right!

        My brother in law gave me a recipe for a marinade. Chop up about 1/2 cup fresh sage (takes patience) add 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/3 cup grated orange rind (about 2 or 3 oranges, depending on size). Mix and then rub into the outside of a large piece of beef. (I used this on 7lb rib roast) Cover with cling film and refridgerate overnight.

        Make sure you bring the beef up to room temp before shoving in the oven.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Lgali!

      • Lgali profile image

        Lgali 

        9 years ago

        nice recipe

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Indeed this is an easy--and fool proof--recipe. Try it on a boneless pork roast, too. Mrs. Dash and I have come to have a quite savory relationship! Thank you so much for your kind comments.

      • RGraf profile image

        Rebecca Graf 

        9 years ago from Wisconsin

        Even the newest of cooks, could not find this hard. Thank you for writing this so it is easy to understand. I've been cooking for years and even I get frustrated at complicated recipes.

        Thanks.

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        dineane, that's really funny! I'm guessing that the thermometers got grilled with the meat. Check out the eBay thermometers for outdoor grilling, above. These inventions boggle my mind. They're even wireless. Apparently, the grill fire doesn't eat them.

        I'm a rare meat person, liking carpaccio and tartare. But I also love an old fashioned pot roast. I haven't perfected that pot roast recipe yet...maybe you have one you love? I'd love to try it.

        Thanks so much for your cool comments.

      • dineane profile image

        dineane 

        9 years ago from North Carolina

        My husband has used every meat thermomter I've ever bought to grill...and never brought them back to the kitchen alive. I usually cook my roasts in a crockpot, but we tend to like them well done. You make it sound easy in the oven!

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Christoph, I am always in search of the best roast beef experience. Until I happened upon this recipe, my roast concoctions were pitiful. Meat and I don't seem to have a happy relationship. I'm much more comfortable with chicken or fish. The nice thing about this recipe is that it cooks a cut that's not so tender (the eye round) into a good experience.

        I like the idea of a dijon horseradish sauce. I never thought of that. And that's kind of funny, because if I order a roast beef sandwich, I always ask for horseradish. But I never thought of making a horseradish dijon sauce for the roast.

        Will you share the dijon horseradish sauce?

        Warm regards, always, Sally.

      • Christoph Reilly profile image

        Christoph Reilly 

        9 years ago from St. Louis

        Sally: I have been working on cooking a rare roast beef lately, and have come pretty close to excellent. I'm going to try your recipe next. I like my roast beef served with a dijon - horseradish sauce. Delicious!

        Thanks for another great hub. It is always so interesting to read your work. Thanks

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Fruit, thank you so much for the good words!

        Here's a tip for your newly inducted stay at home mom friends:

        You can cook a boneless pork roast exactly the same way (just make sure your meat thermometer is set to "pork" or 170 degrees F). I just roasted two of them together the other day, served slices topped with jarred applesauce and added microwaved sweet potatoes and a garden salad to the table. Next day, I sliced and froze the rest. Nothing could be more simple!

        Best regards, Sally.

      • fruitoftheloomis profile image

        fruitoftheloomis 

        10 years ago

        I love this recipe and also your writing! I'm sending this to some of my newly inducted stay at home mom friends who will gladly admit a lack of experience in the kitchen!

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Blogger Mom, it's such a tasty treat. Thanks for the good words. You won't be disappointed.

      • Blogger Mom profile image

        Blogger Mom 

        10 years ago from Northeast, US

        Yum! This sounds great. I haven't made a roast in a while, I think I'll pick one up for the weekend! =)

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Trish, you are always welcome to dinner! :)

      • trish1048 profile image

        trish1048 

        10 years ago

        So, when are you inviting me for dinner? :)

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        LMAO! Neil, I'm sure you didn't destroy my hub score.

        If you think about it, thumb's up and tongue's up might mean the same thing. When you are salivating, your tongue curls up a little in your mouth. Try it. After all, this roast is absolutely delicious.

      • proudgrandpa profile image

        proudgrandpa 

        10 years ago from Charlotte, NC

        When I rated this page I thought it said tongues up. Oh well we will let it stand.

        NEIL

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        annemaeve, you are too funny!

        Thanks for the great pics and the suggestion about which blend of Mrs. Dash I use.

      • annemaeve profile image

        annemaeve 

        10 years ago from Philly Burbs

        It's funny how moms can be the cause AND the solution of so many of life's little glitches...

        And you illustrate another excellent point: no matter how strong, powerful, and independent a woman is, it's still better to make the man grill. The man gets to play with fire, and you get to blame them if the meat becomes "a pile of ash".

        BTW - had a roast beast sammie for dinner last night - MMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!

      • Sally's Trove profile imageAUTHOR

        Sherri 

        10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

        Thanks for your nice comment Bowen.  I'm afraid Hong Kong is not on my itinerary right now.  But I hope you make this easy recipe and share it with friends!

        Regards, Sally

      • fishskinfreak2008 profile image

        fishskinfreak2008 

        10 years ago from Fremont CA

        Wow. I'm getting hungry already. Well, now it's about lunchtime here in Hong Kong. Would you be willing to cook your recipe for me?

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