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Tender Roast from Economical Cuts of Beef

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“I have been searching for a method to produce tender roast beef, and after trying a couple of recipes from Zaar with limited success, I decided to do a little research. I found the answer at the Cook's Illustrated web site. This is offered more as a technique rather than a recipe. I followed their suggestion and used an eye of round roast and the results were impressive. Eye of round is economical and uniformly free of fat and gristle. Leftovers, sliced thin, make awesome sandwiches. Although this is one of those "roast in heat and then with the oven off" recipes, all the guesswork has been eliminated. You do not have to prepare a 4 pound roast to get great results as I have found this to work with roasts half that size. Prep time does not include refrigeration.”
3hrs 15mins

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 4 lbs beef roast, eye of round preferred (if size varies, see notes)
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt, less if using table salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, plus
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground


  1. Sprinkle entire roast evenly with salt and wrap with Saran Wrap. Refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 225°F and place rack in center of oven.
  3. Remove roast from fridge and pat dry with paper towels. Using 2 teaspoons oil, coat roast evenly. Coat entire roast with black pepper.
  4. Using remaining oil in large, heavy skillet, brown meat on all sides. If you eliminate this step, you will sacrifice flavor and probably wind up with an unappetizing gray roast.
  5. Place the roast in a rack set over a roasting pan or shallow sheet pan and place in oven.
  6. Here's the trick to the whole process. Roast the meat until the center of the roast reaches 115°F for medium rare or 125°F for medium. Don't exceed 125°F for best results. This took about 1 hour for a 2-1/2 lb roast and about 1 hr and 45 minutes for a 4 pound roast. Don't rely entirely on times to judge doneness. Temperature is very important here.
  7. Once temperature is reached, turn off the oven, leaving roast undisturbed, until internal temperature reaches 130°F for medium-rare and 140°F for medium. Depending on roast size, this could be anywhere from 15 minutes to and hour longer. If the roast doesn't reach the desired temperature in a reasonable time, reheat the oven to 225°F for a few minutes, turn oven off again and finish the process.
  8. Remove roast from oven; let rest for the usual 15 minutes and slice thinly to serve.
  9. Notes: If your roast size varies from the 4 pounds mentioned, adjust the salt and pepper accordingly. Also, don't open the oven door any more than absolutely necessary. A thermometer with remote sensor, that can remain in the center of the roast while it is in the oven, is a great help. Remember, it's temperature, not time that makes this work. Seasonings are up to you but don't neglect the initial salt as it contributes to the tenderizing process. Because it is enzymes in the meat that help tenderize the tissues up to about 122°F, keeping the temperature below this point for as long a possible improves tenderness.

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