I’ve never been a picky eater, and I am hardly one to nitpick at most meals – I love food and appreciate various interpretations and presentations of dishes. However, there is nothing that will ruin a meal more quickly for me than beef that is overdone. I don’t care who you are – that’s a deal breaker.
Now, cooking beef to exactly the right doneness isn’t always the easiest task, and I’ve certainly (sadly) accidentally overcooked a few pieces of beef in my past. I’ve also under-cooked, but that’s easier to fix.
A few years ago, I ran across a slow roasted beef recipe that I tried and adored – it turned out right every time. However, it required that I spend a decent amount of time (and battery energy from my smoke detector) searing a large piece of beef on all sides before slow roasting at a low temp. The results were glorious, and I received copious compliments every time I prepared it, but the time and mess (and smoke detector noise) were prohibitive.
This past holiday season, my youngest brother presented the most gorgeous slices of meat prepared for a crowd, cooked to perfect medium rare with an even pink from center to edge. My mother made the same for another family holiday meal.
What’s the secret?
I had seen a few posts on various social media platforms about reverse searing prior to these dinners, but I hadn’t really explored it. After all, I already had a sear method that worked and produced damn fine results, even with the cheapest of cuts.
However impressive my previous method for creating juicy beef at the perfect temperature was, the reverse sear method is exponentially better. The prep time on this is nearly nothing, yet the resulting consistently even temperature and color throughout the beef, with an exterior that still gets that slight crispiness, makes this beef taste like a dish that took tremendously more time, and seem like it is far more expensive than it is. It does take a little time and patience to get through the entire process of cooking it, but that’s hardly work, and the bonus is that the timing allows for you to better plan your side dishes so that there’s an easier chance the whole meal will be completed at just about the same time. So many problems are solved with just one easy cooking method!
- 2 pound bottom or top round beef (more expensive cuts will work as well)
- Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.
- Generously salt and pepper the entirety of the beef.
- Place beef on the rack of a roasting pan with the fattiest part on top.
- Insert meat thermometer into the thickest portion of the beef.
- Place roasting pan in the oven and roast for approximately 90 minutes (or until about 120-125 degrees).
- Remove the roast and tent with foil.
- Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees.
- Remove foil tenting and return the roast to the oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove the roast from the oven, once again tenting with aluminum foil.
- Allow the roast to remain tented for at least 20 minutes.
- If you do not own a roasting pan, try placing the roast on a cookie cooling rack placed in a casserole dish or foil pan so that the beef still remains elevated from a surface.
- Use any cut you choose, but for less expensive cuts of beef, thinner slices will yield more appealing results at the table.
- To achieve more doneness than the beef featured in this article add only a couple minutes for medium doneness at the 500 degree last level of cooking. Much more will result in a well-done roast.
- If you do not intend to eat the majority of the meat in one sitting, slice only the amount necessary. Once in the refrigerator, the slices exposed to air (even when covered) will lose their color and be less visually appealing.
- For best results, remove the beef from the refrigerator at least 1 hour prior to cooking.
- Tenting the roast after cooking is imperative to allow the juices to settle properly within the meat. While the recipe calls for at least 20 minutes of final tenting, up to an hour is possible. This retains heat and allows minimal loss of juice from the beef. This is an ideal way to deal with preparing a meal for a group - use the tenting time to prepare/finish the meal's side dishes.
- When considering sides, unless you have two ovens, choose those that can handle being reheated at the high 500 degree temperature that the oven will be at when the beef is finished, or those that can be prepared or heated on the stovetop or in the microwave. Alternatively, prepare sides in a crockpot or Instant Pot. Suggestions: mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower, glazed carrots, sauteed mushrooms, roasted asparagus (prepared ahead then quickly reheated), or cold sides like green salads or potato or macaroni salads.