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How to Make Deli Roast Beef – It’s So Easy

Updated on October 24, 2010

Make your own roast beef for sandwiches – seriously, making this cold cut is as easy is whacking a piece of meat in the oven for a while and then slicing it up later on. Homemade will taste a lot better (like real beef) and when you spot a sale on an already cheap cut of meat like top round or eye of round, you can probably make your own roast beef for 20% of the cost of what you’ll pay at the deli meat counter!

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Get a 3 or 4 pound top round or eye of round roast. These roasts, especially the eye of round, are amongst the least desirable of the cuts of beef for most purposes – but because they are so lean, free from chewy bits of gristle or connective tissue and uniformly shaped, they do really well as cuts for making cold-cut roast beef. Because they’re not many people’s favorite; they also tend to be pretty cheap.
  2. Preheat your oven to 300
  3. Sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper all over the roast
  4. Heat a heavy skillet that’s wide enough to fit the meat in (cast iron is perfect) and heat to medium high. Add in a splash of vegetable oil and sear it on all sides until the entire surface is a mahogany color. Take your time (10 minutes or so) on this step and make sure to sear it all over, as the browning will give a lot of flavor, and it won’t get any browner than you get it during this step by the end of cooking. (If you don’t have a pan big enough for this, you can instead just roast it in the oven at 450 for half an hour before turning the heat down to 300 to finish cooking)
  5. Transfer it to a roasting dish and whack it in the oven for between 30 minutes and an hour for rarish meat. The difference in time will depend on the diameter of your roast, how long you seared the meat and the true temperature of your oven. To make sure you get the roast out while it’s still pink and juicy throughout, you will need to use a meat thermometer.
  6. After half an hour, insert your instant read meat thermometer into the thickest part of the roast, and if it says 130 – you’re in business; if not, continue to roast until it does, checking every 10 or 15 minutes or so
  7. Let the meat cool completely before slicing, and then serve cold, sliced as thinly as you can, for beautiful roast beef sandwiches. The waiting before you slice it step is very very important. If you slice this too soon, all the juices will run out and will be left with dry and boring roast beef. If you let it rest until cool without slicing, your meat will be tasty and juicy!



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    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      I have been looking through your recipes and they all sound fabulous. I had no idea that slicing roast too soon would dry it out since the juices run out. Now I know why my leftover roasts are always, well - disgusting. You give great tips!

    • Katherine Baldwin profile image

      Katherine Baldwin 

      8 years ago from South Carolina

      This looks great, John. Question: have you tried any marinades with this method, like Italian, for example?

    • John D Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      John D Lee 

      8 years ago

      Hey - thanks for all the kind words Jillian!

    • Jillian Barclay profile image

      Donna Lichtenfels 

      8 years ago from California, USA

      I'm in! I need you to move to California! I have been home cooking for almost 30 years and I am pretty good, but you are truly a talent! I read your recipes all the time and would be very happy if you say that you have some cookbooks out there for sale! I would definitely be a customer! I have always used sirloin tip for sandwiches; it melts in your mouth, but eye of round is a lot cheaper here-will be trying this! Thank you so much!

    • carrie450 profile image


      8 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

      This sandwich sounds absolutely delicious Tom, I will try it out.


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