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How to Cook Roast Beef to Deli Perfection

by Irena Eaves

Juicy, tender roast beef sandwiches aren't just for the deli. You can make deli-style roast beef in your own kitchen and enjoy delicious sandwiches all week. Use an eye of round, top or bottom round or the exceedingly flavorful and tender top sirloin cut. After a few hours of slow-roasting, slice the beef as thin as you can and pile it high on a roll for deli-style flavor right at home.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This low-temperature, slow roasting will ensure a roast with a uniform pink color.

Tie the roast in several places with a few lengths of kitchen twine. This will hold the roast tightly together, making it easier to slice when the time comes. You may also ask your butcher to tie the roast for you ahead of time.

Rub the beef with a few tablespoons of canola oil or vegetable oil. Season the roast liberally with kosher salt and black pepper. Delis tend to season their roast beef simply with just salt and pepper, but you can add other dried seasonings you enjoy, like garlic powder or onion powder.

Sear the roast in a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over high heat. Cook each side of the roast for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until it is nicely browned.

Place the beef on a rack in a roasting pan and transfer to the oven. Delis typically roast their beef to a perfect medium-rare, so cook yours until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast reaches 130 degrees F. This will take about 40 minutes per pound of beef. If you prefer rare roast beef, cook it until the internal temperature reads 125 F; for medium, cook until the temperature reaches 140 F. Do not cook the roast above 145 F for best results.

Transfer the roast to a plate and tent with foil. Allow the roast to rest for at least 20 minutes. The meat's temperature will continue to rise about 5 degrees during this resting period.

Slice the meat against the grain as thinly as you can. Delis use industrial meat slicers to get their roast beef ultra thin, but since most home cooks don't own a meat slicer, simply slice the meat as thinly as possible using a very sharp chef's knife. You can slice the meat while it's still warm, or chill it in the refrigerator before you set to work. Chilled roast beef will be easier to slice, allowing you to achieve deli-style thin slices.

Items you will need
  • Beef roast like eye of round, top round, bottom round or top sirloin
  • Kitchen twine
  • Canola or vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dried spices (optional)
  • Large skillet
  • Roasting pan
  • Instant-read thermometer
  • Aluminum foil

Tips

  • Store the beef in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 5 days.
  • If you find yourself roasting meat for sandwiches regularly, you may want to invest in an industrial meat slicer, just like your favorite deli.

Warning

  • The USDA recommends cooking beef to a minimum temperature of 145 F to ensure safe consumption.

Photo Credits

  • Alexandra Grablewski/Photodisc/Getty Images