The top round roast is the tenderest cut from the round, which is located on the steer's backside. Also one of the leanest cuts, top round roast is best prepared roasted in the oven fat side up so that the drippings baste the meat while it cooks. Add potatoes to cook alongside the roast and you’ll have a complete and flavorful meal. As an added bonus, you can create gravy from the drippings to drizzle over your meat and potatoes.
Remove the top round roast from the refrigerator 1 hour prior to cooking. Wrap your roast with cooking twine by encircling the meat and tying off every 1 to 2 inches. Depending on the size of your roast, you may have 3 to 5 tautly tied strings encircling the roast.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Rub a small amount of olive oil on the roast to help the seasonings stick, then season the roast by sprinkling generously with salt and pepper or your own favorite seasonings; onion and garlic powder both work well. You can also make small incisions in the roast and insert slivers of garlic cloves.
Place the roast, fat side up, on a roasting rack above a baking pan to catch the drippings. Cook the roast at 375 F for half an hour, then lower the heat to 225 F. Continue cooking the roast for another hour and a half to two and a half hours. Cooking times will vary depending on the size and shape of your roast, so keep an eye on it as it cooks, testing with a meat thermometer to determine doneness.
Add diced potatoes to the baking dish along with a half cup of cooking liquid, such as water or beef stock, when there is approximately 1 hour of cooking time left. The US Department of Agriculture recommends cooking beef roast to an internal temperature of 145 F. Remove the roast from the oven and let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. Tent the roast in aluminum foil to keep it warm.
Remove the potatoes from the pan, leaving the drippings behind. Heat the pan over medium-high heat on the stove top. Add water, wine or beef stock to loosen the drippings. Add a spoonful of cornstarch to help thicken the gravy, stirring vigorously to avoid lumping. Add seasonings to taste such as salt and pepper, garlic salt, onion powder and thyme. Serve the gravy drizzled on top of the meat and potatoes.
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- Pan-sear your roast on all sides for 6 to 8 minutes before oven-roasting to achieve a lovely browned color when fully cooked.
- Wait until the roast has cooled before removing the twine to avoid burns.
Christina Kalinowski is a writer from the Twin Cities who began her career in 2011. She contributes food and drink related articles to The Daily Meal. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from Purdue University.