This tender and juicy Roast Beef recipe, with its savory golden crust, makes an impressive holiday centerpiece. Serve it with a Japanese-style soy sauce and red wine gravy commonly enjoyed with roast beef in Japan. It‘s surprisingly easy to make!
What are the classic centerpieces that you love to serve for your holiday table? Roast Beef (ローストビーフ), a dish originating from England, has gained popularity in Japan and is often served as a main or appetizer during Christmas parties and Japanese New Year celebrations as part of the modern osechi meal.
In this dish, the roast beef is cooked to perfection with a golden crust and an interior that’s incredibly juicy, succulent, and flavorful.
The cooking method is no different from any other roast beef that you’ve tried, except for the soy sauce based gravy that’s commonly served with roast beef in Japan.
While preparing a substantial cut of meat may seem complex, the process is surprisingly simple. I’ll cover everything you need to know with step-by-step instructions below. I promise, it requires minimal effort but will yield you maximum reward.
Table of Contents
- Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- What Cuts of Beef is Best for Roasting?
- How to Make Roast Beef
- How Do You Know When Roast Beef is Done?
- Best Sauce to Serve with this Roast Beef
- What to Serve with Roast Beef
- The Summary of Roast Beef Cooking Tips
- Storage and Reheating Tips
- What to Do with the Leftovers
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s special enough to serve as a main during the holidays, yet doable for a weeknight or weekend family dinner.
- The meat is luxuriously tender, with a perfect medium-rare center, which, in my opinion, is the best way to enjoy roast beef.
- I have all the tips you need, and as long as you follow them, you don’t have to worry about undercooked or overcooked meat.
- Perfect for a leftover meal! You can transform the leftovers into so many different dishes. I’ll share some ideas below.
What Cuts of Beef is Best for Roasting?
Some common cuts for roast beef include top sirloin roast, top-round roast (also known as inside round), bottom-round roast (also known as rump roast), and eye of round roast. Some people use prime rib but you really don’t need to pay for a high price for a flavorful roast.
I prefer using a 3-lb eye of round roast because it’s smaller than top-round or bottom-round roasts. Since the meat is slow-roasted at a lower temperature, tougher, lean cuts are ideal because they still come out tender.
If you enjoy thinly sliced roast beef for sandwiches, opt for lean meat for easier cutting. In case you’re using a fatty cut, chill it before slicing thinly.
Tip: Take your roast out of the fridge one to two hours before roasting to bring it to room temperature. This way, the beef roasts more evenly and quickly once it’s in the oven.
How to Make Roast Beef
Below you’ll find an overview of what you’ll need for this recipe, with the full details available in the recipe card.
The Ingredients You’ll Need
- Beef roast – As mentioned above, I usually use a 3-lb eye of round roast. Refer to the section above for suggestions on other good cuts for roasting.
- Seasonings – Keep it simple for roast beef, so you’ll only need salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Cooking oil – avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, etc.
- Pan Gravy (optional): mirin, red wine, soy sauce, sugar, and rice vinegar
- Add herbs to the seasonings – chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, oregano, etc.
- Add minced garlic to the seasonings.
The Cooking Steps
- Generously season the beef with salt and refrigerate overnight (up to 2 days).
- Season the meat with freshly ground black pepper and sear all sides in a frying pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven at 275ºF (135ºC) until the internal temperature reaches 120°F (49ºC) for medium-rare roast and 135°F (57ºC) for medium roast. I recommend using a meat thermometer so you don’t need to guess if it’s done cooking.
- Remove the roast to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil, and allow it to rest for about 20 minutes. The internal temp will continue to rise (about 10ºF) as the roast rests. Meanwhile, make a gravy by simmering down the gravy ingredients in a roasting pan.
- Thinly slice the roast beef and serve with the pan gravy. See the section later on for serving ideas.
How Do You Know When Roast Beef is Done?
You have to use a meat thermometer, such as the Thermoworks Chef’s Alarm.
I truly believe this is the best and only way to achieve perfectly cooked roast beef every. single. time (or any meat and poultry; perfect turkey every Thanksgiving!)
First, insert your Thermoworks Chef’s Alarm thermometer to hit the center of the roast for an accurate reading.
Then, set the internal temperature of the meat. What temperature do we set?
The ideal internal temperature of the finished roast after resting/tenting should be:
- medium-rare roast: aim for 130°F (54ºC)
- medium roast: aim for 145°F (63ºC)
Important Tip: For a 2 to 3-pound roast, the temperature rises about 10ºF after resting/tenting for 20-30 minutes. Therefore, remove the roast from the oven earlier than the finished roast temperature.
For medium-rare roast, I recommend setting 120ºF as your goal temperature on your meat thermometer to get to 130ºF finished roast temperature.
- medium-rare roast: 120°F (49ºC)
- medium roast: 135°F (57ºC)
Note: If you are cooking 3 to 4-pound roast, the temperature will go up significantly during the resting time. Therefore, set 115ºF in the oven to get to 130ºF final temperature.
Another great choice is an instant-read thermometer (I love my Thermapen). You can use it if you have one.
However, every time you open the oven door to check the temperature, hot air escapes, and it’s not baked efficiently. For that reason, I prefer using a Chef’s Alarm, which beeps when the roast is done cooking at the temperature I set.
Best Sauce to Serve with this Roast Beef
We will make gravy with the leftover pan juice and drippings left in the pan. Don’t clean the pan after roasting as we will strain the sauce.
Typically, Japanese roast beef is served with a red wine reduction sauce made with mirin, soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar. You’ll reduce the sauce until it naturally thickens, eliminating the need to add flour or starch for thickening.
Use dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, or Merlot. I use these mini wine bottles that I keep in my pantry for cooking if we don’t open a red wine for a meal.
We cook the wine for a long time, roughly 10 minutes, to eliminate any alcohol smell or taste from the sauce. The wine imparts flavorful depth to the sauce.
Don’t want to use alcohol? You can use beef broth/stock instead.
Pan Gravy Variations
- Add minced garlic to the pan gravy for more flavor.
- Add butter to the pan gravy right before removing from the heat, making the texture silky smooth and yielding a richer flavor.
- Swap mirin and soy sauce with beef broth.
How to Carve Roast Beef
Before cutting the roast, make sure to tent the meat on a cutting board and let it rest for 20 minutes to allow all the juices to redistribute throughout the muscle, ensuring the beef reaches its final resting temperature.
Then, using a serrated knife, thinly slice the meat against the grain (lines of muscle fibers). Since the meat is on the leaner side, slice it relatively thin, about ¼ inch (6mm) thick, to enhance its tenderness.
Be sure to cut only the amount of roast beef that you need for serving. Wrap and refrigerate leftovers to retain moisture, and slice and use for sandwiches or other dishes later.
What to Serve with Roast Beef
Whether entertaining at the holidays or anytime that you want to serve a crowd, roast beef makes an impressive main. We all know that roast beef are best friends with creamy Mashed Potatoes, but you can always serve it with some sides of vegetables(I made sautéed green beans and carrots with butter) and nice warm Popovers or crusty bread to sop up the gravy.
- Roasted Cauliflower
- Green Beans with Yuzu Vinaigrette
- Brussel Sprouts with Bacon
- Miso and Maple Glazed Roasted Carrots
If you like garlicky flavor, may I suggest enjoying your roast beef with homemade garlic chips? This is our favorite way to enjoy the meat. SO GOOD!
The Summary of Roast Beef Cooking Tips
- Don’t be shy about the seasoning. The more flavor, the better, especially for such a large cut of meat! I recommend 1 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound. Generously sprinkle and press the seasonings into the meat, then refrigerate it overnight (up to 2 days).
- Take your roast out of the fridge one to two hours before roasting, allowing it to reach room temperature. This ensures that the beef roasts more evenly and quickly in the oven.
- Sear all sides of the meat in a hot skillet to develop a golden, flavorful crust.
- Place the meat on a rack (I use a wire roasting rack from my Instant Pot) in a roasting pan (I use a 3.5 QT Le Creuset braiser). Lifting the meat allows hot air to circulate around it, and the pan catches the drippings.
- Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Insert it into the center of the roast for an accurate reading.
- Bake in the preheated oven at 275ºF (135ºC) until the internal temperature reaches 120°F (49ºC) for medium-rare roast and 135°F (57ºC) for medium roast.
- Tent and rest the meat for 20 minutes to allow all the juices to redistribute throughout the muscle and the beef to reach its final resting temperature.
- With a serrated knife, thinly slice the meat against the grain.
Storage and Reheating Tips
To freeze, wrap the remaining roast in plastic wrap and store it in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months.
- To Store. Refrigerate leftover roast beef in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. I recommend not slicing the meat to retain moisture.
- To Reheat. I usually reheat leftover roast beef in the microwave until just warm.
- To Freeze. Freeze thinly sliced roast beef in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat directly from frozen.
What to Do with the Leftovers
- Sandwiches – We use the leftover roast beef to make sandwiches. Make sure to keep the gravy for the sandwiches!
- Okinawa Taco Rice – Cut the leftover piece into strips or cubes and season it with store-bought or homemade taco seasonings. Or just enjoy it with tacos.
- Salads – Prepare fresh green lettuce and toss the leftover roast beef (thinly sliced or strips). Enjoy it with Japanese salad dressings. My family loves it with this Japanese Onion Dressing.
- Japanese Curry – Among all the Japanese curry recipes, Dry Curry or Keema Curry are easy one to use up leftover roast beef.
How long should I cook my roast beef?
The cooking time depends on 3 things: the size of your roast, the starting temperature of your roast, and your desired doneness. I’d like to encourage everyone to use a meat thermometer so I did not provide the cooking time.
If I provide the cooking time, someone might over or undercook a roast by following my recipe’s timing without actually checking their roast. With a meat thermometer, success is guaranteed every time.
My roast is too big to sear in my skillet. What should I do?
If your meat is too large (like a top-round roast), you can achieve a nice crust by roasting it at 450ºF for 15 minutes before lowering the temperature to 275ºF and continuing to cook.
For the Beef Roast
Before You Start…
- Please note that this recipe includes a dry-brining time of 1 day (or up to 2 days) to properly season the meat.
- I highly recommend using a Thermoworks Chef’s Alarm for cooking meat and deep-frying. With this tool, you don‘t need to worry about undercooking or overcooking anymore. No more guessing! The cooking time varies depending on the size of the roast, the starting temperature, and your preferred finished temperature.
To Dry-Brine the Roast (the day before cooking)
- Gather all the ingredients for the beef roast.
- Sprinkle all sides of 3 lb beef roast with 1 Tbsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt.
- Wrap the salted roast well in plastic and place it on a plate or tray. Keep it in the refrigerator to rest for 24 hours or up to 2 days.
To Cook the Roast
- The next day, remove the roast from the refrigerator at least 1–2 hours before cooking to promote even cooking and speed up the roasting process. First, pat dry the meat with a paper towel.
- Generously season the meat with freshly ground black pepper.
- Start preheating the oven to 275ºF (135ºC), with a rack in the middle position. For a convection oven, reduce the cooking temperature by 25ºF (15ºC).
- Heat an oven-safe braising pan or cast iron skillet (I use a 3.5 QT Le Creuset braiser) over medium-high heat. When it‘s hot, add 1–2 Tbsp neutral oil. Then, add the meat to the pan.
- Sear all sides of the meat, roughly 2 minutes per side.
- Be sure to sear the cut sides, too. Transfer to a plate.
- Now, set a wire rack (I use a wire roasting rack from my Instant Pot) in the skillet and put the meat on the rack. Then, insert the meat thermometer probe to hit the center of the roast for an accurate reading. Set the meat thermometer temperature to 120ºF (49ºC) for roast beef done to medium-rare or 135°F (57ºC) for medium. Tip: After you take the roast out of the oven, its temperature will continue to rise while resting.
- Place the skillet with the meat into the oven. Roast at 275ºF (135ºC) until the center of the roast reaches 120ºF (49ºC) or 135°F (57ºC). Once the meat thermometer alerts you, take the roast out of the oven.
- Transfer the roast to a large plate or tray and tent it with aluminum foil. Reserve the pan juices and drippings in the skillet to make the gravy in the next step. Rest the roast for 20 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the muscle and lets the beef reach its final resting temperature.Tip: The ideal internal temperature of the finished roast after resting/tenting is 130ºF (54ºC) for medium-rare and 145ºF (63ºC) for medium. For a 2–3 lb roast, the internal temperature rises 10ºF (6ºC) after resting/tenting.
To Make the Gravy
- Meanwhile, gather all the ingredients for the gravy.
- Add ½ cup mirin, ¼ cup red wine, ¼ cup soy sauce, 1 Tbsp sugar, and 2 tsp rice vinegar (unseasoned) to the skillet with the pan juices and drippings. You can also collect the juices from the plate or tray where your roast is resting.
- Bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Stir with a wooden spatula or whisk and scrape the bottom of the skillet to release any flavorful bits. Reduce the sauce by half, for about 10 minutes.
- When the sauce thickens, turn off the heat. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Strain over a fine-mesh sieve to remove any fat and pan drippings.
- With a serrated knife, thinly slice the meat against the grain. Since the meat is on the leaner side, slice it relatively thin, about ¼ inch (6mm) thick, to enhance its tenderness. Arrange the slices on a serving platter. Serve individual portions and ladle the Japanese-style gravy on top. Enjoy!
- Refrigerate leftover roast beef in an airtight container for up to 3–4 days. I recommend not slicing the roast so that the meat retains moisture. You can serve leftover roast beef warm or cold (after refrigeration). To freeze, freeze thinly sliced roast beef in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat directly from frozen. To reheat, microwave it until just warm.