Friday, January 25, 2013

Perfect Eye of Round Roast from The Domestic Man

About a year ago, I saw a very interesting recipe on The Domestic Man.  He spoke of making a a juicy and tender eye of round roast by starting it at very high heat and then turning the oven off.  I've tried cooking eye of round many times and generally it comes out dry as shoe leather and about as chewy.  This was a recipe that begged to be reviewed.  In the comments to the recipe, it was becoming apparent that if you had a gas oven, the recipe wouldn't work and as I have a gas oven, it wasn't meant to be.  Earlier this month, he posted the recipe again, with some new pointers for making it using a gas oven.  I made my grocery list and decided to see for myself if this was the "Perfect Eye of Round Roast."

First, I gathered my ingredients, which were few.  

I chopped my garlic

The recipe calls for course ground pepper.  My pepper grinder has a coarseness adjustment that I never really pay attention to, but I did this time.   

I mixed all of the flavoring ingredients together.  

I dried off my roast after washing it under cold water and put it on a baking sheet.  I decided to use a baking sheet as I knew it would minimize wasting the flavoring mixture when I coated the roast.

After coating the roast, the instruction is to let it sit for 30 minutes.  I also turned my oven on to pre-heat to 500 degrees.
My paleo kitties are growing and I caught one on the counter last week.  I didn't want to stand in the kitchen that long, so I set up my SSSCAT to discourage them from testing the roast.  Before I left the kitchen, it bothered me that there wasn't enough of the flavor rub to cover the ends of the roast.  In fairness, he said he used a 3 pound roast and mine was 4 pounds.  I quickly chopped up another batch of it and coated the ends of the roast.  I suggest making extra rub so you're sure to have enough.  

Because this recipe really depends on the oven you are making it in, I decided to get a new toy to help me better the cooking time:  A roasting probe thermometer.  This one had a cool wireless remote that you can carry around with you that will beep when your dish is close to the temperature you set.  

I wanted my roast to be medium rare, so I set the target temperature at 135 degrees.  

He cautions against using a probe thermometer like this because the probe is metal and may raise the temperature of the roast.  That may be, but as you will see, I am really glad that I did use one.  

This kitchen toy is going back to the store. 

I apologize for there not being many pictures of the process but after this point, I basically didn't want to have the oven open for long.  So really, you're only missing one picture of the roast in the pot in the oven.  Let's just imagine what that looks like.  

After the 30 minute wait time, my oven was pre-heated, so I put the the uncovered four pound roast in the oven for 28 minutes at 500 degrees.  

Because I have a gas oven, after the 28 minutes, I turned the oven temp down to 170 degrees (my oven's lowest setting).  I set a kitchen timer for 2.5 hours and went to watch a movie.  If you have an electric oven, the instruction is to just turn the oven off.

I was surprised when my wireless sensor beeped after only 35 minutes signalling that it was at 126 degrees.  The roast was cooking way too fast.  

I turned off the oven and opened the oven door for about five seconds and went back to my movie.  I was again surprised about 20 minutes later the sensor let me know the roast was at 135 degrees.  

As I questioned the accuracy of the probe thermometer, I used my instant read thermometer to take another reading.  It said that the roast was at 128 degrees.  This is why I don't recommend the probe roasting thermometer pictured above, it's not accurate.  I am glad that I used it though.  He recommends not checking the roast's temperature until the 2 hour mark.  If I had waited that long, at the rate my roast was cooking, it would have been a shriveled puck.  I used my instant read thermometer for the remainder of this cooking session.   

Because the oven had been open for a bit while I checked the temperature, I turned the oven back on to 170 degrees.  

With about 50 minutes left on my 2.5 hour timer, the roast was at 133 degrees.  

And just shy of the 2 hour mark, it was done at 135 degrees.  

Here is the roast right out of the oven.  

I removed it from the pan and set a timer for 10 minutes to let it rest.  

It was hard to wait 10 minutes to cut into this baby!

Just look at the juice!

Here is my plate.

Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients:  You should be able to find all of the ingredients for this recipe at your big box grocery store.  I decided to used conventional beef because eye of round is so lean.  When I went to the grocery store, they didn't have any eye of round roasts out, but the butcher was willing to cut me one while I waited.

Preparation and Cooking Time:  It took me 9.5 minutes to prepare the seasonings and get them onto the roast.  I used pre-peeled garlic.  As I noted above, I did chop/mix extra seasoning rub after I initially thought I was done, but I decided not to modify my preparation time as if I'd known I needed more rub, it wouldn't have taken really any additional time to prepare double the recipe.  Lesson learned.  Then you have 30 minutes of inactive preparation time.  My cook time for this roast was 1 hour 57 minutes.  I then waited another 10 minutes to let the meat rest before digging in.  Total Preparation and Cooking time: 2 hours and 46.5 minutes.

I'm going to make this again, using a roasting probe thermometer and just turn off my oven as it appears that my gas oven is pretty good at keeping the heat in.  I'll update the post once I do with my cooking time/results.

Clean up:  The clean up was pretty light.  Everything went in the dishwasher except for my Le Creuset and knife.

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs up!  This is the best eye of round roast I have ever made or had.  I posted a picture of this roast on Facebook, and one friend of mine asked if it was tenderloin.  It does look a lot like tenderloin.  It was super juicy like a tenderloin.  The color was beautiful.  It was much more tender than any other eye of round roast I've had, but it was still a bit chewy.

Concerns:  Reheating- will it be dry and/or tough?  I froze the remainder of my roast in 4 ounce portions.  I've now reheated 2 portions.  The first portion I reheated, I cooked it way too long.  The result was a very tough piece of meat in a lot of juice.  I reheated the second portion today for lunch at work.  The microwave at work is 1100 watts.  As the meat was fully defrosted, I set the microwave for 1 minute.  The end result was still a bit pink, a little more chewy than fresh out of the oven, but definitely still better than over cooked.

Before 1 minute  in microwave.
After 1 minute in microwave.

I also tried it defrosted, cold, cut up over salad and it was quite tasty.

If you've been on the fence about trying this recipe, you should try it.  If you do, I recommend using a probe roasting thermometer so that you have an idea of how fast or slow your roast is cooking.  The first time you make it you'll learn how well you oven retains heat and can make adjustments for the next time.

Blog Note:  The winner of the copy of Well Fed is Andrew S.  He's already claimed his prize.  Thanks for supporting the blog and to all who entered.