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Off-Oven Roast Beef

October 27, 2020

By Kath Dedon


I came across this Sam Sifton recipe for Off-Oven Roast Beef in the New York Times and I was intrigued. The reviews were mixed, but there were many people who said it was the best way to cook a less expensive beef roast.

The recipe calls for a 3-pound beef roast, “like top, eye or bottom round”. I recommend choosing a roast that is more “rounded” than flat. I think a flat roast may overcook. I chose a 3.3-pound top round roast.

I was definitely nervous about overcooking the roast so I used an oven cord meat thermometer so I could keep an eye on it without opening the oven door. When I checked the temperature with 10 minutes to go, it was 134°. After 10 more minutes it was still 134°. I don’t think it would have risen any higher.

There is no need to let the roast rest; it has been “resting” in the cooling oven for 2 hours. You can slice it right away and serve it. My 134° roast was perfectly medium-rare, just the way we like it! We enjoyed the roast on the first night, and the leftovers made excellent roast beef sandwiches.

I know I’ll be using Sam’s Off-Oven Roast Beef method again soon.



Off-Oven Roast Beef

(Adapted from Sam Sifton’s recipe in the New York Times)


(print the recipe)


Serves 4 – 6, with leftovers for sandwiches


Take 2½ hours, start to finish


For this recipe, do not take the roast out of the refrigerator early. If it warms up too much, it will likely overcook. My roast was 38° when it went in the oven.


1 beef roast, like top, eye or bottom round, approximately 3 pounds (My roast was a 3.3-pound top round roast.)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

A few grinds of freshly ground black pepper

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

Red-pepper flakes to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 500°.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil and pepper flakes together.
  3. Remove the roast from the refrigerator and put it in a roasting pan or cast iron skillet.
  4. Rub the seasoning mixture all over the roast.


5. If using an oven cord meat thermometer, put the probe in the roast so it reaches into the center of the meat. (Optional; I probably wouldn’t use it next time.)

6. When the oven reaches 500° put the roast in the oven. Roast for 5 minutes per pound. (My roast was 3.3 pounds; 5 x 3.3 = 16.5. I roasted it at 500° for 16½ minutes.)

7. Turn the oven off. Do not open the oven door at any time. Set a timer for 2 hours.When the 2 hours is up, take the roast out of the oven. Slice it and enjoy!



2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 28, 2020 4:59 am

    Hi Kath, this is an interesting roasting technique. I wonder if this method would work with a boneless leg of lamb? I don’t see why it wouldn’t. I’ll keep this in mind for the next I have a beef or lamb roast. Take care over your way…

    • October 28, 2020 7:11 am

      If it’s about 3 pounds I think it would work, Ron. Good thinking!

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