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Apr 29, 2007 06:56 PM

Barding a beef roast?

I purchased an entire eye-of-round roast - about 8 lbs. (It was only $2.99/lb, I couldn't resist!) From previous experience with this type of roast, I know that dry roasting often produces a tough, dry result, because of the relative lack of marbling compared to prime rib.

I know that for other lean meats, like venison or buffalo, some recipes suggest barding - covering the meat with fatback or some other type of pork fat. I wondered if anyone had tried this with beef? I found some great smoky bacon recently, and I was thinking of using that.

Some questions - do you have to completely wrap the bacon around the entire roast, or can you just drape strips over top? Tthe roast is small enough that the bacon will go about 3/4 of the way around. Do you put the bacon on during the first 30 minutes, when I intend to sear the meat at 450, or should I wait until I lower the temperature to 300? Do you remove the bacon for the last 1/2 hour (I'm figuring on 1.5-2 hours total cooking time, depending on what the meat thermometer says), or leave it on until it's fully done? Finally, would you serve the bacon slices along with the roast?

Any advice would be appreciated!

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  1. Don't expose this roast to high heat unless you want ruin it. This roast is solely for moderate-slow heat. I wonder whether barding is worth the bother, because the grain of the meat it so tight that the fat would simply roll off into the pan.

    Make sure to take the roast out of the frig 3 hours ahead of cooking it. That will help prevent an overdone external layer.

    Cook until rare or barely medium rare, rest while you make a pan gravy or au jus, and slice very thinly against the grain. Done this way, it's a lovely roast - it's what "roast beef" meant for me growing up.

    Marinating for a couple of days is also a great idea. I am partial to Madeleine Kamman's command never to use a wine-based marinade that has not been cooked and chilled before use - raw wine-based marinades for large pieces of meat will result in a sour gravy/jus (which is OK for sauerbraten, but not otherwise).

    1. Barding your roast won't prevent it from drying out...your cooking method (time and temp) will determine whether it dries out or not. If you want to add fat/flavor/moisture to it, you can lard it (basically, studding it with little plugs of lard or fat), but I would do as Karl S suggests and simply cook until rare.

      8 Replies
      1. re: ricepad

        I must respectfully disagree with both the barding-won't-help assertion and the low temperature. When I've bought these things I've always asked for about a pound of beef suet, which they usually just give me. I season the (room-temperature!) meat, then cut the suet into sheets and tie it around the roast with heavy cotton twine, enclosing the meat as thoroughly as possible. Place on a rack in a shallow pan, insert thermometer probe (if you have one of those) and roast in a preheated 400º oven to an internal temp of 135º. Allow to rest 20 minutes, then untie and peel off the suet. Slice crosswise. Sometimes I salt and pepper the suet after it's tied on, too - I have no idea whether that accomplishes anything, but it sure smells good.

        1. re: Will Owen

          I'm with Will about slappin' some suet to these dry, lean logs of muscle. And, if cooked past 135, they are the culinary equivalent of a charleyhorse, ie a fully seized and contracted muscle.

          Years ago, after being served overdone eye of round by the family matriarch, who rarely missed, we sought to re-evaluate the ways to do this cut. She had served me solo while I was passing through town, and as she watched me reach for lots of water and lots of gravy and ask for A1 sauce she brought up the topic of how to do it better. We agreed to relegate the present roast to the freezer for making hash, and the next day went to store to get another muscle.

          How linear, how symmetrical, how well built. When I viewed it from the end, presenting its perfect circle, I was immediately struck with the vision of making radial cuts down its length, at a depth of halfway to the center, and laying a strip of bacon ( ie linear lard) into each 1" deep cut. Six cuts seemed like the perfect number. The beef suet was draped and arranged around the exterior for cooking, to 135..

          All un-rendered bacon and suet was removed for service. Slicing the cross-sections of the slotted roast took a little more care, but the presentation of the six flanges around the intact center was nice, and diners commented on how easy it was to cut with knife and fork..

          As a side note and a different use, cholesterol watchers can appreciate the "lowest cholesterol rating" of this cut for stir frys. When it is partially frozen and sliced paper thin and kissed by high wok heat, it is marvelous.

          1. re: FoodFuser

            Actually, you're with ME on the larding...Will was advocating barding.

            1. re: ricepad

              I'm with ricepad on Larding and Will on Barding.

              1. re: FoodFuser

                I think my next eye of round will get both, except I'll get one only about a foot long so that I can use my larding needle and put the fat strips in lengthwise. It will probably need to be roasted to 140º then, just so the fat won't be raw...

                I've also got a recipe for boliche, from a Cuban-food website, that calls for stuffing a Spanish chorizo down the center of an eye of round. That might be fun - haven't tried it yet, though.

                1. re: Will Owen

                  Eye round taken out of the oven at 140 does not sound promising, even with the fat.

                  1. re: Karl S

                    Ummm...I was actually sort of thinking out loud there, and you may be right. However, I know that pork tenderloin cooked to an internal 145 is pink enough to scare people, so I'd assume that any beef at 140 would still be between rare and medium. We *are* slicing this to just a tad thicker than potato chips, after all.

                    1. re: Will Owen

                      Well, unless you take the roast out of the frig and de-chill it thoroughly, taking it out of the oven at 140 means it will be medium. It's a bigger piece of meat than pork tenderloin, and the carryover cooking effect is that much greater. This is a cut you want no more than medium rare, and on the rare side of that if possible.

      2. I agree that low and slow is the way to go. And I mean low. Sear it and put it into a 250 degree oven until done.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Amuse Bouches

          Sorry to disagree: the reason for barding is to take advantage of high heat while not ruining your roast. Bard, but low and slow you might as well not.