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Mar 16, 2012 08:57 AM

Top Round Roast?

I've ordered a 5 pound top round roast from the butcher and now I'm wondering how to roast it so that it comes out medium-rare and not too tough. This roast was recommended by the butcher as a less expensive substitute for a standing rib. Will I be able to make a tasty gravy/sauce from the drippingts?

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  1. Roast it to an internal temp of your choosing. 125F-ish. You can start high, and turn down, start low, turn to high. But, after doing several roasts in different ways, if going for a medium rare, it's all about internal temperature. Lots of different ways of going about it, and each have their propnents claiming it's the "best."

    1. There are MANY threads about roasting cheaper cuts. Search this board using the terms Cook's Illustrated slow roast eye round. I know you are using a different cut but it's the same method.
      You have to use LOW heat for the oven time, whether you sear at the beginning or at the end.
      Do not attempt this unless you have a meat thermometer, and an oven thermometer is a good idea as well. You will also need a good carving knife as this roast must be sliced very thinly.

      1. I question your butcher's credibility and knowledge. While you certainly make a roast beef out of Top Round, it is hardly a substitute, or rather a good substitute. There's a lot of love on here for the Cook's Illustrated Eye Round Roast, personally, I find that a poor substitute as well unless you have a commercial slicer and want to make cold cut thin slices....I will say however, the method is good to obtain a medium rare piece of beef, i.e., low temperature slow roasted.

        The cut of beef known as *The Poor Man's Prime Rib Roast* is Whole Top Butt Sirloin.

        Two other cuts of beef that have lots of beefy taste and can be slow roasted tender....are Chuck Roast and Top Blade Roast. Top Blade Roast is the whole piece of beef they make Top Blade or Flat Iron Steaks out of. If you like to see some pictures of Chuck Roast or Seven Blade Roast with medium-rare results, have a look here.

        As wyogal indicates, there are many number of ways to achieve a temperature of medium-rare for beef. Higher heat will results in an outer gray ring on the roast and a pink center. With low temperature, the meat will have the outside brown crust, but a pink interior throughout. The preferred method to roast beef commercially is low and it naturally mimics the dry age process to break down the meat, thus making it more tender. It also provides minimal shrinkage and the highest yield.

        6 Replies
        1. re: fourunder

          I could not agree more about cut selection. Those two suggestions are the least flavorful choices imaginable.

          1. re: mcf

            I'm not sure what two choices you are referring to. My experience with chuck roast, seven bone or blade roasts are only worthwhile if pot roasted! I'm getting the top round from a reliable butcher that hasn't steered me wrong in the last 30 years. He deals almost exclusively with prime beef. I think I'll go with low and slow. Any tips on seasoning or length of time for a 5-pound rolled and tied top round roast?

            1. re: HBGigi

              s&p, garlic, rosemary.
              time, I always look up approximate times in my trusty red and white checked cook book, then use a thermometer.

              1. re: HBGigi

                Top round and eye round, I was agreeing with fourunder. They have the least flavor and least pleasing texture, they're just too lean to be flavorful. I season pretty heavily with kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper.

                1. re: HBGigi

                  Hi HBGigi,
                  I've used Kenji's method for Prime Ribs on other cuts very successfully. Perfect rare throughout and you can still get the crusty exterior. Here's a link to the Serious Eats article:


                  It's basically a slow and low approach, but then you take it out to bring it down in temp. While it's cooling you crank the oven as high as it will go. Put the roast back in to achieve desired browning. It's actually a great article with a full breakdown of several methodologies and how he arrived at the best approach.

                  1. re: larkemon

                    Thank you. This method should work well for me.

            2. I agree with your butcher on this. While a top round will never be as tender as a standing rib roast, it's a much more affordable cut, especially if you are feeding a crowd.

              I use it often for roast beef. I like to use a paring knife to insert whole peeled cloves of garlic at least several hours before roasting, which gives it extra flavor. Before roasting, take it out of the refrigerator an hour or two to allow it to come to room temperature. Right before it goes in the oven I sprinkle it with kosher salt, pepper, and finely chopped fresh rosemary. I cook it in a convection oven at 325 until it reaches 115 degrees. (I like it rare, and the temperature continues to rise after it's out of the oven and resting on a cutting board.)

              I usually cook smaller roasts, say about 2 pounds, and that takes less than an hour. A larger one would take longer, of course, as would cooking it in a regular oven.

              There are always some drippings left in the pan, but not a lot. My husband likes gravy with his meat, so I usually deglaze the pan with a combination of red wine and beef stock, adding any juices the meat has thrown off while resting. (make sure the cutting board has a groove to collect them.) Off-heat, I swirl in some butter. Sometimes the sauce needs to be strained before serving.

              Be sure to slice the meat very thinly.

              Most of all, don't be put off by the naysayers. And let us know how it turned out.

              4 Replies
              1. re: bitchincook

                Thanks bc, just exactly what I was looking for! You're a great help and I will let everyome know how the party for 10 goes.

                1. re: HBGigi

                  If you use bitchincook's method, don't be surprised when you get a gray ring of exterior meat. You'll get even pinkness throughout if you use the Serious Eats or CI method.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    I have used the CI method a million times with good results. An eye of round roast is never going to be as tender as some other cuts, but I, for one, am willing to actually chew my meat in exchange for an affordable and very tasty roast beef. Sharpen that knife and slice it as thin as you can, it will be fine...I usually sear mine lightly beforehand just for that nice 'caramelized' exterior, then I let it cool off again for 20 minutes or so before I put it into the oven. As bitchincook says, you won't have a TON of drippings, but you will have some. If you need to trim your roast at all beforehand, you can render some fat off those trimmings for gravy...DO let us know what you think.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      Nope. Maybe that's because I have a convection oven.

                2. Oh Man !!!
                  I WISH I had seen this post earlier !!!
                  I recently bought Molly Stevens cookbook
                  All About Roasting
                  and made the Slow Roasted Top Round
                  with the Horseradish Cream Sauce....

                  OMG OMG OMG !!!!
                  That made a roast so very heavenly !!!!
                  Amazing for a cheaper cut of meat.
                  The Horseradish cream sauce was divine, too.

                  Several things that are totally important :
                  your KNIFE !!!!
                  The thinner the slices, the better.

                  The use of thermometer ....
                  That meat CANNOT be over cooked, you will ruin it !!!!

                  The SLOW OVEN
                  250 (225 if convection, according to recipe)

                  I am looking forward to using more of the recipes in her book.
                  This one was a roaring success.....

                  Edited to add: Looks like the technique is similar to Cook's Illustrated.
                  Anyway, can't go wrong there :-)