Roast beef for Christmas dinner - need some help

Discussion in 'Beef' started by chitownbbq, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. chitownbbq

    chitownbbq Newbie

    So it's been determined that we're having roast beef for Christmas dinner this year and of course I've volunteered to put it all together. Now this won't be in the smoker since my little offset doesn't hold temp in the winter, so I'll be cooking it low and slow in the oven. I've had my own ideas on how to do this but I've been receiving so many contradicting "tips" from other people that I'm starting to wonder if I need some advice. So why not ask the experts who have never steered me wrong before. So I picked up a few top round roasts, choice grade, about 5 pounds each. I planned on cooking them at 350 for a half hour to brown them and then for several hours at 225. Now starts the contradictions. People have told me to cover it, some say not to cover, some say that cooking this long with choice grade will make it mushy, and my grandma insists that the meat be rump roast. The last one I don't need help on, it's going to be top round for sure. The rest, I don't know. If this were going in the smoker I would normally ignore everyone else but since it's not and this is the main dish (so I can't "experiment" like I usually would"), I think I need some advice.

    So, what way would you all cook top round? The goal is to get it to be tender enough to shred with a fork, although it won't be served that way. Also, I intended on cooking it the day before and then reheating it day of. Does anyone see a problem with this? I've been told that this is a bad idea too but all my BBQ knowledge tells me it's perfectly acceptable.
  2. raceyb

    raceyb Smoking Fanatic

    Slow cooking tender, delicate cuts of beef will only make them mushy. That advice given to you is true. As for the Rump roast, Grandma's advice is great, especially if you plan to slow cook it.

    I started this response with the intent of giving some advice, but the more I think about it, you seem like you are already dead set on what you are going to do. I have no idea how you are going to get a piece of beef to the point of shredding, yet make fine sliced cuts for serving. I'm also thinking that if you do use Top Round, and get it to the point of shredding or mushiness, it won't hold a day in fridge and reheat without totally falling apart. I believe it to be a bad idea unless your goal is to serve shredded beef.

    Now, please realize that I'm merely giving an opinion, as you have asked for. It sounds as though your family has given you some great advice, yet you have a set way you want to tackle this. With that in mind, go ahead and do what you want to do, and learn from the experience. Who knows, maybe everyone will end up being wrong and you'll produce the best roast beef in your life.

    Good luck and Merry Christmas! :)
  3. chitownbbq

    chitownbbq Newbie

    Actually I did intend to get a rump roast, but Costco doesn't sell them and so top round won. To be honest the goals of it being able to be shredded without actually being shredded was set by my mom and she's trying to replicate a recipe my aunt made and we don't have access to. I could care less if it shreds or doesn't, as long as it tastes good.

    So it seems like cooking it to the point of shredding may be a bad idea. Any ideas on how I can still cook this the day before and have it hold up reasonable well the next day? The meat has been purchased, so there's no room for variation there. The rest, I have my own ideas, but I'm not sure they're the best ideas.
  4. raceyb

    raceyb Smoking Fanatic

    The problem with roasting beef and then attempting to reheat is you are going to probably end up overcooking it. Roast beef is best served at medium or medium rare, from 140 - 120 degrees.

    You are on the right track with starting at a higher temp then lowering to 225. Using that method, a 3-4 lb piece should be ready in about 2.5-3 hours.

    If you have an offset smoker, are you able to put coals and wood on the side NEAR the firebox and indirectly cook the meat on the vent side? If so, I would try to do this so the oven can be available for other things. Just start roast in oven at 375 and move to cooker after about 30-40 minutes.

    Again, I'm not saying you can't successfully re-heat roast beef, it's just that if it were me, I would do everything possible to avoid it. I want to cut serve this nice cut 15-20 minutes after pulling it from oven or smoker.
  5. grampyskids

    grampyskids Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Nothing better than a good top round roast. It's the best dollar value in the meat case. Over the years I have cooked quite a few of these babies for catering jobs. When done properly, it will taste just like a fine prime rib.

    The way that I do it is when trimming, leave a 1/4 layer of the fat on it. Then rub it with EVOO and salt and pepper. Sear it on all sides in a hot pan or on the grill. Put in a preheated oven at 250. Cook to whatever amount of doneness you prefer and take out 10 degrees less than that ( I love medium-rare so I take out at 120-125). Tent with foil for 20 minutes and then slice in slabs just like a prime rib. Hope this helps.
  6. chitownbbq

    chitownbbq Newbie

    Well there are other reasons for not smoking. Supposedly the family is not as big of a fan of smoke as I am. Plus I'm not too eager to be sitting outside tending the fire for several hours. I hate to admit I'm a bit of a fair weather smoker. I'll smoke in the rain, but not the snow.

    How much time per pound would you say it'd take in the oven? I definetly don't want to over cook it, so it may be better to do it all day of. From what I recall I've got 3 pieces that are about 5 lbs each.
  7. raceyb

    raceyb Smoking Fanatic

    Roast beef won't take long in the oven if you have them on racks.

    If I were doing them, I'd place them directly on oven racks and have a catch tray in lower rack to catch drippings. this would give me great convection. I would start at 375 degrees F for 40 minutes and then reduce heat to 225-250. I would use a digital probe thermo in the smallest roast and keep a close eye on it.

    It will take 2-3 hours, probably closer to 3 with 3 pieces in the oven. I would also pull my meat when it gets to within 10 degrees of my goal, and then let it rest under a foil tent. But that is just how I would do it, not how you should or are supposed to do it.
  8. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well if it were me I would smoke it cause when you smoke it right it will taste out of this world. I would smoke it on about 230-250 with some apple wood and take it to about 130-135 that way you will have some med on the ends and work it's way to rare in the middle. I'm not a cater or a great cook but to me I know how to make stuff taste good.
  9. scrapiron

    scrapiron Smoke Blower

    I vote for Grampyskids method. That sounds very good. I might have to try one like that.
  10. grampyskids

    grampyskids Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    They always surprise me. Depending on the size of your oven it probably will take 2.5 to 3 hrs. Closer to 3.
    Make sure you taken them out of the frig an hour before putting them in the oven.

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