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I have a fear of commitment when it comes to some things.  Like slow cooked beef.  For about a year, I’ve had my eye on a slow cooked beef recipe that I found at  The first time I thought about making it, I figured I must have misread the recipe because I didn’t remember that it would take 10 hours to cook a 4 pound roast.  So back in the folder it went.  I kept coming back to it over and over but just couldn’t commit to it.  It got to the point that I decided I was never going to have what it takes for slow cooked beef and threw the recipe out.  But the Universe had other ideas and over the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, the WaPo food folks were singing its praises and confirming that the time was not a typo. So I decided to make the commitment and fix slow roasted beef for Christmas dinner.Still, I almost chickened out more than once.  The idea of having the oven going all day just didn’t seem right.  It went against my kitchen sensibilities.  My solution was to look for a smaller roast.  Since it would just be The Mistah and I at dinner, we really didn’t need a 4 to 6 pound roast beast.  That choice alone saved Christmas.  Because as it was, even downsizing the roast, we didn’t sit down to eat until nearly 5pm.  Had I gone with the suggested 4 to 6 pounds, it would have been Boxing Day breakfast instead.

I can’t honestly say that I’ve overcome my long term roasting commitment fears.  But I was pleased with the results I got from the effort.  The meat was moist and tender with a well seasoned, savory outer crust.  I would have preferred to cook it more to medium since The Mistah isn’t as fond of medium rare as his lovely wife is.  But when he started looking at me like a chicken leg, I knew I couldn’t  buy any more time.

Slow Roasted Beef

Adapted from Jim Swenson, National Press Club

BAH Note:  The roast I used didn’t have an outer fat layer.  I don’t think the recipe suffered for the lack of it.  If you have an electric knife, I’d suggest using it in order to have the slices be as thin as possible.  I suck at carving roasts and need to take my own advice and find my electric knife.  Lastly, do the math when picking out your roast.  A 4 – 6 pound cut of beef WILL take between 8 and 15 hours.  Fortunately, the roast can be made a day ahead, cooled, and refrigerated.  Or, if you’re not as paranoid as I am, you could let the thing cook overnight.

  • 4 to 6 pound beef roast (boneless shoulder, top round, or eye of round suggested)
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

Heat the oven to 200 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a cooling rack inside the sheet pan.

Dry the roast with paper towels.  Season with salt and pepper.  Heat a dry (no oil) heavy nonstick skillet over medium high or high heat and sear the meat on all sides until well browned.

Transfer the roast to the sheet pan, fat side up, and place in the oven.  Reduce the temperature to 170 degrees and cook 2 to 2 1/2 hours per pound until the meat registers 125 degrees for rare, 130 – 135 degrees for medium rare, or 140 degrees for medium on an instant read thermometer.  Do not cook beyond 145 degrees.

Transfer the roast to a cutting board, tent with foil, and rest for 20 minutes before carving.  When ready to carve, discard the fat layer and cut the meat against the grain into thin slices.

{printable recipe}

5 thoughts on “Commitment

    1. There are times even the crock pot tries my patience. I did a brisket last weekend that ended up taking 12 freaking hours. Thank god I could pull together Plan B otherwise we wouldn’t have eaten dinner until 11pm.

    1. I’m ok with a couple of hours but this really tested my patience. Perhaps I should have titled myself The Impatient Cook?

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