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Eye of Round Roast – What it is, Where it Comes From, How to Cook it

The eye of round roast is far from a favorite for many people, but we believe is overlooked in error. It can be nice if cooked and treated well. Learn all about it in our guide to this wonderful cut.

Emma Braby

Last Updated: March 6, 2021

pink, roasted eye of round roast, sliced and sitting on a cutting board

We all love the popular choices of ribs, brisket, and pork butts. But don’t limit yourself to these, because there are plenty of other big cuts to choose from. And the Eye of Round roast is one of them.

This cut is relatively unknown and underused. And many of those who do know it assume it is a complete waste of time, effort, and dollar. If you fall into this way of thinking, let me bring you around to our way of thinking.

Get it right, and it’ll always be on your grocery list. Great for hot meals and deli-style beef for sandwiches, it always goes down a treat in my household. And even for beef jerky!

Today we will look at what the Eye of Round roast is and show you exactly why it should be high on your list of new cuts to try. Great for roasting and smoking, it’s super lean and straightforward to cook.

The Eye of Round roast resume is ready for your perusal.

What is the Eye of Round Roast?

Simply put, it’s a very lean, large beef joint that is great for slow cooking as a tender roast or slicing thinly for homemade deli beef. It must be approached with some forethought to avoid drying it out with minimal marbling and no exterior fat.

Weighing in at anywhere between 3 lb. and 10 lb. this cut can be a mammoth meal for a hungry family. It can come squared off at each end for an even cook or as is, straight from the steer with tapered ends.

Where Does the Eye of Round Roast Come from on the Cow?

Diagram showing the round primal on a cow

The clue is in the name: That’s right, the round primal is the home of this joyous cut.

The round primal is the rear section of the cow that houses the hips, buttocks, and of course, the legs. You can learn more about the different cuts in our ‘guide to all cuts of beef.’

The muscle that gives rise to the Eye of Round roast is the semitendinosus. This is one of three hamstring muscles that are located at the back of the thigh. They are used for extension of the hip while walking, so it is a well-used and very lean part of the cow.

Other Names for the Eye of Round Roast

This cut is referred to by it’s one simple name. It is a roast located in the center of the round primal, hence it’s named the eye. Where other cuts are renamed and tweaked for all sorts of different reasons, the Eye of Round roast does not.

According to our friends over at ‘Beef it’s What’s for Dinner’, the only name variation that is generally used for it is ‘Round Eye Pot Roast’. This is because it is the most popular way to cook it.

So, hopefully, there will be no confusion down at the butcher store. Just in case you need it, the Industry ID for this cut is UPC – 1480.

Flavor, Texture, Fat Content and Tenderness

Like many lean joints, the Eye of Round roast has a mild beef flavor due to its lack of fat and marbling. With its tight grain, it will be firm but tender to the chew.

Thinly sliced as deli beef, it will chew easily and taste great.

With the right rub or marinade, the joint will benefit from a tasty crust that distinctly adds plenty of flavor to the beef. Both served warm as a main meal or cold in a sandwich.

Typical Uses

Typically used as a dry roasting joint, the Eye of Round roast can be slow-cooked to produce a tender joint ready for slicing. Serve with mash potatoes and vegetables or any other mix of sides and sauce.

The trick is not to overcook it as a pot roast. Its lack of interconnective tissue and marbling means there is little in the way of self-basting when cooked. So, done wrong, it will still be tough no matter how low or slow you cook it.

As mentioned before, it is very popular for making thinly sliced deli-style beef. But one little known use for it is to make beef jerky, which it takes to well.

Eye of Round Roast Nutrition

NutritionTotal Amount (Based on 3oz Serving)% Daily Value (based
on 2000 calories/day)
Calories1407%
Saturated Fat1.2g8%
Sodium55mg2.75%
Protein25g50%
Iron2.4mg15%
Zinc3.8mg35%

Buying the Eye of Round Roast

The Eye of Round roast is a relatively well-known cut of beef and should be well-stocked in most supermarkets. Many butchers will also have it in the meat cabinet as a staple for most people’s roast beef needs.

Online gourmet butchers may not always stock it as it is effectively a budget cut. Not as tender as a Tenderloin joint, and not as flavorful as a Rib roast, it doesn’t command premium prices.

Where to Buy Eye of Round Roast Online

A quick web search will show you where you can order Eye of Round roast. Online ordering is a great way to take the hassle out of shopping for your meat, and it will be delivered straight to your door.

It will list the rearing quality, the grade of the meat, and the price per pound, meaning you can choose meat right for your ethical stance and budget.

If we were looking online for a good Eye of Round roast, we’d start here:

Eye of Round Roast Price

At the time of writing, there were various weights and presentations of the Eye of Round roast. The cost per pound was $8.99 – $9.99 across online supermarkets. An excellent price indeed!

Portion Size: How Much Eye of Round Roast Per Person?

How much of this delicious roast you serve your family or guests depends on whether it is the starring role in your menu.

When it’s the main event and paired with side dishes, we use the ½ lb. per person rule, which can be upped to ¾ lb. pound for those with bigger appetites.

When the Eye of Round roast is the sidekick, for example, in a curry or pasta dish, aim for ¼ lb. per person.

How to Prepare it for Grilling or Smoking

Raw eye of round roast sitting on a cutting board

Whether you plan to serve it as a main or as deli-style beef, the Eye of Round roast requires some forethought. Namely a good rub or marinade, and a systematic approach to cooking it.

We like a good dry rub and a spritz of oil to create a good crust when we smoke the Eye of Round. A great place to start with any dry rub is black pepper, good quality salt, minced garlic or garlic powder, and of course, onion powder.

Add to this base any herbs or spice you like, and you will be off to a great start. Just spritz the meat with some oil and rub the mix all over it. Don’t forget the underside.

How to Cook Eye of Round Roast on a Grill

Our preferred method with this beauty is always low-n-slow, preferably on a smoker, which there are many recipes online. But it can also be cooked on any grill setup too, which is more difficult to find.

So, here’s how we do it:

  1. Remove your prepared roast from the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature – at least 1 hour for anything that weighs upwards of 3 lb.
  2. As your roast is kicking back, go and set up your smoker, making sure to clean and oil your grates. We are looking for 200-250f consistently throughout the smoke.
  3. Place the roast on the grill, with or without a water pan. It’s your choice, but we go without it.
  4. Insert your remote meat probe for monitoring the internal temp of the roast. If you don’t have one, an instant-read temperature monitor will do, it just means opening the grill more often.
  5. This roast is best at medium-rare, so only remove from the grill when the internal reads 120-125f. Don’t time it, just temp’ it.
  6. Now heat a pan or skillet on the grill or hob up to high. Then sear the roast all over to give it a great crust.
  7. Once brown all over, remove and rest for ten minutes, tented in foil.
  8. Slice thick as main and thinly for sandwiches and enjoy.

Two Best Eye of Round Roast Recipes from Around the Web

A raw eye of round roast, tied and sitting on a paddle shaped board, surrounded with garlic and herbs

I’m sure we have your taste buds tingling by now. Especially with the thought of beautifully smoked, flavorful, and tender beef.

But we aren’t done yet, so here are three great recipes from around the web. As they say, a picture paints a thousand words, so these are best delivered as high definition videos.

Harris Ranch Quick Mustard Crusted Eye Roast

This recipe is a regular on the Harris Ranch menu and, as such, must be quick enough to cook up for the well-paying guests.

The rich mustard rub is the secret to their success. Check it out here:

White Thunder BBQ’s Herb Crusted Roast Beef

This recipe sears the roast with Worcester sauce and salt and pepper and then smothers the joint in a herb-filled wet rub that cooks into a great looking crust.

The result is mouth wateringly good. Drool over it here:

Conclusion

There you have it, the eye of round roast. A great roast, without any aggravation or too much effort! No hassle, no hours of slaving over the cooker, just prep it, chuck it in the smoker and relax.

We recommend you buy the biggest joint you can find. Spend the weekend cooking it to perfection for dinner, and then enjoy the cold cuts in your favorite sandwich.

If you’re interested in what we pair it with, ours is an onion bagel with horseradish mayonnaise, please, and thank you!

Whatever you decide to smother yours in, let us know in the comments, and we’ll join you for a virtual chow down and chat. See you there.

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