A few days ago, I was responding to a post on Facebook – not even a friend’s post; a commercial post, from Kroger – and I recalled the wonderful Cook’s Illustrated / America’s Test Kitchen recipe for eye of round. I got to thinking that I hadn’t made that eye of round in ages. So I went to the grocery store yesterday – Kroger, no less – and eye of round was on sale.
Well played, Kroger.
I can’t link to the actual recipe because it’s behind a paywall. But here’s a blogger who reviewed it, and I’ll give you some of the high points. Eye of round is more expensive than pot roast cuts but usually less expensive than fancy oven roasts. But you have to treat it well in order to get it to turn out well as an oven roast. The ATK recipe involves coating it liberally with kosher salt and then wrapping it in plastic for 24 hours. It looks like too much salt, but it gets distributed throughout the meat and helps tenderize and flavor it.
Then, you sear it in a hot cast-iron skillet, to give you the lovely brown crust, before putting it in a very low and slow oven. (I should have added pepper before searing but forgot.) There are some times in the recipe but they suggest, because of the nature of it, that you go by probe thermometer instead of by the clock. I’m talking about the kind of thermometer where you put the probe in the meat but the digital readout sits outside the oven, attached by magnet to the oven door. You cook the meat slowly until it reaches 115 degrees (if you want to wind up medium rare) or 125 (if your final destination is medium). Then, then you turn the oven off, without opening the door, and let it sit in the oven. The carryover heat should get you an extra 15 degrees, which is 130 for a nice medium rare or 140 for medium. You slice very thinly, against the grain, and it tastes like a much more expensive roast than it really is. Medium rare is the way to go.
The roast is in the oven right now. Of course, I knew there was a lot of browned goodness in the cast iron skillet I used for searing, so I deglazed the skillet with a little water and am using the water to make rice in my rice cooker. The rice will help tide me over until the beef is done, since that will take a couple of hours. When your’re cooking for yourself, it doesn’t all have to get done at once.
I’ll have a few wonderful hot slices tonight, but it will also be quite good cold in the next few days.