Learn how to prepare and cook this melt-in-your-mouth bottom round roast from start to finish. This affordable cut has a lot of potential as a family-friendly beef cut and holiday treat.
And the good news is, it's really a simple meat dish, it's completely foolproof, and I promise you it's going to deliver the best roast beef you have ever had in your life.
- What is Bottom Round Roast?
- Slow Cooking a Roast
- Should you bring your roast to room temperature?
- Should I reverse sear a roast?
- What you need
- How to Cook a Bottom Round Roast
- How long do you cook a roast?
- What to serve with
- Know your oven
- Worried your roast will be done early?
- Roasting Pans
- Let Your Roast Rest
- Fantastic Herbs and Spices
- Smoke, Smoker Options
- Fantastic Leftover Recipes
- 📋 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
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If you're a home cook, you're likely familiar with meat like chuck roast, rump roast, and pot roast. All equally delicious but with different textures, flavors, and price tags.
A boneless rib-eye costs around $15 per pound, whereas a bottom round beef may be purchased for about $5 per pound. This low-cost cut of beef is ideal for a family of 4 or 5 and makes fantastic dinner roasts.
Check out my cheap beef cuts guide to saving money on beef!
Just to clarify, this is not a slow cooker, crockpot, or pot roast recipe. While these cooking methods produce equally delicious recipes. All three cooking methods steam the beef and result in a different texture, flavor and are never medium-rare. We want a perfectly cooked medium rare roast beef from edge to edge.
My secret for melt-in-your-mouth roast beef is a cooking method known as low and slow. This method is well known in BBQ, where cuts of beef like brisket, tri-tip, and more are cooked for 24-72 hours at 225°F, resulting in drool-worthy beef.
Today, we'll take this a step further. You'll learn how to cook meat on low heat between 150 - 170°F (65 - 76°C) for approximately 3 - 6 hours in your oven.
This slow cooking method will turn any round oven roast, rump roast, or meat into a fantastic family-loved meal.
What is Bottom Round Roast?
Bottom round roast is a cut of beef from the rear leg of a cow. The butt, if you will, or beef bottom. Butchers know this cut as the outside muscle of the upper leg, as identified in the black shaded area below.
The round portion of the rear hind legs consists of eye round, top round, and bottom round cut. This video explains a bit of the bottom round, outside round, rump, and hind legs.
Compared to many other types of meat, the overall healthiness of a boneless round roast should be appealing to those who want a nutritious dinner yet still desire rich meaty tastes.
This affordable cut of meat is trending due to rising national beef prices. Families are buying bottom round, eye of round, and sirloin tip more frequently.
When prepared and cooked properly, it can taste as good as some far more expensive cuts of meat. And as a lean and economical cut, we can enjoy roast beef any day of the week.
Slow Cooking a Roast
The best way to cook any cut of meat that tends to be on the tough side is low and slow. You can prepare it with a marinade ahead of time or a dry rub before cooking.
If you want to slice it like roast beef, you must cook your meat in the oven. I don't recommend cooking a round roast in a slow cooker , crockpot or instant pot unless you are looking for meat with more pot roast, pulled pork, or shredded beef texture. Still delicious but a very different result and nothing like a delicious oven roast.
As I mentioned, we'll cook our meat low and slow. You can use a dutch oven, cast-iron skillet, or roasting pan with a rack.
Should you bring your roast to room temperature?
No, you should not let your meat come to room temperature! The outside layer of the meat will be well done, while the interior is red, as shown here. Take a look at how overcooked each of these roasts' outer layers is. While I'm sure they taste amazing and are pretty tender, this is easy to avoid, and we can make an even better beef dish.
If you want a truly perfect roast, only let the beef rest for 10 minutes for a small 3-4 pound roast. Simply long enough to remove the chill from the outside 2-3 mm of the meat.
Should I reverse sear a roast?
Yes, you should reverse sear steak and roasts thicker than 1.5-inches. By heating up meat slowly, you achieve several key benefits.
It reduces the chance of overcooking as the entire process is slower and more consistent. A reverse sear solves common problems like overdone one time and not done enough the next or being too charred on the outside while not cooked to the desired doneness on the inside.
Less moisture is lost from start to finish resulting in a super juicy meat. In theory, the lower gentler heat contracts the muscle fibers less, resulting in less moisture loss.
After a long slow cook, the meat's surface is dry and will sear/brown much faster & deeper than a raw steak without the risk of overcooking.
This method is excellent for dinner parties and holidays when you want/need a grace period. Cook the roast low and slow until you reach your desired temperature.
Remove and let rest for at least 10 minutes and no longer than 2 hours. When guests are ready to eat, finish with a reverse sear and serve.
What you need
To make a great bottom round roast, you only need a few kitchen essentials.
- Large cast iron pan or roasting pan
- Large wood cutting board
- Carving knife or chef's knife
- Internal meat thermometer (see notes)
- 3-4 pound bottom round roast (grass-fed beef)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme (substitute dried rosemary)
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Grass-fed roast, only slightly more expensive, has improved marbling and deeper beef flavor. Potentially an excellent option for Sunday dinner or even a nice Christmas dinner.
Fresh thyme or any fresh herb is superior to dried herbs and smells fantastic. If you decide to use fresh, triple the measurements above.
How to Cook a Bottom Round Roast
Learn how to prepare and cook a bottom round roast recipe from start to finish. I always aim for medium-rare and find it's the best way to preserve the beef's tenderness and flavor. Of course, if you prefer medium, medium-well, or well done, check my temperature guide below.
Under 3 pounds
Preheat oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65 degrees Celsius).
Over 3 pounds
Preheat oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit (76 degrees Celsius).
Note: Some ovens may not go this low. Use the lowest available setting and monitor the internal temp with your meat probe.
Preparing bottom round beef is easy, but the steps are important. Prep time for this dish is about 15 minutes.
From store to Fridge
If you bought a lovely roast on sale and want to eat it within three to five days, store it in the fridge. Otherwise, store it in the freezer for up to 12 months. Any longer and the meat will lose its flavor and its appeal.
If your meat is frozen, let it sit in the fridge overnight and unthaw naturally before cooking. I do not recommend defrosting a large roast in your microwave as it will undoubtedly change the meat's texture.
If you have an extra day, try seasoning the meat as mentioned below and refrigerate uncovered for another 24 hours. This will give the salt and seasoning time to penetrate more deeply. And it's also going to give the bottom round beef more time to dry out the surface, which will lead to better browning.
Cooking from the Fridge
Remove the unthawed roast from the fridge and place it next to your sink. Cut the packaging enough to allow the excess liquid to drain.
Transfer the meat to a large cutting board and let it sit for 10 minutes to remove the chill. For larger roasts, you can let it sit for up to 30 minutes.
Pat the meat's surface with a paper towel to absorb any residual moisture.
Seasoning the Roast
Ensure your meat is dry, and brush the entire surface of the meat with olive oil. If you do not have olive oil, you can use your oil of choice. I've even made this with grass-fed butter!
Combine all of the seasonings in a small bowl and distribute evenly on the roast. Use your hands to ensure the seasoning really sticks to the red meat. You can even roll the meat to ensure the seasoning gets embedded into the meat. And feel free to substitute; sometimes, I'll use dried rosemary instead of thyme or both.
Another great option is overnight brine, marinade, or dry rub. Still, I'll cover both of these in more detail another day.
Let's move on to the cooking process now. We'll focus on cooking bottom round beef low and slow, but keep in mind that it may be prepared in various ways.
The best part about cooking bottom round at low heat for a long period of time is that anyone can cook it. You do not need to be a professional chef to cook a flavorful, juicy, and perfectly roasted dinner every time.
Place your bottom round beef in the center of a pre-seasoned cast iron pan with the fattier side on top. Alternatively, use a roasting pan, dutch oven, or heavy-bottomed pan.
If you have a wireless or wired meat probe, insert it into the thickest part of the meat. If you do not have one, buy one. Even the most experienced chefs and cooks use a meat thermometer to monitor and check for doneness.
When your roast reaches an internal temperature of 125°F (52°C), it is med rare, and you can remove it from the oven.
After that initial cook, you can let the beef rest at room temperature covered in foil for anywhere from 10 minutes up to 2 hours.
For the perfect bottom round roast, you should cook with the fat side up. As the meat cooks, the fat melts and runs down the sides of the meat. This helps provide moisture and flavor, which are so important for these more affordable cuts of meat.
When cooking roasts, we want that gloriously browned exterior, the crust, but still moist inside. The rule of thumb for most roasts is to cook uncovered in a shallow pan. If your roast is on the smaller side, under 3 pounds, reduce the temperature to 150°F (66°C).
And a soon as you're ready to eat, you'll want to reverse sear your roast. Preheat your oven to as high as it'll possibly go, typically in a high heat range of 500-550°F (260-288°C).
The good news is that because of the long slow cook, the exterior of the roast will be pretty dry and is probably coated in a thin layer of rendered beef fat. As you recall, the fat cap is facing up, and as it cooks, the fat melts and runs down the side of the meat.
These are ideal conditions for fantastic browning. Once the oven is preheated, add the beef, and let it cook for 10 minutes or until it's nice and crisp and browned on the outside.
I love this method for a few key reasons:
- no additional resting, carve and serve
- meatier, beefier, and more succulent meat
- more consistent and easier to plan
Carve and Serve
After the beef comes out of the oven, it can go straight onto the carving board. Yes, no additional resting is required because we already let the roast rest before the reverse sear.
Sharpen your knife, and carve the roast against the grain. If you're unsure, look for the lines running in the same direction and cut against the lines, commonly known as against the grain.
I like to go about ½-inch thick per slice. Check it out; almost all of the meat is perfectly med rare. This beef is so tasty that you don't even really need a sauce.
But of course, if you want, a red wine au jus or horseradish cream sauce would be amazing.
How long do you cook a roast?
I don't like to give a flat-out time for cooking a roast because so many factors affect the cooking time. Your elevation, your oven (and if it is calibrated correctly or not), how thick your particular piece of meat is, and more.
If we each buy a 2 lb roast, they will vary in quality, length, thickness, and fat. And it is no surprise that a long thin roast takes less time to cook than a thick fat roast.
The quality of meat varies significantly between USDA select (leaner than choice), choice (less marbling than prime), and prime (better marbling).
For cooking low and slow, a good rule of thumb for cooking bottom round is 2 hours per pound. This rule is more of a guide to help you prepare sides and effectively plan your dinner.
"Roasting slowly is where all the good stuff happens," says Jim Swenson, who has been executive chef at the National Press Club in Washington for 17 years.
But this is just a guide to help you estimate cook time. It would be best if you were diligent about checking the internal temperature regularly to ensure you don't over-cook your roast. Over-cooked meat of any type will be overly tough and dry.
A good meat thermometer is essential. And while this is a foolproof recipe, it all comes down to knowing when your beef is ready. I usually start checking once I reach the "halfway" point of that rule of thumb time.
What to serve with
For a fantastic recipe like this, I think a nice creamy mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, and a young, full-bodied red wine would be outstanding.
Fluffy Mashed Potatoes
I love making mashed potatoes, and they are so easy to make in advance. You'll need about 3 pounds of Yukon or Russet potatoes (peeled and quartered), 8 tablespoons of butter, ½ cup sour cream, and salt and pepper to taste.
Cook potatoes until fork-tender, drain, and return to the pot. Add milk, softened butter, and sour cream. Mash until thoroughly combined. If the mash is too thick, add a touch more milk until you get your desired consistency. Season with salt, pepper, and green chives or green onion.
And if squash is in season, it makes a great alternative to potatoes.
With an amazing roast and potatoes ready to go, steamed vegetables like asparagus or broccoli and carrots would be a great option.
Since you've already made a juicy roast, why not take a few extra minutes to make a creamy horseradish sauce. All you need is ½ cup of sour cream, ⅛ cup of horseradish. ½ tablespoon dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Combine thoroughly and serve!
Know your oven
This is so important for so many reasons! First, every oven cooks a bit differently, and you must adjust accordingly. Second, gas, electric, and convection ovens all vary.
While gas and electric have similar cooking times, convection times are often reduced by 25% or more. Worse, some ovens run hot, some run cold, and only a few report internal cooking temperatures accurately.
When preparing a roast recipe for the first time, you must make adjustments for your oven and your roast's weight. Every time I read a comment like, "I followed this recipe exactly," my heart skips a beat.
If you own an oven, which I'm sure you do, buy a meat thermometer. Preferably a wireless or cabled meat thermometer that can support dual meat probes. This goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway!
You can pick one of these up for under $30. There is absolutely no excuse for an overdone roast. Here are two great options:
Worried your roast will be done early?
The first half goes by relatively fast. About halfway through, you should monitor your meat temps closely. When cooking low and slow at 170°F (77°C), plan for 2 hours per pound. At high altitudes (5,000 ft or higher), plan for 2.5 hours per pound.
- 120-125° F (49-52° C) - Rare
- 125-130° F (52-54° C) - Medium Rare
- 130-135° F (54-57° C) - Medium
- 135-140° F (57-60° C) - Medium Well
- 140° F+ (60° C+) - Well Done
Remove when you reach your desired temperature and doneness.
I'll use my 12" cast iron skillet for smaller roasts, and for anything over 4 pounds, I use a large roasting pan with vrack. I prefer a vrack vs. flat rack as it holds the roast in place and find air circulates the roast better.
For reference, I'll use my cast iron skillet for bottom round, chuck roast, or any smaller roast. Anything over 4 pounds, and it's straight to my V-rack.
Larger roasts should be elevated so the fat can drip freely into the roasting pan. This allows the hot air to circulate around the meat while cooking.
Let Your Roast Rest
After cooking your bottom round, let the meat rest at least 10-15 minutes. I typically use a foil tent and let it rest until I'm ready to reverse sear, carve, and serve. As soon as everything else is ready, I round up the family and settle in for dinner.
Fantastic Herbs and Spices
I love using herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, garlic cloves, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, mustard, and olive oil to tie everything together. When it comes to ingredients like herbs and spices, create a final dish that works for you.
Smoke, Smoker Options
While you can smoke this delicious beef bottom round roast, please check my smoked tri-tip recipe first and decide which recipe you prefer. If the weather permits, I may smoke my meat instead of roasting it.
Fantastic Leftover Recipes
There is nothing better than leftover roast beef. I'm undoubtedly guilty of gobbling it up the next day. Only to hear someone in the kitchen cry, "Who at all the roast beef?"
My go-to sandwich is thinly sliced leftover roast beef on a lightly toasted bun or bread. Topped with a layer of creamy horseradish sauce and caramelized onions.
Optionally a nice parmesan or brie cheese would be excellent.
The Perfect Bottom Round Roast
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit (77 degrees Celsius).
- Remove the fully thawed roast from the fridge and remove it from the packaging.
- Place the bottom round roast on a cutting board.
- Brush the entire surface of the roast with olive oil or your choice of oil.
- Combine all of the seasonings in a small bowl.
- Rub the seasonings over the entire surface of the roast - top, bottom and all sides.
- Place the roast in the center of a cast iron skillet with the fat side up.
- Cook for 2 hours per pound until you reach your desired internal temperature. When the internal temperature reaches around 125-130 degrees Fahrenheit (you've hit medium rare).
- Remove the roast, tent with foil and rest for at least 10 minutes and up to 2 hours before you reverse sear.
- About 20 minutes before your ready to eat, preheat your oven to 500-550 degrees Fahrenheit.
- When your oven reaches the above temperature, remove the foil tent and place your roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Or when your roast is crisp and golden brown.
- Remove from the oven, slice and serve it medium-rare.
- 120-125° F (49-52° C) - Rare
- 125-130° F (52-54° C) - Medium Rare
- 130-135° F (54-57° C) - Medium
- 135-140° F (57-60° C) - Medium Well
- 140° F+ (60° C+) - Well Done
The Perfect Bottom Round Roast recipe originally published Feb. 2018. Updated with new content in May. 2021. No change to recipe, I wouldn’t dare! This has been one of the all time most popular recipes since I first published it!