How to cook eye of round roast to tender perfection in a slow cooker or a Dutch oven. Plus – how to prepare a delicious gravy with the pot liquids.
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Read on for relevant information and step-by-step pictures (2 mins)
About This Eye of Round Roast Recipe
Beef eye of round can be outstanding when prepared correctly and one of the surest ways to achieve tender meat is to cook it low and slow with moist heat.
To that end, pot roasting (braising it) in a slow cooker or a Dutch oven is an excellent choice.
In this recipe we demonstrate the method using a slow cooker, but if you would rather employ a large Dutch oven (oval shaped works perfectly) the process if almost identical. We give you complete instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post.
What is Beef Eye of Round?
The eye of round is an oblong shaped muscle nestled in the lower part of the bottom round primal cut of beef.
It is seamed from the outside round and trimmed before sold as a roast or thin steaks.
Is It a Good Cut of Beef?
Overall, eye of round is very lean with a particularly tough texture due to the lack of fat marbling. Consequently it is often sold blade tenderized, especially if precut into steaks.
At the same time this cut is notably flavorful and can be prepared in a number of different ways that address and accentuate its unique characteristics.
Best Ways to Cook Eye of Round
- braising – the technique which is the subject of this pot roast recipe, slow cooker or oven braising
- thin-slicing roast – should be marinated, then roasted in the oven at high heat, only briefly before it dries out
- sous vide – followed by a quick sear for a flavorful finish
- curing – for bresaola, a dry-cured meat with roots in Lombardy, Northern Italy
- dehydrating – after marinating, for beef jerky
Eye of round roast. You need an average sized cut weighing about 3 to 4 lbs (the whole muscle can reach 8 lbs).
Spice rub. To flavor the outside of the beef roast. You can use your favorite or the suggested one in the recipe card.
Onion, garlic, olive oil, tomato paste, brown sugar and thyme. To create an aromatic and balanced base for the beef roast.
Flavorful liquid. A combination of beef stock and dark beer or beef stock and red wine/cooking wine like Marsala deepens the flavors of the braising liquid. We love to use dunkel lager in this recipe with its hints of chocolate and dominant dark sweetness.
Vegetables. While you can absolutely slow cook this beef cut without any vegetables adding a few chunky carrots, celery, onions, potatoes or even mushrooms is both traditional and easy.
How to Cook Eye of Round Roast with Vegetables
The workflow for this roast is very straightforward, with two distinct stages.
Create flavors. To do this you will sear the well-seasoned eye of round on all sides. Browning it makes a big difference (see below). Next you will prepare the braising liquid, as per the steps illustrated above and transfer it to the slow cooker or a Dutch oven.
Braise. You will place the browned eye of round amidst the braising juices, surround it with vegetables (if using) and cook it in the crock pot or oven, low and slow, until it is fork tender.
Do You Have to Brown a Beef Roast Before Cooking It in a Slow Cooker?
It is much better if you do.
The high heat sear creates an array of flavors via the Maillard reaction. As part of this reaction proteins and sugars on the surface combine to form new aromatic compounds which contribute to an even better tasting beef roast.
TIP: Browning works best when the beef is at room temperature and its surface is dry.
How Long Does it Take to Cook Eye of Round in the Slow Cooker?
Depending on the size of your roast and model of crock pot, on low it will take up to 8 hours to achieve tender meat. On high cook the eye of round for about 5 hours.
The best way to know if you need to cook it a little bit longer is to simply check for tenderness with a fork.
How to Make Roast Beef Gravy with the Braising Liquid
A gravy both moistens and flavors the finished, tender pot roast. You can make it by essentially thickening the juices from the braise.
Step-by-step. To make roast beef gravy start by melting butter over medium heat and whisking an equal amount of flour into it. Gradually add the pot roast juices as you whisk to prevent any lumps from forming. Once you reach the desired consistency – taste and season as needed, then simply transfer it to a serving dish.
Serve Roast Beef and Gravy
When braised eye of round is so tender that it is best presented broken up into chunks and generously drenched with gravy, as shown below.
For a more appealing presentation we like to add fresh herbs to the serving platter.
Besides the vegetables that you cooked as part of the dish consider these pot roast sides:
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EYE OF ROUND ROAST
- 3-4 lbs beef eye of round
- 2 tsp each garlic powder, dried oregano, paprika, coarse salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil (or more as needed)
- 1 onion, large diced
- 3 cloves garlic, rough chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 - 1 1/4 cup dark beer or wine*
- 4-5 sprigs thyme
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 - 1 1/2 cup beef stock
- 1 lbs gold or red potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 large carrots, cut into thick bite-sized pieces
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp AP flour
- 2 cups pot roast juices (braising liquid)
BEEF EYE OF ROUND ROAST SLOW COOKER
- Bring the eye of round to room temperature and pat it dry. Mix the spices, salt and pepper and rub all over the meat.
- To a suitably sized skillet over medium-high heat add the olive oil and sear the eye of round on all sides until it is nicely browned. Set it aside and lower the heat to medium.
- Saute the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes, Stir in the tomato paste, cook 1 more minute.
- Add the wine or beer to deglaze the skillet. Scrape off any brown bits from the bottom of skillet and and bring to simmer. Stir in the brown sugar and thyme. Transfer all to the slow cooker.
- Place the browned roast on top of the braising mixture. Arrange the vegetables around the meat and add the beef stock. Close the lid and cook on low for 8 hours or until the meat is fork tender/on high for 5 hours or until the meat is tender.
- Once you are satisfied with the tenderness of the roast, remove it from the slow cooker onto a platter. Arrange the vegetables around it. Keep warm while you make the gravy (see steps below).
BEEF EYE OF ROUND ROAST DUTCH OVEN
- Preheat the oven to 325 F.
- Complete steps 1 thru 4, but transfer the braising mixture to a suitably sized Dutch oven.
- Place the browned roast (and any natural juices from while it was resting) amidst the braising mixture. Arrange the vegetables around. Add the beef broth.
- Place the lid of the Dutch oven and cook in the oven for about 3-5 hours or until the roast is fork tender. (Begin checking after about 3 hours.)
- When you are satisfied with the tenderness of the beef remove it from the Dutch oven onto a platter, arrange the veggies around it and keep warm while you make the gravy.
- Strain the remaining braising liquid. Set aside.
- In a sauce pan over medium heat melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Gradually add the braising liquid (about 2 cups or just less) while continuing to whisk to make sure that no lumps form.
- Once the gravy has your desired consistency, remove it from the heat and transfer it to a gravy boat for serving with the eye of round roast.
*Look for malt forward styles with pleasant toast, coffee or dark fruit notes - porter ale, dunkel lager, doppelbock, chocolate stouts or stouts brewed without too much roasted barley.
**Also consider celery, parsnips or mushrooms.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 729Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 253mgSodium: 407mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 8gProtein: 88g