Smoked eye of round with beef au jus is an inexpensive cut of meat that we are going to pack with great flavor and cook with low heat.
The Best Roast: Eye of Round
Eye of round is one of the most underrated cuts of beef when it comes to the world of smoking. However, I am going to show you the best way to cook it, resulting in a tender roast with a BIG beefy flavor that slices like butter.
If you are at the grocery store, and looking for an economical, and affordable cut of beef that’s great for smoking, and will deliver on big beef flavor then don’t sleep on considering an eye of round roast!
I know what you are thinking – Frank, that is a tough cut of beef. Well, that is because it is often poorly prepared and results in super dry beef that is tough to chew.
However, with a little bit of attention, this “tough cut” can give your Texas brisket a run for its money. Slow-braised in beef au jus and butter, this eye of round has a massive beef flavor!
Where is the Eye of Round Located?
The eye of round roast is located on the back leg of the cow and at first glance looks very similar to the tenderloin.
That being said it’s an extremely tough cut of beef because of its constant movement and being a weight-bearing muscle of the animal. It is very lean with lots of connective intermuscular tissue.
To break all that down you’ll want to cook this cut low and slow. Not for nothing, but another big advantage of the eye round is the price.
Eye round is often on sale at local markets and in my research almost always cheaper than brisket.
Is Eye of Round called by any other names?
Yes, eye of round roasts are sometimes labeled as top round roasts at the butcher counter. They are both the same cut of beef from the rear leg of the animal though.
Is Eye of Round the same as Chuck Roast?
Great question, but no eye of round roasts and beef chuck roasts are not the same cut of meat at all, although they are both tougher cuts of meat, and are usually more economical than other cuts.
As we mentioned, round roasts are from the rear leg of the animal, while chuck roasts are cut from the shoulder, and are a bit fattier.
Smoked Eye of Round Ingredients
Meat: 4 lb of eye of round beef.
Seasoning: 1 tsp coarse ground black pepper, ½ tbsp real salt, ½ tsp granulated garlic, and ½ tsp of granulated onion.
Slow Cooking Ingredients: ½ cup of beef broth and ½ stick of butter.
How to Make Eye of Round Recipe
Trim fat. Trim any excess fat on the fat side of the eye round and remove any silver skin.
Brine. To make the brine, follow the directions in the section below.
Season. Prepare the seasoning by combining salt, pepper, onion, and garlic.
Prep meat and smoke. Pat brined beef dry and season the eye of round with the spice blend. Smoke at 225 degrees for 3-4 hrs or until beef reaches 160-170 degrees F.
Wrap and add broth and butter, and continue cooking. Remove your eye of round from the smoker and raise the temperature to 300 degrees F. Double Wrap the Eye Round in aluminum foil with a ½ cup of beef broth and ½ stick of butter added in. Reinsert the probe and return it to the smoker.
Smoke the meat. Cook beef for 3-4 more hrs depending on size until beef reaches an internal temperature of between 205-210 degrees F.
Let meat rest. Open the top of the foil to let the beef rest in the juices until it cools to about 150 degrees F. Before slicing into ¼ inch slices.
Serve and Enjoy. Before serving, pour off the au jus and serve alongside the eye of round.
Brining Eye of Round Roast Before Smoking
Most of the time when you think of brining or curing beef we are discussing brisket to make corned beef or pastrami.
Eye of round can benefit from some of these processes as well. I like to give the eye round an overnight brine using real salt (kosher salt works too), peppercorns (or freshly ground course black pepper), bay leaves, onion powder, and garlic powder.
The beef will turn a pale color but don’t worry, it won’t affect the final product other than making it more tender and juicy. For an easy cheat recipe for pastrami check out this recipe.
What to serve with a Beef Eye of Round Roast
Make it a whole meal complete with incredible side dishes! Serve up your tender beef with a side of Sheet Pan Green Beans Almondine with Bacon, Bacon Cheddar Broccoli Bake, or Corn and Avocado Summer Salad- Best Cookout Side Dishes!
Pro-Tip: Don’t forget a nice glass or cup of red wine to finish it off.
Smoking vs Braising
Smoking the Eye Round and then wrapping it in foil gives you the best of both worlds.
You get the beautiful smoke ring and flavor that you want with beef roasts. In addition to smoking,wrapping the beef will help tenderize and hold in the juices to keep the roast moist.
The addition of beef broth and butter in the foil acts as a flavor booster to really take the roast up a notch.
How to get a Perfect Smoke Ring
To achieve a perfect smoke ring start the beef roast at a lower temperature around 225 for the first 3-4 hrs. Once the eye of round has reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. It’s really taken on all the smoke that it can.
Then you can wrap it up and raise the temperature after that. Once the eye of round is wrapped I’ll turn my smoker up to 300 degrees F and cook it until I hit 205-210 degrees F internally.
Resting Before Slicing
This is the key to your success or failure in this recipe. You’ve been cooking all day and you’re hungry but don’t let your impatience get the best of you.
At 205-210 degrees F. the beef has pushed out a lot of juices but it can reabsorb those juices if you give it time. Plus if you cut it while it’s that hot it will probably tear and crumble when slicing.
Open the foil carefully on top so the beef can breathe and cool down a bit. Make sure the beef still sits in its own au jus. Let the beef cool down for 30-45 minutes until it hits an internal temperature of 150 degrees.
It will still be hot and ready to eat but it will be perfectly moist as well. Pour off that leftover au jus in a bowl to serve alongside the eye of round for even more beefy goodness.
Slicing the Roast
You have 2 choices when slicing your eye of round. You can cook it less and retain more moisture but have it be tougher. Option two, you can cook it a little longer and have it be a lot more tender.
Both methods work but need to be sliced completely differently. If you choose to undercook the eye round then it’s important to slice it as thinly as possible. Or you can use a meat slicer if that would be even better.
If you cook it longer then the goal should be to slice it at pencil thickness just like you would slice a beef brisket.
Cut a slice and take a bite, and if you are happy with the tenderness then keep the slices that thickness. If it’s a little tougher than you would like, slice it thinner and if it’s crumbling, slice it a little bit thicker.
You can dunk the slices in the au jus before serving to make the meat even juicier.
How to Store Leftover Roast Beef
Alright, home cooks and pit kings, you smoked it, you ate it, and now it’s time to save it.
Allow your meat to reach room temperature and then grab an airtight container and toss it in the fridge.
The leftovers will keep for about 3-5 days, in the refrigerator, and you can freeze them for up to 3 months. Don’t forget to save your leftover beef au jus too.
What can I do with my leftover roast beef?
There are so many amazing dishes that you can make with leftover roast beef, that you will be hoping you have some leftovers so that you can try them all!
- Pot Pie with Roast Beef, vegetables, and gravy
- Roast beef sandwiches (don’t forget the Au Jus)
- Roast beef, lettuce, and tomato tortilla roll-ups
- Serve it on top of salad
- Roast beef nachos with cheese, lettuce, salsa, and sour cream
- Chop some up and put it in scrambled eggs or potatoes
Helpful Kitchen Tools
Pan: Don’t want to heavily wrap your meat before adding butter and broth? Consider using an aluminum shallow roasting pan and cover with aluminum foil.
Meat Thermometer: When checking for doneness it is important to be confident in your meat’s temperature. I recommend having an ovenproof thermometer or an instant read thermometer on hand.
More Beefy Inspiration
- Beef Bourguignon
- Beef Heart Satay
- Texas Style Beef Ribs
- Rotisserie Prime Rib
- Grilled Maryland Style Pit Beef
Smoked Eye of Round w/ Au Jus
- Pellet Grill (Rec Tec 700)
- Trim any excess fat of the eye round and remove any silver skin.
- For Brine Instutions See Recipe Below
- Combine Salt, Pepper, Onion and Garlic
- Pat Brined Beef dry and season the Eye Round with spice blend. Smoke at 225 degrees for 3-4 hrs. Until beef reaches 160-170 degrees F.
- Remove Eye Round from smoker and raise temperature to 300 degrees F. Double Wrap the Eye Round in aluminum foil with a ½ cup of beef broth and ½ stick of butter added in. Re insert probe and return to the smoker.
- Cook beef for 3-4 more hrs depending on size until beef reaches an internal temperature of between 205-210 degrees F.
- Open the top of the foil to let the beef rest in the juices until it cools to about 150 degrees F. Before slicing into ¼ inch slices. Pour off the au jus and serve alongside the Eye of Round.
- In a pot bring water, salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, onion and garlic to a simmer stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes until salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and add ice cubes until brine is completely chilled. Pour brine over the eye round and store in a sealed container for 8-12 hrs in the fridge.