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~Eye-of-Round Roast = Back-to-School Sandwiches~

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c7ca358f970bAlert -- There is a show-off in the lunch room!

MMUqTrhJ3-P5UJ9tc8Nm21AWhen I was a kid, everyone went back to school the day after Labor Day.  We all carried a 'signature' metal lunch box with a matching Thermos inside of it -- mine was a Barbie lunch box.  My brother's was a G.I. Joe lunchbox. These lunch boxes took a lickin' and kept on tickin', and ones choice of a lunch box could 'make or break' that entire year of school.  Barbie was always a good choice -- who didn't love Barbie?  She was a perfect.  Great memories from a kinder, gentler time. Cafeterias in schools hadn't been invented yet.  Sigh. 

Even though my children are all adults and on their own now, when Labor Day rolls around I find myself returning to some of the back-to-school routines of their youth -- getting up at 6:00 AM to make breakfast is not one of them.  However, on Sunday afternoons, one of my habits was, and still is, to roast an eye-of-beef, and/or a turkey breast for the upcoming week's lunchbox sandwiches.  It wasn't until these three kids became teenagers and college students (with more refined palates) that any appreciation was shown for this motherly 'labor of love'. 

LunchablesDuring the elementary school years I was just a 'mean mom' who refused to buy those horrible Oscar Mayer 'Lunchables'.  C'mon, all you have to do is look at them to KNOW you can do better than this for your children!  Sorry Oscar Mayer, even though I'd love a ride in the Weinermobile, I wouldn't love an Oscar Mayer weiner. For my $$$'s, Charlie, the Starkist tuna, and Peter Pan, the peanut butter fairy, wins out over your bologna any day.

IMG_1961So, when I found myself roasting an 'eye-of-round' this afternoon for deli-style sandwiches this week, I decided to blog about it.  Why?  On this very day, there's got to be a lot of parents experiencing the same back-to-school machinations and frenzy that I recall (but do not miss). Allow me to recommend these nifty bento-style lunchboxes made by

IMG_1969I own 24 of them.  I use them to deliver meals to Joe's mom and occasionally my parents.  They are BPA-free, stack efficiently in the refrigerator, and, because they are color-coded, I leave an index card on their countertops saying what is inside each color's top.  They make thermal carriers for the bento boxes too.  They come in eight colors and each carrier holds up to three lunchboxes, so they are perfect for picnics and tailgates too.

It's time to talk about beef eye-of-round roast:  

IMG_2027Usually under-appreciated and often misunderstood, it's a great value & perfect for deli-style lunchbox sandwiches.

IMG_1981A bit about eye of round:  The eye of round is a circular, log-shaped piece of meat cut from the beef primal of a beef hind quarter.  A "round" itself is made up of three different "cuts", all of which you can buy at the grocery store:  bottom round, top round and eye of round.  Of the three cuts, the eye of round is the most tender, but even at that, it is very lean, and, if overcooked, extremely tough.  When it is cut into steaks, they are called "round steaks" or "eye round steaks". They are dry, tough, chewy and not pleasant when grilled, broiled or pan-fried.

IMG_1973Too many people waste too much time trying to coax this lean, tough, economically-priced-for-good-reason cut of beef into doing something that it is not "cut out" to do:  be fall-apart, "pot roast kind of tender" and full of flavor.  I am here to tell you, marinating it will not tenderize it, braising or slow cooking it to "pot roast kind of tender" will not only NOT improve its flavor, it will render it flavorless, and, roasting it past rare or medium-rare will produce a product suitable for boot-making.   People who claim to making a great pot roast out of this cut of beef have never tasted it side by side a pot roast made with a fat-marbled rump or chuck roast.

So what am I doing with an eye-of-round roast?  As little as possible!

IMG_1985Start with:

1  7 1/2-8 pound beef-eye-of round roast

freshly ground sea salt and pepper corn blend

Note:  I always purchase the entire roast.  Halves or thirds are available, but, the smaller size reduces the amount of rare- medium-rare deli-meat you will get.

IMG_1989~ Step 1.  Remove the roast from its packaging, rinse it under cold water and pat it dry in some paper towels.

~ Step 2.  Place the roast on a rack in a large roasting pan, and season the top liberally with freshly ground sea salt and peppercorn blend.

Note:  I use and reuse a 20" x 12" x 4" disposable roasting pan.

IMG_2000~ Step 3.  Roast on center rack of preheated 350 degree oven for exactly 1 1/2 hours.  No more or no less.  Remove from oven.

~ Step 4.  Allow to cool, in pan, 1-4 hours, prior to slicing as thinly as possible and serving warm or at room temperature, or, refrigerating overnight, slicing, and serving  cold. There is no comparison between homemade deli and store-bought...

... & we're not quite done yet!  Two tips from Mel:

IMG_2014~ Tip #1.  The drippings in the bottom of the pan make a great au jus if serving the sandwiches warm. If not, keep/store them in the refrigerator or freezer and use the next time you're making beef gravy.

IMG_2372~ Tip #2.  I bought Joe a meat slicer as a gift. He & this Chef's Choice VariTilt (Model 632) will slice an entire roast in less than 10 minutes.

IMG_2062Don't forget a dollop of the best horseradish-mayo $$$ can buy:

IMG_2124Eye-of-Round Roast = Back-to-School Sandwiches:  Recipe yields enough sliced meat to prepare 12-16 deli-style sandwiches.

Special Equipment List:  paper towels; 20" x 12" x 4" disposable aluminum roasting pan; 17 12" x 12 1/2" cooling rack; cutting board; chef's knife; electric meat slicer (optional)

IMG_2416Cook's Note:  Want to learn how to make a classic food-vendor, street-food sandwich at home?  My recipe for ~ Sweet Home Chicago:  Italian Beef Sandwiches ~ can be found in Categories 2, 10 17 or 19!  To make these tender, mouth-watering, highly-seasoned sandwiches, I use an 8 pound top sirloin roast.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2013) 


Bruce -- The good old days indeed! ~ Melanie

I got a kick out of remembering the metal lunchboxes with the thermos included. I remember one in particular - a Hot Wheels lunchbox. It had a game on it with magnetic pawns, and came with a spinner. I always got in trouble because I could never go more than a few weeks before I broke the glass inside the thermos. Thanks for the memory!

Mary -- I roasted one this morning too -- it's out of the oven and cooling now. When I make hot roast beef sandwiches (posted here on KE as: Sweet Home Chicago: Italian Beef Sandwiches), I use an 8-pound top sirloin. They are melt-in-your-mouth tender. Past that, every now and then I roast an entire filet (tenderloin of beef) for a "special occasion" sandwich. Where's the beef!!! ~ Melanie

I did cook up a round eye roast lasHad a this AM. I will know more after I slice for sandwiches.
What is your "cut of meat" recommendation for roast beef sandwiches???

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