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Best Roast Beef with Prune and Peppercorn Marinade

Best Roast Beef with Prune & Peppercorn Marinade

Renée Robinson

This Recipe is Truly a Game Changer.

I’ve written about this roast in the past, but I feel it’s worth addressing again because of how great it is. Before making this recipe, I hadn’t cooked a beef eye round roast in at least 35 years, as I’d found them to be dry, tasteless, tough, etc. But I trusted Milk Street when they said this one was different. They couldn’t have been more correct. It was a revelation. 

But it’s not simply a way to make a less costly cut of beef palatable. No, it is so much more than that. Ever since making it the first time it has become a family favorite. I even made it for the holidays last year. That’s how good it is. The roast marinates for 2 days. I can’t help but feel this is very important because after it cooks, the seasoning is noticeable all the way to the center of the roast. This meat is so fully seasoned, no sauce is necessary. The marinade, which includes prunes, is blitzed in a food processor and is nice and thick. It adheres to the meat as it marinates and never waters down. The prunes enable it to maintain that thick consistency. Lots of black peppercorns, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, a few anchovies, soy sauce, and ketchup are included in the marinade ingredients. But none of the flavors are predominant. They simply provide you with a beautifully seasoned roast beef.

Once again, I use my technique consisting of placing rolled up logs of foil in a foil lined sheet pan, topping them with the meat and roasting it. No cleanup of any kind is involved. And I haven’t ruined a metal rack in the process. 

Besides the importance of the marinade, the roasting technique is vital here. It cooks in a 275 degree oven until the temperature of the meat is 125 degrees. Milk Street warns against using an instant read thermometer because that entails opening the oven and a steady even low temperature is necessary to get the desired results. Therefore, I use a digital thermometer that can be inserted in the beginning, left in the meat, and has a readout attached to a disc that sits on my counter. I let the roast sit for a good 30 minutes before slicing it thinly and as you can see, it comes out beautifully medium rare. Every time I make it, it never varies, it’s always perfect. The marinade produces a nice caramelized crust on the meat and the flavor of the meat is truly extraordinary. 

As much as I like it the first night, the sandwiches that ensue with the leftovers are something I think about so often that I’m inspired to make the roast several times a year. I’ve made warm sandwiches with an au jus and they’re delicious, but my very favorite is what you see here – Cold, very thinly sliced roast beef with lettuce, red onion, and horseradish sauce.

Milk Street has a recipe for the sauce using fresh horseradish. I don’t often encounter the fresh stuff, so I simply mix sour cream with prepared horseradish, a little white vinegar, a drop or two of Worcestershire sauce, and plenty of black pepper. I don’t bother measuring anything for this. I just adjust for seasoning, etc. as I go along. I serve it on good bread and this becomes a sandwich of my dreams. 

Whether your favorite way of enjoying this is to serve it warm with appropriate sides, or cold on a sandwich, I highly encourage you to give it a try. 

Recipe Reprinted with Permission from Milk Street.

Best Roast Beef with Prune & Peppercorn Marinade

Recipe by Renée Robinson



Beef Eye Round Roast Marinated in Prunes, Peppercorns and Herbs

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  • 8 ounces pitted prunes, about 1 1/2 cups

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns

  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh rosemary

  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme

  • 3 oil-packed anchovy fillets

  • Kosher salt

  • 5 - 6 pound beef eye round roast, trimmed of silver skin


  • In a food processor, blend the prunes, soy sauce, ketchup, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme, anchovies, and 4 teaspoons salt until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to a 2 gallon ziplock bag. Poke the roast all over with a fork (I use a metal skewer), then place in the bag. Turn to coat, then seal the bag and refrigerate for 48 hours.
  • Heat the oven to 275 degrees with a rack in the center position. Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Remove the roast from the bag and transfer to the rack. (I roll up logs of foil and set the roast on top of the logs inside a foil lined baking tray). Discard any marinade remaining in the bag and brush any marinade clinging to the roast’s surface into an even coating. Roast until the center of the meat registers 125 degrees, about 1 3/4 hours to 2 hours.
  • Transfer the meat to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 30 minutes. (I do not tent the meat as I find this holds in too much heat and can cause the roast to continue to cook too long.) Thinly slice and serve with horseradish sauce, if desired. Enjoy!


  • Half Sheet Pan


  • Recipe Reprinted with Permission from Milk Street.

6 Responses

    1. OMG! It looks so good!! I’m so happy you loved it, too. It’s a favorite here in my home. Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed it. You are so very welcome!

  1. Renee, when you said this dish is a game-changer, you weren’t kidding! The 48-hour marinade seasoned the meat so thoroughly that as I ate it, I forgot to use the horseradish sauce that I had set out.

    Also, your instruction to use aluminum foil “logs” to suspend the roast in the pan for more even cooking was genius! And did I mention that by only having to use one aluminum foil-covered pan, cleanup was a breeze?!

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

    1. Sherman, I love when someone else enjoys a recipe as much as I do. In this case, if the roast beef is sliced very thinly, I don’t think you can get much better. And I hear you loud and clear about the foil logs. No cleanup is one of the best phrases in the English language. Lol!

  2. Fabulous recipe. I scale it down and use it with pork tenderloin. Makes the base for yummy Cuban sandwiches.

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