All about Cooking Roast Beef on the Grill

Grill a Roast like a Pro.

Thanks to a little research and years of spending weekends laboring over a hot grill, I am sharing what I know about grilling large roasts of beef. Unlike steak or small cuts of meat, cooking a big ol' slab of beef over an open fire continuously does not work very well in producing the perfect roast, unless you like: 1) very tough, over cooked and burnt meat, or 2) very raw meat with charred edges. Either way, neither sounds appetizing.

By searing the meat over high heat and then moving it to a cool area on the grill, these larger cuts cook gently and evenly. That’s because the covered grill acts almost like an oven, with the hot air circulating around the meat. Plus, the meat picks up an extra layer of smoky flavor it wouldn't get in the oven. This method also lets you cook a meal for a crowd out on the patio instead of inside a hot kitchen.

On a gas grill, this means turning off a burner; on a charcoal grill, move the meat to a cool, off-fire area. Cover the grill so the heat inside runs about 350°F and then check the meat every so often and make sure the fire holds steady. Using a meat thermometer like this one comes in real handy as you program it to signal you via the remote while you're doing something else, like finishing up all those sides in the kitchen.

Grill-Roasting in 4 Easy Steps

1. Season
     Apply a well-developed spice rub, like the one directed in the recipe below.

2. Prepare the Grill
     Heat all burners of a gas grill to medium low or prepare a charcoal fire with a hot zone and a cooler zone by pushing all the coals to one side of the grill. An oven thermometer resting on the grill grate (over the hot zone of the charcoal fire) should register about 450°F with the lid down, or you should be able to hold your hand a couple of inches above the grill for 3 or 4 seconds. If it’s hotter than this, lower the burners slightly or let the coals cook down. Brush the grill grates with a stiff wire brush and then wipe with a lightly oiled wad of paper towels.

3. Sear
     Set the meat on the grill (over the hot zone of the charcoal fire), cover, and cook until it’s nicely browned and easily releases from the grates, 5 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully during this stage and if a flare-up occurs, move the meat away from the flames until they die down. If necessary, squirt the flames with a little water to quench them.

4. Grill-Roast
     For a three-burner gas grill, turn the middle burner off and set the front and back (or side) burners to medium low. For a two-burner grill, turn the back burner off and set the front burner (or sides) on high.

     Move the meat to the cooler zone of the grill—an oven thermometer set on the cooler part of the grill (with the lid down) should register about 350°F—cover, and cook until done to your liking between 120-150 degrees (see chart below). If using a charcoal grill, check on the fire occasionally; it may be necessary to add fresh charcoal as the fire dies down. Allow the meat to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before carving and serving with the horseradish sauce below, chimichurri or your favorite glaze. - parts from FINE COOKING

As a quick reference, here is a standard temperature (internal) levels for roasts:

120°F to 125°F, (49°C to 52°C) = Rare
130°F to 140°F (55°C to 60°C) = Medium Rare
145°F to 150°F (63°C to 66°C) = Medium

Grilled Herb Roast Beef with Whipped Horseradish Cream 

recipes adapted from Josh Bousel
serves 6 to 10

1 -4 to 6 pound beef roast (I used eye round)

For the Rub:
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. 

For the Whipped Horseradish Cream Sauce:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons chives
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon each Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

In a medium bowl, whisk heavy cream until thickened, but not yet at soft peaks. Fold in sour cream, horseradish, chives, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes before using, or transfer to airtight container and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

To Prep the Roast:

Pat the beef dry with paper towels. 

 Using your hands, apply the Herb Rub by literally rubbing it into the surface of the meat as though you are scrubbing the surface.

Wrap beef tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours.

BEST ROASTS FOR GRILLING (other than tenderloin)

The grill-roasting method will work with any of these inexpensive cuts; however, some produced better results than others. The options are listed in order of preference from top to bottom. - Notes from COOKS ILLUSTRATED  / rating 1-3 stars

FLAVOR: 3 stars
TEXTURE: 3 stars
COMMENTS: This cut was judged "buttery," with bold, beefy flavor and ample juiciness.

FLAVOR: 2 stars
TEXTURE: 2 stars
COMMENTS: Though slightly chewy, this cut boasted rich, meaty flavor.

FLAVOR: 2 stars
TEXTURE: 2 stars
COMMENTS: A little tough because of its large muscle fibers, bottom round has a rich, somewhat gamy flavor.

FLAVOR: 2 stars
TEXTURE: 1 1/2 stars
COMMENTS: This roast packs great beefy flavor; but only if it's cooked to medium so the intramuscular fat can melt.

FLAVOR: 1 1/2 stars
TEXTURE: 2 stars
COMMENTS: Though its flavor is subtle, this lean, uniform cut won fans for even cooking, tenderness, and easy slicing. 



  1. Nice how-to Drick, I believe the only roast I've tried on the grill is a tri-tip.

  2. That really looks mouthwatering!! Cooked to perfection. Blessings, Catherine


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