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Eye of round roast beef is the cut of choice for this dish, slow-cooked in a vintage cast iron pan. Now, there's a popular method for making eye of round that involves roasting the beef in a 500 degree oven, then letting it rest and slowly cook for two hours after that. This is a good way to make a medium rare roast beef. But for this dish, I wanted something rare and dripping with blood. This requires more precise temperature control, and therefore we're using a more modern method that has become the method of choice for many cooks lately: the reverse sear. Rather than blasting the meat with heat in order to cook it, the beef is slow-cooked to an exact temperature, then seared in a hot pan in order to produce a tasty crust on the outside – but not overcook the meat inside. Thus, instead of a layer of gray well-done meat and a pink center, the entire meat is moist and pink and juicy, all the way through.
Tools needed: A probe thermometer is necessary, to ensure the meat is cooked to the right temperature but not overcooked. Also, a good cast iron pan is necessary for roasting and searing the beef.
Before cooking, trim the fat cap and excess fat from the outside of the beef. Tie the meat with twine to give it a circular shape. This will help with more even cooking. Coat all sides of the meat with a generous amount of kosher salt, plus spices for rub. Cover with plastic wrap, and let the meat sit at room temperature for an hour. This will help to marinate the meat and dry the outer surface.
Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the meat into a cast iron skillet. It isn't necessary to add any oil or liquid to the pan. Sprinkle or rub more spices onto the meat if you want.
Insert a probe thermometer into the center of the meat. Set the temperature for your preferred doneness: 120 degrees Fahrenheit for rare, or 125 degrees for medium rare.
Place the skillet into the preheated oven, and roast until the goal temperature is reached. (With a two and a half pound eye of round, this takes about two hours.)
At this point, remove the beef from the hot pan, move it to a plate or platter, and cover it with foil. Scrape extra bits from the pan, then place the pan on the stovetop burner. Turn the burner to medium and heat it for ten minutes, to get the pan hot enough for searing the beef. This rest period will give the roast time to do some carryover cooking, and the internal temperature will rise about five degrees.
Add a little oil (about two tablespoons) to the hot pan, and heat it for a few seconds until it begins to smoke. Sear the outside of the beef to give it a good crust. It is only necessary to sear the outside for about a minute, turning it so all sides of the meat are seared. The meat is already cooked; all we're doing here is giving it a crust.
Move to a serving platter or plate. The meat can be carved and served immediately.