Smoked Roast Beef: Deli Style

April 22, 2020

This Smoked Roast Beef recipe will change the way you cook roast beef forever! Slow, smoke-roasted and sliced thin, you’ll want this for Sunday supper and then sliced thin on sandwiches for the rest of the week.

Slices of smoked roast beef on a wood cutting board with decorative text

What is Smoked Roast Beef?

This smoked roast beef recipe makes the perfect Sunday roast and the leftovers become the most delicious deli style roast beef! This method produces a perfectly pink, medium rare roast beef, packed with flavor and a kiss of wood smoke. Serve with mashed potatoes and gravy, a some grilled green beans and fresh rolls for a classic roast beef dinner you’ll come back to over and over again. 

The best thing about this roast recipe may be the leftovers. Chilled and sliced thin, this smoked roast beef makes the most unbelievable sandwiches. You are slow roasting a whole muscle, which means no food binders, no preservatives, no added sugars, nitrates, nitrites, artificial caramel coloring, or anything else you don’t want on your plate or in your sandwich. This is as clean as you can get, with more flavor than you can imagine. French dips or cold subs, you’ll never have better roast beef between two slices of bread.

Best Cuts to Use

In this recipe, I recommend using an eye of round roast. The tight grain of muscle and lack of excess fat makes it perfect for slicing thin and serving warm or chilled. Other great cuts to use would include a sirloin tip roast, a tri tip roast, top round roast, tenderloin roast, or a top sirloin petite. These cuts are similar in size and weight and are ideal cooked to medium rare and sliced thin. They will have great beefy flavor and a tender texture when sliced against the grain.

How to Make Smoked Roast Beef

You start by seasoning your beef roast. I recommend using my Signature Beef Seasoning (2020 NBBQA 1st place beef seasoning!) because it is the perfect complement to smoky beef. Next, you slow smoke your eye of round roast (typically 2-3 lbs) until the internal temperature is to the doneness you like. Make sure you own a great internal thermometer so you can track the temperature of your roast during this first slow roasting step.

We like our roast beef pretty rare, so I cook to 120 degrees F during the first step. If you want closer to medium, cook to 130 internal temperature. Medium well, cook to 145 degrees F. Eye of round is a pretty lean roast and if you cook it any higher than medium, you will have a pretty dry roast. I don’t recommend cooking this type of roast beef to well done.

For the second step, the roast gets a hot hot sear on the outside to add flavor and finish cooking. This is what gives you that gorgeous dark exterior to add contrast along the edges of each slice.

Thin sliced smoked roast beef on a wood cutting board

Tips for Smoked Roast Beef

  • -Once your roast is done, let it rest for a few minutes before slicing if you are serving it hot.
  • -If you want to slice your roast thin for sandwiches, let the roast chill thoroughly before slicing. You can slice thin with a sharp knife if you don’t have a meat slicer.
  • -Place your slices in freezer bags and store in the fridge for use within a week or in your freezer and use within a month or two. Delicious in French dip sandwiches!

Hopefully you guys will see how truly simple this is to do at home and how much MONEY you can save over buying stuff from the deli counter at the store. If you have any questions, hesitations, need a cheerleader or advice, leave a comment below I’m always happy to help!

More Ways to Make Smoked Roast Beef:

If you can’t get enough smoky roast beef in your life, I’ve got a few delicious recipes for you to try!

Smoked Beef Tenderloin with White Wine Mushroom Gravy
Garlic Butter Smoked Prime Rib Roast
Smoked Mississippi Pot Roast
Pulled Beef Chuck Roast

Smoked Roast Beef Recipe

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deli style roast beef

Homemade Deli Style Roast Beef

5 from 6 votes
Prep Time : 10 mins
Cook Time : 2 hrs
Total Time : 2 hrs 10 mins
Servings : 4 people
Calories : 321kcal



  • 1 2-3 lb eye of round roast


  • Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F with a hardwood like oak, hickory, or pecan.
  • Season the eye of round roast liberally on all sides with the beef seasoning.
  • Place the roast directly on the grill grates or in a roasting pan, and cook until the internal temperature reaches 120 degrees for rare roast beef.
  • Remove the roast from the grill and increase the temperature to High (around 450-500 degrees) or preheat a cast iron pan on your stove top to High. Place the roast on the hot grill or pan and sear for 2-3 minutes per side until the roast is nice and dark all around.
  • Remove the roast from the heat and rest for 10 minutes. Slice thin against the grain and serve. For any leftovers, allow the roast to cool until it stops steaming, then cover and place in the refrigerator until chilled (I leave it overnight). Once chilled through, slice thin and serve on sandwiches.


Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 141mg | Sodium: 127mg | Potassium: 773mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 26IU | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 5mg
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45 thoughts on “Smoked Roast Beef: Deli Style

    1. Hey Jane- I would recommend slow roasting in the oven at 225 and then searing at the end. This is called the reverse sear method and results in more even temperatures within the roast.

      1. that would be amazing. I just bought a traeger grill for my hubby for father’s day/anniversary and I am so excited to start using it

    1. Hey Mike- When I write my recipes, I always write the temperature because everybody has a different smoker. If I’m on my Camp Chef pellet grill, I’ll use the high smoke setting.

  1. omg…looks amazing. Will be trying this soon. & FYI I have a belly drying in the fridge right now to smoke tomorrow for some maple bacon.

  2. Made it today. It was delicious. Took it to 138
    on the thermometer and it came out nice and pink in the center. Used hickory but the wife thought it was a little sharp tasting. Will have to try another wood, (Bradley @ 230 took approx 3.5 hrs)

  3. My husband prefers well done meat. Is there a way to cook this so it comes out like Arby’s – done but tender?
    Also, surprised that it is not covered. I usually use a cooking bag for my regular roasts with broth added. Does the moisture cause it to turn out differently?
    I’m not a chef just a home cook.

    1. I’ve seen where they slice the beef rare and then sear it in a pan for those who don’t like it quite so rare, best of both worlds, looked wonderful when they did it on tv

  4. I love this recipe. Thank you for letting meat be meat. I’m gone monday-friday, home on weekends, so I cook for next week each Saturday. I get a 4 lb eye of round and make 2 lbs of deli roast beef using this recipe while the other 2 lbs is marinating for my 5 day supply of beef jerky. I usually cook in the oven and broil to blacken or get out the smoker if I’m serving more people. Either way it’s perfect every time. Thanks!

  5. This turned out so nice! It got a little more done than I wanted (Me getting used to a new oven), but even at medium/medium well, the meat was still so juicy! Thanks for the recipe with clear explanations.

  6. I was looking at this, I’ve got a 2lbs chuck tender I was thinking of smoking to 125, slicing, and soaking in au jus until its put in sandwiches. I like rare, but I don’t want others to see how rare it is. Any thoughts?

  7. I’ve been making this roast for years now, my kids all grown up and gone cone home asking for it! I use mesquite wood chips I think it compliments beef the best. Just my opinion. Serve it on baguette with fried onions and au jus for dipping. Amazing tyvm!

  8. Would it make a lot of difference to season the meat, wrap it, then let it sit overnight in the fridge? I want to try it… but I also want roast beef tonight 🙂

  9. This was amazing! I had to wait till my seasoning showed up but so worth the wait! So juicy and tender! I had a 2.5lb eye and it took about 2 hours to get to 115-120 @ 225 It was perfect! Served with a horseradish mayo .. will be making again! Hey grill hey my favorite smoker website! Thank you!!

  10. We put our smoker at 250 accidently and it only took about 45 min to get to 135 degrees.

    Is that because our roast was flat verses round?

  11. I just finished smoking a 2.5lb eye round roast at 225 with cherry wood pellets. Unfortunately, I thought it was going to take alot longer, but when I checked it at 2 hours… it was already 135 deg. I immediately pulled it off… seared it on my grill, put it in a foil lined pan, put foil on top, topped that with a beach towel and threw it in my microwave to rest. I plan to cut into it in about an hour or so.

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