Learn step by step how to make a smoked eye of round roast beef on ANY grill or smoker!
Take your roast beef to the next level with this smoked eye of round. Seasoned and smoked to a perfect medium rare then sliced ultra thin. You may never go back to the deli counter again!
Let’s get started!
An eye of round is a simple, lean, beef roast that is typically used to make roast beef for sandwiches.
Much like we dressed up our smoked corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day, we are going to take this simple sandwich meat up a notch by adding some great BBQ flavors, wood smoke, and getting the temperature perfect medium rare.
We are going to cover:
- How to prep your eye of round for the smoker
- How to set up different grills and smokers for a smoked eye of round
- What temperature to smoke your eye of round
- The best wood choices for a smoked eye of round beef roast
- How to know precisely when your smoked eye of round is finished
- How to rest, slice, and serve your perfect smoked eye of round.
Wow, that’s a lot…so let’s get smokin’!
How to Prepare an Eye of Round Roast Beef for the Smoker
Thankfully you won’t need to do much of anything to your eye of round roast other than take it out of the package and season it before you smoke it.
There isn’t usually much fat to trim off an eye of round roast, but if there is, you can certainly cut off the excess so that the seasoning penetrates the meat better.
Once the excess fat is trimmed, give it a rub down with a good high smoke point oil so that when we sear it later, the oil doesn’t burn.
Top Seasonings and Marinades for Smoked Eye of Round Roast Beef
When it comes to a smoked eye of round beef roast, or most beef roasts for that matter such as ribeye roast, you want to keep the seasonings simple and savory.
If you REALLY want to use a sugary BBQ rub like Blues Hog, one of our favorites for low and slow cooking, then skip the searing step at the end.
For our recipe below, we use a mixture of kosher salt, black pepper, paprika, onion powder, cayenne, and fresh minced garlic to form our exterior bark.
If you want a quick store bought rub with NO sugar, then try Bad Byron’s Butt Rub. If you read our recipes often, you will see we recommend this one often for sugar free seasoning.
We oil up and season the eye of round for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator, before placing it on the smoker.
This gives the salt loads of time to penetrate the meat and really flavor it all the way through.
Best Smoking Wood Choices for Roast Beef
For a big piece of beef like a smoked eye of round, go with something like hickory or pecan that will compliment the beef well.
If you want to keep it simple and straightforward, choose a lighter smoking wood like oak, apple, or peach, although these lighter fruitwoods may not impart as much smokey flavor into the beef as they might with chicken or fish.
When in doubt, you can always mix and match your choices/
Best Times and Temperatures for Smoking an Eye of Round Roast Beef
You will need to watch both your cooking temperature and internal temperatures carefully when smoking the eye of round beef roast.
We recommend setting up the smoker to cook at 225-250°F.
The eye of round is very lean and will cook relatively quickly, compared to a big fatty brisket or boston butt.
So we are keeping the temperature low to impart as much smoke flavor in the brief time it takes to cook.
Watch the Internal Temperature Closely
You HAVE to use a good instant read meat thermometer to know where the internal temperature is of your smoked eye of round roast beef.
Ideally you want a good leave in probe thermometer like the ThermoPro as well as a second instant read to spot check different depths and areas on the roast.
While we have used and recommended ThermoPro for years, lately we have also become big fans of the MEATER leave in thermometer.
It is extremely accurate and has an incredible 165 foot bluetooth range and works right with your smartphone so you don’t need to carry a separate controller around with you like many other remote thermometers require.
It’s got a great free app that is constantly being updated and even has an algorithm to predict how much longer your type of meat will take to cook based on cooking temperature, target temperature, current internal temperature.
It’s like a GPS for your meat!
Anyways, back to our smoked eye of round beef roast.
We are going to slowly bring the internal temperature up to about 125°F, then sear it as hot as we can for about 2 minutes on every side until the internal temperature hits about 131°F and then remove it from the grill or smoker.
You can’t do all this without accurate thermometers. There is very little room for error when smoking a lean beef roast like eye of round.
For spot checking throughout the cook, we are particular fans of this instant read thermometer from Powlaken because of its durability and affordable price.
So keep it handy and use it often.
How Long Does it Take to Smoke an Eye of Round Beef Roast?
A general guide is that most beef roasts take about 20 minutes per pound to smoke at 250°F.
So plan on a 6 lb eye of round beef roast to take about 2 hours to cook.
Then add in your searing time and about 30 minutes to let it rest after cooking it before slicing.
Unless you want all those delicious juices running all over your cutting board instead of staying in the meat where you want them, you need to set aside time for the smoked eye of round to rest.
Setting up your Smoker for a Smoked Eye of Round Roast Beef
Vertical or Offset Charcoal Smoker
Fill your firebox or lower charcoal basin with about 1/4 a bag of unlit charcoal and create a small hollowed out depression in the center where you can add your lit briquets.
If your smoker comes with a water pan, like the Weber Smokey Mountain, fill the water pan as well to help stabilize the temperature and add moisture to the cooking chamber.
Light a charcoal chimney about 1/3 way with charcoal and wait about 20 minutes for it to fully ignite. You don’t want TOO many lit briquests initially or the temperature will get too high too fast and be unmanageable.
Fill your water pan first, then add the lit briquets to the center depression you created.
Keep the dampers about 1/2 way to 3/4 open until the temperature is to about 200°F. Then slowly close them down until you are maintaining a temperature of 225-250°F.
This will obviously take longer on a cold winter day than a hot summer one.
Add 1-2 chunks of smoking wood once the smoker is up to temperature and put your eye of round roast on the cooking grate.
Plug your electric smoker in and turn the temperature to 225° F.
Fill the water tray if there is one.
Close the door.
Fill the pellet hopper with your choice of smoking wood pellets.
Plug in the pellet grill and run it through its start up process.
Once it is creating smoke, turn the temperature to 225° F.
When the pellet grill has come up to temperature, place your eye of round roast beef on the grill grates.
For searing the meat later, don’t forget to also throw on your Grill Grates now, preferably over to the side next to the meat to start heating up.
As we’ve said time and time again, Grill Grates are the perfect, and a necessary, accompaniment to any pellet grill for high heat searing.
Never used a pellet grill before?
Read our ultimate guide to pellet grills to learn why they are so easy and how to set one up for success every time.
Gas or Charcoal Grill
On a charcoal grill you can use wood chunks just like you would in a charcoal smoker.
On a gas grill you will likely need to use a smoker box filled with wood chips, or a pellet tube smoker filled with wood pellets.
Think you need a fancy smoker to smoke food at home? Think again. Great smoked food can be made right on your current gas or charcoal grill.
If you are unfamiliar with these gas grill smoking devices mentioned above, no worries, we have you covered!
Can’t decide which is best? Then check out our full comparison guide here.
In the case of a smoked eye of round roast, we would opt for the pellet tube smoker since it will provide you with a longer smoking time without needing to refill multiple times like a smoker box.
However either one will work just fine depending on what you have available.
Set up your gas or charcoal grill for indirect cooking with the burners or a small amount of lit briquets on one side and plan for your meat to be on the other side.
Later, when it is time to sear the meat, we will move it over to the hot side.
Once the temperature of your grill is about 225-250°F., place your wood chunks, smoker box, or pellet tube smoker over the coals or lit burners and once smoke begins coming out, place your meat on the opposite side.
Reverse Searing the Smoked Eye of Round Beef Roast
“Reverse Searing” is just a fancy term for searing your meat at the very end, once it is pretty much all the way cooked through, in order to get a nice crispy exterior crust that you sometimes just can’t get from low and slow smoking alone.
Once the internal temperature of the smoked eye of round reaches about 125°F, you are going to move it with some tongs to the hot part of the grill, some Grill Grates in a pellet grill, or even just a hot cast iron skillet.
You will need to keep turning the…well, round, smoked eye of round to get each side seared evenly.
Now, there are several ways to do this depending on what type of grill or smoker you are using.
Gas or Charcoal Grills
These are the easiest grills to reverse sear the eye of round on.
When the roast is up to 125°F, simply move it over to the hit side of the grill over the charcoal or the hot burners and crank the heat.
Use a good pair of grilling tongs to keep the roast beef continuously rotating and searing on every edge, about 2 minutes per side.
Electric and Propane Smokers
Anything to get a nice searing hot surface to move your roast to when its ready.
The hands down BEST way to sear meat on a pellet grill is to use a Grill Grate.
These handy aftermarket pellet grill accessories use the ambient heat of a pellet grill to create a searing hot surface on which to finish your meat.
Make sure to measure and choose the right size for your specific pellet grill.
How to Slice a Smoked Eye of Round Roast Beef
Rest it First
You will then remove the smoked eye of round from the hot grill, Grill Grate, or skillet and let it rest on a cutting board.
Do not cover or tent with foil when you let meat rest or it will over cook!
Let the smoked eye of round roast rest for about 20-30 minutes before slicing.
Slicing Like a Pro
Make sure to use a good meat slicing knife if you want those ultra thin deli style slices for the best roast beef ever.
We particularly like this meat slicing knife from Mairico.
The outside slices will be more done than the very center if you have people in your house who prefer various levels of doneness to their beef.
Maksure to only slice what you plan to eat immediately in order to keep the roast beef as moist as possible.
Best Things to Serve on the Side
You can’t go wrong with a flavorful jus to make a smoked french dip or a traditional horseradish cream to cut through the richness of the smoked eye of round roast beef.
Pile it high on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato, some swiss or sharp cheddar as well and you’ve got one heck of a homemade smoked roast beef sandwich!
All from a simple eye of round beef roast you smoked yourself!
Hope you enjoy!
What Other Foods Can I Smoke?
Looking for some more smoky inspiration?
So glad you asked.
Check out some of our other great recipes of smoked and grilled food to try out at your next outdoor BBQ!
- Perfect Smoked Prime Rib
- Smoked Ribeye Roast
- Hot and Fast Smoked Beef Brisket
- Smoked and Reverse Seared London Broil
- Smoked Corned Beef
- Smoked and Reverse Seared Ribeye Steaks
- Pellet Grilled Steak
- Perfect Grilled Hamburgers
More Smoked Pork, Turkey, and Chicken
- Smoked Fresh Ham with Dark Rum Citrus Glaze
- Traeger Smoked Baby Back Ribs
- Pellet Grilled and Smoked Pork Chops
- Spatchcocked Chicken on a Pellet Grill
- Smoked Turkey Breast with Cajun Butter Injection
- Spiral Sliced Smoked Hot Dogs
- Smoked Bratwurst with Beer Braised Onions
- Gas Grilled Bratwurst
- Pellet Grilled Bratwurst
- Pellet Grill Turkey
- Honey Smoked Salmon
- Smoked Oysters in a Garlic White Wine Sauce
- Smoked Scallops with Lemon Butter Sauce
- Fancy Smoked Lobster Tails
- Honey Smoked Tilapia
- Smoked Halibut with Garlic BBQ Rub
- Smoked Leg of Lamb with Guinness Marinade
- Smoked Lamb Chops with a Balsamic Butter Sauce
- Smoked Rack of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary or Smoker
- Smoked and Pulled Lamb Shoulder with a Turkish Spice Rub
- Perfect Smoked Lamb Shanks
Other Odds and Ends
- Smoked Gouda Cheese
- Garlic and Shallot Smoked Asparagus
- Gooey Smoked Sweet Potatoes
- Parmesan Garlic Smoked Cauliflower
Trash Can Turkey – OK, technically not made on a pellet grill or smoker but one of the most fun ways there is to cook a Turkey…at over 700 degrees in only 2 hours!
You’ve got to check it out!
Smoked Eye of Round Roast Beef
- Smoker, Grill or Pellet Grill
- Cutting Board
- Meat Slicing Knife
- Instant Read Thermometer
- Dual Probe Thermometer
- Wood for smoking (chunks, chips, or pellets). Preferably Hickory or Pecan.
- A Cast Iron Skillet or Grill Grates for a Pellet grill for searing (optional)
- 1 Eye of Round Beef Roast About 6 lbs
- 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil High smoke point oil like avocado or grapeseed oil
- 6 Brioche Sandwich Buns
Savory Beef Rub
- ½ cup Kosher Salt
- ½ cup Black Pepper
- ¼ cup Fresh minced garlic about 10 cloves fresh
- 1 Tbsp Paprika
- 1 Tbsp Dried rosemary or can substitute fresh rosemary finely minced
- ½ Tbsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Dried Thyme
- 1 cup Sour cream
- ¼ cup Horseradish
- 1 Tbsp Stone ground or dijon mustard
- ½ tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Season the Eye of Round
- Take the eye of round out of the packaging and trim any excess fat present.
- Rub with a thin layer of cooking oil.
- Mix all the rub ingredients and thoroughly coat the entire outside of the eye of round roast including the sides with the mixture.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to put on the grill or smoker.
Setup and Start the Grill or Smoker
- Start or light your smoker and bring the temperature up to 225°F. If using a gas or charcoal grill, only light one side and set the grill up for indirect heat.
- Add wood to the smoker using either chunks or a smoker box or pellet tube smoker placed over the burners on a gas grill.
Smoke the Eye of Round Roast Beef
- Place the eye of round roast in the cooking chamber away from any direct heat. Place a temperature probe into the deepest part of the roast.
- Cook about 2 hours until the internal temperature reaches about 120°F.
Prepare the Horseradish Cream
- While the eye of round is smoking you can prepare the horseradish cream sauce if you wish.
- Combine all the horseradish cream sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well to incorporate. Add extra salt as needed.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to serve with the smoked roast beef later.
Reverse Sear the Eye of Round
- Prepare to move the eye of round to the hot side of the grill for reverse searing, or, prepare a hot skillet with cooking oil or Grill Grate on a pellet grill to sear the eye of round when it is ready.
- Once the internal temperature of the smoked eye of round reaches 120°F, move the eye of round beef roast to the selected place for reverse searing. Rotate about 2 minutes on each side until it is fully seared on all edges.
Remove, Rest, and Slice the Smoked Eye of Round
- Let the smoked eye of round rest on a cutting board, uncovered, for about 20-30 minutes.
- Using a good meat slicing knife, slice in as thin of slices as possible.
- Layer on the Brioche Buns, and serve immediately with the horseradish cream sauce.