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Make Your Own Deli-Style Roast Beef

Make Your Own Deli-Style Roast Beef

Roast beef can be many things.  It makes a great Sunday roast, it can stand out as a main course, and it can make incredible sandwiches.  I love to eat roast beef in each of these iterations, but I would make it differently for each of these examples.  

As a Louisianian, of course my favorite way to eat roast beef is hot and on a po-boy, but this recipe makes a much better roast beef slice than what you typically would buy behind your typical deli counter.  Let me show you how I roast my beef to make amazing Po-boys that I serve at the Acadian Superette. We serve a thin sliced roast beef dipped in its own gravy. This is not a “debris style” roast beef.  A debris style roast beef is akin to a pulled pork meaning that it is served in small gravy soaked chunks. This a nice way to make a po-boy, especially when using venison, but I much prefer a thin sliced roast beef for my po-boys.

You can think of it as “deli-style” because it is sliced thin, just like in a deli, but most deli-style roast beef is never served with its own gravy.  Like most delicious dishes, this is made simply. It requires a large skillet or griddle, some fat, a nice top round roast, seasonings, slivered onions, and few beers.

Try out this recipe.  You will feel like a professional after you’ve completed the last step and made an impressive pile of beautiful thin roast beef slices ready for enlistment into a battalion of sandwiches.

This recipe is easily adaptable to larger or smaller pieces of beef.  My goal is to share how to achieve great flavor, no matter the size you choose to roast and slice.  If you decide make your own roast beef for sandwiches instead of picking up that boring, gravy-devoid, unseasoned typical deli stuff, I have done my job.


-5-8 pound top round or sirloin tip beef roast

-2-3 lager beers (*pro tip: use malt liquor instead, cheaper, funkier flavor)

-Two tablespoons salt

-Two tablespoons black pepper

-One tablespoon cayenne

-5 cloves garlic

-One slivered onion

-One slivered bellpepper (optional)

-Two tablespoons vegetable oil, lard, or beef suet


  1. Allow beef roast to come to room temperature
  2. Sprinkle the beef with salt, pepper and cayenne, coat evenly
  3. Brown roast on all sides in very hot skillet with the oil, this is basically the most important part of the recipe.  The reason why Cajun grandma’s food taste better than the rest of America’s grandmas is because they understand that properly browned or blackened roasts are ALWAYS better than the alternative.
  4. Deglaze the bottom of the skillet with some of the beer or malt liquor and then poor this flavor loaded liquid into the roasting pan
  5. Once roast is properly browned, smash the garlic cloves and toss them into a large roasting pan with one half of the slivered onions and bell pepper.
  6. Place the beef into the roasting pain, then toss the remaining onions on top of the beef.
  7. Pour in your beer or malt liquor into the pan to a depth of one to two inches.
  8. Cover the beef with tin foil and do your best make the foil secure to the sides of the roasting pan to get a decent seal
  9. Roast at 300 degrees fahrenheit in an oven for about three hours or until internal temperature of the beef is 145 degrees fahrenheit.
  10. When internal temperature of 145 is reached, pull from oven.

If you decide to eat this beef right out of the oven, I recommend allowing meat to rest for 15 minutes before cutting.  This will taste very good at this moment, but will not be as tender as prime rib due the cut of beef we have selected and the temperature at which we pulled it.  If you wished to make this dish more suitable for a rice and gravy or “debris style” you would roast at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for a longer period of time until falling apart tender.

Since I like to use this to make Po-boy sandwiches, I allow it to cool, then place in a refrigerator overnight in the same pan with the gravy left right in the pan.  I then slice the beef with a deli slicer. I make the cuts quite thin for maximum tenderness and then place all of the sliced beef back into the leftover gravy and heat it back up.  This makes a superior sandwich. If you attempt to slice it with a deli slicer while the roast beef is still hot, flavorful juices will be lost and the meat will not slice as well on a deli slicer.  

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