Deli-counter roast beef is often laden with salt, and the flavor of the meat gets lost in briny translation. In the main recipe here, bold ingredients blanket the exterior of a lean but flavorful cut—eye of round. You'll get a spice-rubbed, almost charred flavor that highlights rather than overwhelms the sandwich. The variation is a spruced-up beef tenderloin for ritzy, open-faced presentations—ideal for parties.
A high-temperature start forms a good-looking crust, while the lower temperature taper allows an edge-to-edge, rosy eye that will delight fans of a straight-ahead roast beef on rye. Be sure to use a probe thermometer rather than relying on time references alone, which are merely guidelines. The flatter the roast, the quicker it will cook. Find one with a consistent diameter for the most even result.
Chilling the meat overnight and slicing it thinly the next day gives the rub more time to flavor the meat. This is a great make-ahead dish for parties; serve on toasted baguette with horseradish sauce and arugula. Not only is this a surefire way to impress your guests, it's a simple appetizer that everyone will love.