Homemade Deli Style Roast Beef

You guys have totally probably not realized this yet, but I’m sort of weird.

I know, it’s shocking. I seem so normal here on the blog. (Just indulge me, okay?)

The truth is, I’m a freak. Especially about food.

If I think too hard about certain foods, I can not eat them. Eggs, for example, are pretty disgusting if you think about what they actually are. There was an episode of Dexter a couple of years ago where his girlfriend/kill partner for the week explained in horrific scientific detail what an egg actually was to Dexter’s step-daughter. I’m sorry, but when the scariest part of a serial killer television show is the science lesson on eggs? Not okay.

Also, chorizo. It tastes so good! Do you know what it’s made of? Do you? It’s nightmare inducing, you guys.

How about deli meat? It creeps me out so bad. It’s meat chunks that have been chopped up and then reformed and glued back together into a normal-ish meat shape. Why not just leave it meat shaped and slice it thin? WHY, I ask you!

I can actually answer that question, if you’d like. They do that so they can use cheaper meat cuts, add all kinds of weird additives, and preserve the heck out of the meat with nitrates and nitrites. I’m not a nitrate/nitrite fan. Nitrates and ntirites? Taste like cancer. Okay, so maybe the don’t taste like it, but they should, considering that consuming nitrites/nitrates leads to an increased risk of cancer.

So, I started making my own deli meat. I’m all Susie Homemaker up in here. You can be, too!

Buy a roast or a turkey breast, season it, roast it, slice it thin. It’s deli meat, not deli “meat.”

So easy and tastier than the processed crap you get at the deli counter!

Big Kitchen was kind enough to send me a food slicer and things are even easier now. I can whip out a pound or two of roast beef in no time at all! You can make this recipe and just slice it with a very sharp knife as thinly as possible, but I do love my food slicer! It certainly makes things simpler and quicker.

Did I mention that I also like the price of actual, real meat better than the processed kind in the deli section? I paid about $3 a pound for this roast beef, compared to the $7-8 per pound of the deli roast beef.

PrintPrint Recipe

Homemade Deli Style Roast Beef


3 pound arm roast
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder


Preheat the oven to 475 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.
Mix together the salt, garlic powder, pepper, and onion powder in a small bowl. Coat the meat in the spice mixture and place the meat on the prepared baking sheet.
Roast at 475 degrees for 20 minutes.
Reduce heat to 275 and continue cooking until meat reaches the desired temperature (about 40 more minutes for medium rare, 60 minutes for medium, 80 minutes for well done).
Remove meat from the oven and tent with foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Slice as thin as possible using a sharp knife or meat slicer.
Store in a sealed bag in the fridge for up to one week or in the freezer for 6 months and thaw in the fridge as needed.


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21 Responses to “Homemade Deli Style Roast Beef”

  1. DessertForTwo September 5, 2012 @ 5:50 am (#

    I’m on your side! Deli meat is WHACK. I make tuna patties, ultra thin pork chops for slicing & left over chicken & turkey breast for sandwiches. Plus, deli meat is wayyyy salty. Let’s be all susie homemaker together!


    • Karly replied: — September 5th, 2012 @ 9:30 am


      We can be sister wives. You make the turkey sandwiches and I’ll make the roast beef.


  2. Cookbook Queen September 5, 2012 @ 7:45 am (#

    Roast beef is my husband’s all time favorite for sandwiches. I never buy it though because it’s so super expensive!!

    I need to invest in my own slicer, obvi.

    Also, this sandwich looks perfect. PERFECT!! Are you the stylist for Arby’s? You totally should be.


    • Karly replied: — September 5th, 2012 @ 9:29 am

      @Cookbook Queen,

      I was pretty proud of that sandwich styling. Thanks for pointing it out. I’m off to email Arby’s and request a job.


  3. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel September 5, 2012 @ 8:12 am (#

    Eek! Deli meats do tend to freak me out. AND I have the same problem with eggs and explained that to my mom this weekend and she’s like “why are you overthinking about eggs?” Clearly, I am adopted and secretly your child. However, even though I work in a deli, I still like the fresh-carved meats and this one looks bomb diggity, if I say so myself! Imagine pastrami. IMAGINE IT! Now drool with me and let’s eat.


    • Karly replied: — September 5th, 2012 @ 9:29 am

      @Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel,

      Um, can we be sisters? I’m not THAT old. 😉

      I’ve never had pastrami. The name alone is enough to freak me out and get me overthinking things.


  4. Beth W September 5, 2012 @ 8:18 am (#

    Would the same cooking times apply to a turkey breast?


    • Karly replied: — September 5th, 2012 @ 9:28 am

      @Beth W,

      It all depends on the size of your turkey breast. If you’re using a completely thawed boneless breast, I would roast it at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes per pound until it reaches an internal temp of 165.


  5. Beth W September 5, 2012 @ 10:34 am (#



  6. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes September 5, 2012 @ 6:11 pm (#

    You are awesome for making your own deli meat!! I feel the same about eggs – I just try not to think about it and that helps :)


  7. Joanne September 6, 2012 @ 4:33 am (#

    Once I learned what was really in deli meat…it was pretty easy to give it up. Homemade all the way!


  8. Elizabeth@ Food Ramblings September 6, 2012 @ 7:56 am (#

    We got a meat slicer as a wedding present, and I’m so excited to use it!!!


  9. Kim Stebbins September 6, 2012 @ 4:30 pm (#

    THANK YOU, Susie Hormel- uhm, I mean Homemaker! I never ever buy or eat “Deli Meat”. I used to have a bakery, restaurant, catering biz– we COOKED our meats every day. It’s not really cheaper when you you compare the after- cooked weight, but let’s face it– you end up with a far superior and much healthier product. Kudos to you! It’s just not that hard to throw a hunk ‘o meat in the oven!


  10. Jen @ Savory Simple September 6, 2012 @ 7:35 pm (#

    I love this! It’s so much healthier without all of the preservatives and crap they put in deli meat.


  11. Shauna September 9, 2012 @ 9:41 am (#

    Thanks for this post. You really crack me up sometimes :-) I LOVE lunch meat…. and I LOVE sandwiches…. and I’m gagging a little thinking about deli meat from the store right now. I am so making this for dinner this week!

    Thanks again, Shauna


  12. Multiquip Plate Compactor September 10, 2012 @ 7:46 pm (#

    yum… perfect Saturday lunch out in the backyard!!


  13. VanessaB February 4, 2013 @ 3:23 pm (#

    You, weird? I would have never guessed. :) I was looking for a recipe like this and came across yours and since I know you & love your recipes (and am even a bit weird like you) I”m going to try it this week. I’ll let you know how it is.


    • Karly replied: — February 4th, 2013 @ 5:36 pm

      Can’t wait to hear your results! :)


  14. VanessaB February 8, 2013 @ 10:46 am (#

    Loved it! This is definitely the best roast beef I’ve ever made. My kids said it’s better than the deli (hmm, isn’t that the name?) :) It has so much flavor and slices up so nicely. Thanks for this recipe, it’s a keeper in our house.


  15. DB Kolyr April 3, 2013 @ 10:24 am (#

    Hi! I’ve been doing the at-home deli roast beef thing for a while, came to the idea because of cost, wait time on market deli lines, and a bit of ick factor. Here’s what’s been working for me: four-ish pound top or bottom round roast, soak it in a plain brine for a while (overnight is fine, add ice cubes if your kitchen in warm, I put the pot outside if the weather is cool) slash the layer of fat (if there is one) rub all over with olive oil, oregano, black pepper, cayenne. Slice about a half of a medium onion into narrow strings and pack them on top of the roast. Pour a little more olive oil over the onions. Pre heat oven to 325, put roast in hot oven and cook for 20 — 30 minutes. Turn off oven (don’t open door!) and leave for an hour. Works for me every time, a thin brown outside layer, the whole of the middle is luscious pink-rare, and the onions are toasty-yummy.

    There. My secret is out. Sigh.

    I had picked up a folding Euro-style slicer at a yard sale for five bucks umpteen years ago. It’s absolutely worth the time to take it out, use it, clean it, and put it back in the closet in order to have heaps of the best deli roast beef ever. Bonus is slicing a fresh loaf of home made bread (bread machine bread counts as home made) before slicing the roast.



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