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Salt-and-Pepper Roast Beef with Béarnaise Sauce

Marcus Nilsson; food styling by Victoria Granof

Servings: 8 to 10

This roast is perfect for the holidays, since it uses a brilliant “reverse-sear” method: roast the beef in a low oven first, then sear it on the oven or stovetop for a browned, deeply flavored crust. In between, you can focus on the rest of the meal. A salt-and-pepper coating amps up the savory qualities of the beef but won’t overshadow the buttery béarnaise sauce.


  • 2 Tbs. black peppercorns, coarsely cracked
  • 2-1/2 tsp. flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil; more if needed for searing
  • 4-1/2 to 5 lb. boneless top loin beef roast, fat trimmed to 1/4 inch, patted dry
  • 1/3 cup Champagne vinegar
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped shallot
  • 1 sprig fresh tarragon; plus 3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 12 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 560
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 350
  • Fat (g): 40
  • Saturated Fat (g): 22
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13
  • Cholesterol (mg): 225
  • Sodium (mg): 730
  • Carbohydrates (g): 1
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 45


Roast the beef

  • Combine the pepper and salt on a rimmed baking sheet or cutting board. Rub the oil over the meat to coat it lightly, then roll it in the salt and pepper mixture to coat. Transfer to a rack in a roasting pan. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 300°F. Roast the beef until an instant-read thermometer registers 110°F for rare or 115°F for medium rare, about 1-1/2 hours. Remove the roast from the oven. Let sit, tented loosely with foil, for up to 2 hours.

Make the sauce

  • Up to 2 hours before serving, bring the vinegar, wine, shallot, and tarragon sprig to a boil in a 1-quart saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Turn the heat down and simmer until the liquid is reduced to 2 Tbs., about 6 minutes. Strain the liquid into a small bowl and discard the solids. If you have less than 2 Tbs. of the vinegar reduction, add enough water to equal 2 Tbs.
  • Melt the butter in the microwave or on the stove over low heat. Put the yolks and vinegar reduction in a blender and blend until the yolks begin to froth. With the motor running, slowly pour in the butter and blend until thickened to the consistency of heavy cream, about 2 minutes. Add the chopped tarragon and season to taste with salt and pepper. If necessary, put the blender jar in a bowl of hot water to keep the sauce warm.

Sear the beef

  • To sear in the oven: Heat the oven to 475°F. Roast until 125°F for rare or 130°F for medium rare, about 10 minutes.
  • Or, to sear on the stove: Heat 2 Tbs. oil in a heavy 12-inch skillet until shimmering hot. Add the beef, and cook, turning and pressing with tongs, until browned all over and, cooked to the desired temperature, about 4 minutes per side.
  • Transfer to a cutting board. Slice and serve with the sauce.

Make Ahead Tips

The beef can be roasted and then sit at room temperature, tented with foil, for up to 2 hours before the final sear.


Rate or Review

Reviews (6 reviews)

  • user-6058008 | 04/12/2017

    This is one of my Family's favorite dishes for the holidays! It is extremely easy to make and it's an impressive dish. I don't make the Bearnaise sauce, as I personally don't like it. I serve it with cool horseradish sauce and balsamic caramelized onions.

  • LArcher | 02/03/2016

    Excellent recipe! I made this the night before I was to be away for a couple of days. My husband thought it was the best roast beef ever. I did not make the sauce. But the roast beef was excellent for sandwiches with roasted red peppers, pickle and onion.

  • suncountrychef | 11/05/2015

    I made this last year for a holiday dinner with friends. it was a great hit and looked just like the picture in the magazine.

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