The Ultimate Guide to Barbecuing a Roast Beef

Roast Beef on the Barbecue
Roast Beef on the Barbecue

Make Your Dinner with Wow Factor

Barbecue season is a time for grilling, smoky flavours, and sizzling meats. While hotdogs, steaks, and chicken often dominate the grill, there’s an under-appreciated star that deserves its time in the spotlight: roast beef.

Roasting beef on a barbecue can result in a flavourful, succulent centre-piece that will leave your guests impressed and satisfied. This guide will walk you through choosing the perfect roast, preparing it with a delectable rub, and the art of barbecuing a roast beef.

Selecting the Perfect Roast

Know Your Cuts

There are several different cuts of beef that can be used for roasting, each with its own unique characteristics.

  • Rib Roast: This cut comes from the rib section of the cow, and is one of the juiciest and most flavourful. It’s often sold as “prime rib” or “standing rib roast.”
  • Top Sirloin Roast: From the back of the cow, this roast is lean but very flavourful. It’s a good option for those looking for a leaner cut of meat.
  • Chuck Roast: This cut comes from the shoulder area and is rich in connective tissue, which breaks down during slow cooking to create a tender, flavourful roast.

Size Matters

The size of the roast you choose will depend on the number of people you’re feeding and how much leftover meat you want. As a general rule, plan for about 1/2 pound of raw roast per person.

Smoking with Apple and Rum Wood
Smoking with Apple and Rum Wood

The Art of the Rub

Understand the Basics

A good rub can elevate your roast to new heights of flavour. The basic components of a rub are salt, sugar, and spices.

  • Salt: This is a key ingredient that enhances the natural flavours of the beef.
  • Sugar: Adding sugar helps create a beautiful crust on the roast during cooking. Brown sugar is often a popular choice.
  • Spices: This is where you can get creative. Common spices include black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper. You can also add dried herbs like thyme or rosemary.

Applying the Rub

To apply the rub, pat your roast dry with paper towels. Then, apply the rub all over the roast, making sure to get it into any nooks and crannies. You want the entire surface of the roast to be covered with the rub. Let it sit for at least an hour before cooking, or even better, overnight in the fridge. Letting the roast sit longer is also an option, an overnight in the fridge, wrapped in saran-wrap will increase the power of the rub. Just keep in mind that the taste of the roast is the goal not the rub!

Barbecuing the Roast Beef


Prepare your grill for indirect grilling. This means setting up the coals or burners so that there’s a hot side and a cool side. You’ll sear the roast on the hot side and then move it to the cool side to cook slowly.


First, sear your roast on all sides on the hot part of the grill. This will help lock in the juices and create a tasty crust. Once the roast is seared, move it to the cooler side of the grill and close the lid.

Cooking Time

The cooking time will depend on the size and cut of your roast. As a general guideline, plan for about 15-20 minutes per pound. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. For medium-rare, aim for an internal temperature of 135°F (57°C).

Rest and Slice

Once your roast has reached the desired temperature, remove it from the grill and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the roast. Then, slice against the grain for the most tender bites.

The rest of the meal matters too, baked potatoes and corn on the cob are great additions
The rest of the meal matters too, baked potatoes and corn on the cob are great additions


Barbecuing a roast beef might seem intimidating, but with the right cut, a flavoruful rub, and a bit of patience, you can create a truly spectacular dish. So, next time you fire up the grill, consider giving a roast beef its moment in the sun. Your taste buds will thank you.

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