Pepper-Crusted Roast Beef

roast beef with pepper crust
Diana Rattray
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 3 hrs 45 mins
Total: 3 hrs 55 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
943 Calories
45g Fat
0g Carbs
127g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 943
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 45g 58%
Saturated Fat 18g 88%
Cholesterol 389mg 130%
Sodium 1437mg 62%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 127g
Calcium 64mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Beef rib roast isn't an inexpensive cut of meat, but it's so delectable that it's worth the cost, particularly when it's a special occasion. The seasonings here are simple — just a hint of cayenne and two kinds of pepper for some heat. Feel free to add a bit more cayenne if you are partial to spicy foods, or add about 1 teaspoon of Cajun or Creole seasoning to the seasoning mixture.

If you have leftovers, the pepper-crusted roast beef provides meals for the next three nights. The first night, you can slice the roast and serve it with mashed potatoes and optional pan gravy. The second and third nights, slice the beef thinly for sandwiches or dice it to make a tasty hash or leftover roast beef casserole.


  • For the Roast
  • 5 1/2 to 6 pounds beef rib roast
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • For the Pan Gravy
  • 6 tablespoons fat (from pan drippings)
  • Butter (as needed)
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups low-sodium beef stock 

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this roast is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Make the Roast Beef

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for pepper crusted roast beef
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  2. To ensure even cooking, tie the roast with kitchen string to make it a consistent thickness; otherwise, any thin, flat ends will become overcooked. Pat the meat dry with paper towels.

    Tie meat
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  3. Combine the salt, black pepper, white pepper, and cayenne pepper and rub it over surfaces of the meat. For best results, do this 24 hours before cooking, and then cover the meat and refrigerate.

    Salt and pepper meat
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  4. Remove the meat about 45 minutes to an hour before cooking to bring it to room temperature.

    Remove meat
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  5. Preheat the oven to 250 F.

  6. Place the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Brown meat for about 8 minutes, or about 2 minutes on each of its four sides.

    Place in skillet
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  7. Place the meat on a wire rack in a shallow roasting pan, fat side up.

    Beef on rack
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  8. Roast the meat for 45 minutes per pound for a medium roast. Check the internal temperature by inserting an instant-read meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. Check the temperature frequently as you near the cooking time until meat reaches the desired degree of doneness (120 F to 125 F for rare; 130 F to 135 F for medium-rare; 135 F to 130 F for medium; 140 F to 145 F for medium-well).

    Roast the meat
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  9. Cover the roast with foil and let it stand for about 20 minutes. The meat temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees while it is resting.

    Cover the roast
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Make the Gravy

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for pepper crusted roast beef
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  2. To make the gravy, drain the pan drippings into a saucepan and place it over medium-low heat. If necessary, add butter to make 5 tablespoons of fat.

    Butter in pan
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  3. Add 6 tablespoons of flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

    Add flour
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  4. Add the beef stock and continue cooking until thickened, stirring constantly.

    Add beef stock
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  5. Taste the gravy and season with salt and pepper as desired.

    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic
  6. Serve over the the sliced roast beef and enjoy!

    Gravy on beef
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic


  • The USDA recommends a minimum safe internal temperature of 145 F for a beef roast.
  • When checking the temperature, insert the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat. 

Recipe Variations

  • Budget-Friendly Variation: Buy the same weight of a less-expensive meat, such as eye of round or top round. Season it with the salt and pepper about 12 to 24 hours before cooking and refrigerate it until it's time to cook. This seasoning helps tenderize it. The beef is then roasted at a low heat, which allows the meat's enzymes to break down its tough connective tissue, tenderizing the meat. 
  • Herb-Crusted Rib Roast: Instead of just salt and pepper, rub the roast with a combination of 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, 1/4 cup of mixed-color ground peppercorns, and 3 tablespoons kosher salt. 

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