So you like beef so you chose round steak or eye of round roast as a healthier option, than say a highly marbled roast.
The question is “How Do You Cook Round Steak?” You actually have several options including stove top, oven, and even the grill. Time until doneness will vary depending on the cooking method, thickness of meat and cooking temperature.
Round steak is carved from the upper leg of beef. It comes in a variety of cuts such as: top round steak, center cut, bottom, eye of round roast, bone in, bone out.
Round comes from a hard-working muscle of the cow and has little fat. With less fat, there is less waste. Since it is generally considered a less desirable piece of meat, you will often find it at a bargain price. The downside is that, if not properly prepared, it can be tough and dry.
Not to fear. This article will give you several options to make your round steak or roast moist and delicious.
Start with the basics and then customize each meal to your own needs, tastes and preferences.
I grew up on braised meat. Cooking low and slow, my mother always made our meals succulent and delicious. Braising is easy when you know a couple of tricks.
I usually start by carving the steak into individual portions to make serving simpler. A roast, of course, is left whole.
- After seasoning all sides, sear the meat in a little oil. Searing means heating the outside to form a crusty exterior.
- Add liquid: broth, stock (your own or stock in a box) or simply water.
- Carefully scrape the bottom of your pan to resurrect any bits of meat.
Remember you are not boiling this meat. The liquid should only reach half, or at most two-thirds, up the side of your beef.
Since round steak is usually only about half an inch thick, you won’t need much. If you are preparing a larger cut, like a roast, obviously you will need a bit more.
- Reduce the heat to very low and cover; leave it on top of the stove.
- Add some thinly sliced onions, garlic, herbs and root vegetables and you have a one-pan meal.
- If roasting, you can use larger chunks of vegetables and put it in the oven at 300 or 325 degrees and cook to an internal temperature of at least 165. Using a slow cooker is an outstanding option for braising a roast.
- Check it periodically just to be sure all the fluid does not evaporate.
After two or three hours, remove the meat and allow it to rest for 10 or 15 minutes or so. This will allow any internal juices to recirculate. Also remove any vegetables you may have added and make a gravy or pan sauce.
If you are not in the mood for gravy, save those pan drippings anyway. They will be your next beef stock, which I have found freezes well.
Sometimes the meat counter will have a cut called “London Broil”. This is not a cut of meat, but a suggestion for preparation. If you read the label carefully, you will notice that it is frequently actually “round” just like the roasts discussed here.
If you choose to broil this cut of meat like the name suggests, be sure to marinate it in advance to make it more tender. I usually just braise it.
Why should you consider marinating? It will imbed flavor into the meat and tenderize the cut. Since round is a tougher piece, it will help improve the overall quality of your meal.
To marinate you only need:
- The protein…Season with salt and pepper and any other spices you might like. I favor cumin, but have seen recipes that use paprika, nutmeg or cloves.
- Seasonings and/or herbs…For herbs you can use dry or fresh. If you are using fresh, try a heartier selection like rosemary or thyme. Hard herbs are those that grow on sturdier or woodier stems. Soft herbs are more flexible like parsley. Dried herbs have more concentrated flavor and you should use appropriate discretion when seasoning.
- An acid…With round steak or roast, I use Worchester sauce or soy sauce, each of which has a vinegar base. If you imbibe, wine or beer is also an option. (Pork does well with apple juice or apple cider vinegar. Chicken can take orange or other citrus juice or white wine.)
- A little oil…I tend to use extra virgin olive oil.
Close it all up in a zippered plastic bag or sealed container and refrigerate. You can marinate for as little as 20 minutes or for up to 6 or 8 hours. After that, the acid actually starts to cook the meat, even though it is refrigerated, and you won’t like the results.
Use the marinade as a prelude to your cooking method.
Whatever type of roast you are cooking, when slicing portions to serve your family and guests, be sure to cut against the grain for a less chewy portion on your plate. It is not complicated. Look at the top of the roast. See the lines going across the top. That is the grain, just like the grain in wood. Slice in the opposite direction of those lines.
Another tip is to carve at a 45 degree angle.
One of my favorite uses for round steak is beef stew.
- First, I cut the meat into bite sized pieces and season it with salt and pepper.
- Dredge the pieces in flour and sear them off. The flour will help thicken the stew as it cooks.
- Add stock or broth. In this case plain water won’t do. Water does not generate quite the depth of flavor. If you need to use water, add some dried bullion flakes.
- Add root vegetables, tomatoes (if you like), herbs like thyme or rosemary, and I always throw in a bay leaf or two to be removed prior to serving.
After searing off the meat, I will sometimes place it in the slow cooker. Make a roux in the pan you started with and turn it into a thicker sauce, scraping the bottom of the skillet to release those tasty bits. Then transfer the sauce into the slow cooker with the roast, vegetables and herbs. Just let it simmer all day.
Add a salad, some crusty bread or garlic toast and you have a wonderful meal for book club, family night, or game day. I have also taken the stew to pot lucks and people are amazed that I have made round steak taste so good.
Sometimes if I have leftover roast or London broil, I will dice it up. After making the gravy or sauce, I add the meat, diced potatoes (don’t bother to peel them), baby carrots, celery and bay leaf and cook until the vegetables are tender. I call it “pseudo stew” and it is a real favorite in our household.
Thin Sliced Round Steak
Your grocery store will sometimes package round steak thinly sliced. This is tailor made for fajitas.
- Take narrow strips of thinly sliced round steak and coat with either a commercially available seasoning packet or concoct your own with chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- In a cast-iron skillet or grill pan, heat about a tablespoon of oil and then add your beef. If using an outdoor grill, you probably want to coat the meat with a drizzle of oil first to prevent sticking.
Your meal will be ready in minutes. Serve encased in a tortilla with sauted onions and peppers, or over a salad. Ole!
Another great use of thin cut round is cheese steak sandwiches.
- Season the meat with salt and pepper and grill in a cast-iron skillet or grill pan.
- Meanwhile, saute onions, peppers and mushrooms.
- Add melted cheese and serve on slightly toasted hoagie buns.
Country Fried Steak
Admittedly I am a sucker for comfort food. Near the top of my list is country fried (sometimes called chicken fried) steak. The basic recipe is pretty simple:
- Start by tenderizing the beef with a meat mallet. This will break down some of the connective tissue that makes the meat tough, as well as thin it out for quicker cooking.
- Pat dry and coat in seasoned flour.
- Dip in egg.
- Dredge in seasoned bread crumbs. Use some Panko crumbs to give it more crunch.
- Skillet fry or carefully deep fry until golden brown.
The only thing I have not yet discussed is bone-in round steak. Keep that round bone in when you cook the meat.
The center is filled with marrow and is quite tasty. These days you may see high-end restaurants touting bone marrow on their menus as a gourmet offering, but you can fix it in your very own kitchen without the inflated price.
This article was intended to reflect the versatility of round steak and round roasts and the ability for you to serve nutritious meals at reasonable prices. I hope you have enjoyed the recipes and encourage you to comment in the space provided and to share this article on social media.