Beef bottom round

Other Names:Cara (Spanish, flat), contra con redondo or cuete de res (Spanish), gooseneck round, outside round_, semelle or _gîte la noix- (French), silverside (British), sottofesa con girello (Italian). Roasts: bottom round, Manhattan roast, melon roast, rump roast, silverside roast, watermelon roast, wedge-cut rump roast. Steaks: Breakfast steak, eye round steak, Manhattan steak.

General Description: The bottom round is the outer part of the round where muscles are well exercised, so it contains tough muscles and a good deal of connective tissue. When the round primal is cut, it is placed on the butcher’s block with the outside on the bottom and the inside on the top, so these cuts became known as bottom and top round. Bottom round cuts are best cooked slowly with moist heat.

At wholesale, bottom round is divided into three parts: the eye of round, the flat, and the heel. The eye of round, which resembles a choice tenderloin but is much tougher, can make a good deli-style roast beef if thinly sliced. The flat is a single, long, flattened, and rather tough muscle and is suitable for stewing and braising. The popular rump roast is cut from the flat. The boneless, wedge-shaped heel is the toughest of all bottom round cuts because it’s closest to the ground and is more heavily worked by the steer. The silverside is a boneless bottom round roast with a silvery membrane covering the side of the muscle adjoining the sirloin tip.

Stew meat is lean, meaty beef, usually boneless, cut into uniform chunks of 1 to 1 1/2 inches. It is cut from tougher sections like the bottom round. Kabob meat is lean, boneless beef cubes cut from more tender sections of the steer.

Part of Animal: The bottom round is the outer portion of the round (upper leg) of the beef cattle.

Characteristics: Most of the bottom round consists of lean, tough, tasty muscles with a good deal of connective tissue.

How to Choose: When choosing a bottom round roast, look for one that is the best size for the number of people you will be feeding. For bottom round steaks suitable for chicken-fried steak, choose steaks about 1/2 inch thick with the least amount of connective tissue.

Amount to Buy: Allow 6 to 9 ounces boneless bottom round per portion. For pot roast, 4 pounds of meat serves six.

Storage: Refrigerate roasts up to 4 days, steaks up to 2 days. The thinner the steak, the quicker it needs to be used.

Preparation: Pot Roast:

  1. Combine desired seasonings and rub them all over the meat, allowing the meat to absorb the seasonings for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature.
  2. In a Dutch oven, brown the meat well in oil on all sides over medium-high heat. Pour off excess fat from the pan. Return the pan to the heat and add a small amount of liquid (water, wine, tomato juice, or stock), scraping up any browned bits.
  3. Cover the meat with thinly sliced onions and garlic, if desired. Cover and bake for 2 hours at 300°F, adding liquid as needed to keep moist.
  4. Uncover and bake 1 hour, or until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork.
  5. Cool before slicing and serving; or cool, then refrigerate overnight so that the fat congeals. Remove and discard the fat, reheat, then slice and serve.

Chicken-Fried Steak:

  1. Cut a thin slice off the bottom round and tenderize by pounding with a meat mallet, then dip in seasoned flour or breadcrumbs.
  2. Skillet-fry in oil at moderate temperature till browned on both sides, about 6 minutes a side.
  3. Make milk gravy from the pan drippings and serve.

Flavor Affinities: Bacon, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, ginger, mustard, red wine, rosemary, shallots, thyme, vinegar, white wine.

from Quirk Books: