Beef top round

Other Names: Whole: Fesa interra or controgirello (Italian), filete tierno or cara superior (Spanish), inside round, tendre de tranche (French), top round roast, topside (British), trimmed tip roast. Steaks: Breakfast steak, butterball steak, London broil, minute steak, round steak, round tip steak, sandwich steak.

General Description: The large half-football-shaped top round is the most tender part of the round (upper leg). The lean top round takes well to marinades and sauces, is well suited for stews, and can be pot-roasted, braised, rotisserie-roasted, or slow-cooked in a commercial slow oven or a home crockpot. Because it contains the largest single muscle in the steer, top round is often used by delis and restaurants for roast beef. Due to its dense texture and relative leanness, top round can be dry and mealy if overcooked.

Thin strips of top round are used for sukiyaki, the Japanese one-pot meal often cooked tableside. Thick steaks cut from the top round are called top round steak; thinner steaks are called round steak. Both may include portions of the tougher bottom round and eye of round.

Part of Animal: Top round comes from the beef round and includes large single muscle on the upper inner thigh.

Characteristics: Whole, the top round (with the “cap” removed) weighs 10 to 18 pounds. Round steaks vary in size, though they are usually large, oblong in shape, and fairly thin. The meat is dense and lean, with an even grain and relatively coarse texture.

How to Choose: Top round can be found whole or cut into halves. It may be tied or placed into a net bag to maintain an even shape. The first steak cut off the top round, adjoining the sirloin, is the most tender and commands the highest price. It may be labeled butterball steak or London broil. Look for steaks with the largest section of the main muscle and the smallest section of the secondary muscle that appears near the top edge.

Amount to Buy: Allow 6 to 9 ounces per person of trimmed meat. Top round shrinks moderately because it’s lean and because slow-cooking is more appropriate.

Storage: Refrigerate whole or half top round up to 4 days, steaks up to 2 days.


  1. Trim off excess outer fat and any visible shiny white connective tissue. Tie into a compact shape with butcher’s twine and slow-roast at 200°F, allowing about 6 hours for a 5-pound roast, or until it reaches the desired temperature.
  2. Remove from the oven, cover with foil, and let rest 15 to 30 minutes before carving. The temperature will rise about 5°F as it rests.

Flavor Affinities: Barbecue sauce, bourbon, garlic, ginger, horseradish, mustard, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, steak sauce.

from Quirk Books: www.quirkbooks.com