Re-Purpose Your Roast in Just Minutes
Bottom round roast comes from the hind leg of the steer, and is one of the most economical beef cuts. Purchasing a bottom round roast and slicing it up into steaks yourself can save you a lot of money over buying steaks pre-cut. This cut of beef is boneless, so you only need a sharp knife to cut the steaks, rather than a bone saw. The number of steaks you can get from a single roast depends on the size of the roast and the desired thickness for each steak.
Cutting the Steaks
Before you begin, clear the space around your cutting board and wash it down. There's a strong likelihood that at some point the beef will make contact with your work surface, and you won't want to risk contaminating the beef with any microorganisms that might be present. Wash your hands as well, for the same reason, and then follow these steps:
Trim any hard fat from the outside of the roast, but leave soft fat on to help flavor this lean beef cut. A boning knife with a long, skinny blade works well for trimming fat.
Set the bottom round roast on a cutting board with the meat grain running left to right. In most cases, the bottom round roast is cylindrical, so the length should run left to right with a long side facing you. If the roast is more square, you can't rely on the shape to know which direction to cut, so check the direction of the meat fibers in the roast.
Cut the roast horizontally from end to end to the desired thickness for the steaks, cutting against the grain. The thickness depends on your preference, but avoid thin cuts with this somewhat tough beef cut. A 1-1/2 to 2-inch thick steak works well because it's thick enough that the outside has enough time to cook and develop a brown crust without overcooking the inside. If you go much thicker than that, you risk burning the outside before the inside reaches the desired temperature.
Continue, until you've sliced the entire roast into individual steaks.
Using Your Steaks
It's important to recognize that steaks cut from a bottom round aren't suitable for just slapping on the grill. The round is a lean and relatively tough cut, and it works best when it's slow-roasted or slow-cooked in liquid - a technique called braising -- until it's fork-tender. Alternatively you can cut your steaks further, slicing them across the grain into thin strips for grilling or stir-frying, or into cubes for kebabs.
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- To better understand the direction to cut a beef roast, think about the stringiness of roast beef, which is often easier to see than when observing raw beef. Instead of cutting in the same direction, cut across the grain with a cut perpendicular to the direction of the string mean.
A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.