Round steaks are a type of beef steak that comes from the round primal cut of beef. They are typically less expensive than other types of beef steaks, making them a popular choice for budget-minded consumers. Round steaks can be cooked in many ways, including grilling, broiling, pan-frying, and braising. In this article, we will discuss how to cook a round steak. I’m focusing primarily on cooking it on a frying pan; however, I’ll briefly touch on other cooking methods.
The name “round” refers to the shape of this cut; it is shaped like an onion with rounded edges. Round steak is divided into cuts like the eye of the round, the top, and the bottom round. The less tender cuts come from the leg, whereas the more tender cuts come from the rib and loin sections.
How To Cook a Round Steak
Grilling is a popular way to cook round steak because it results in a juicy and flavorful finished product. To grill a round steak, preheat your grill to medium-high heat and then place the steak on the grill. Grill for 2-3 minutes per side, or until the steak is cooked to your desired level of doneness.
Broiling is another excellent option for cooking round steak. Broiling allows you to cook the steak quickly and evenly. Preheat your broiler to high heat (450 degrees Fahrenheit), and then place the steak in the oven on the top rack of your oven. Make sure it’s about 5 inches away from the heat source above. Flip it every 3-4 minutes until cooked to your liking.
Braising is another classic cooking method for round steak. It results in a flavorful and moist cooked steak. To braise your steak, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Season the steak with a generous amount of kosher salt at least an hour before cooking. It’s best if you brine a steak overnight. Heat bacon grease or olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat on your stovetop; once hot, place your round steaks inside and brown both sides (2-3 minutes) before turning off the heat. Add in a cup of beef broth and cover the pot. Place in oven for 1-2 hours, or until your round steak is cooked to your desired level of doneness.
Note: dry brining tough cuts of meat is essential since it tenderizes the meat. Since round steak is tough, I highly advise seasoning it with a generous amount of salt before cooking it. Brine the steak for at least an hour and if you have time overnight.
I’ll be using a top-round steak for a pan-frying method since it is tender and most suitable for pan-frying. It’s essential to have a heavy pan since cooking steak requires high heat. Below you’ll find the ingredients, equipment, and cooking instructions.
- Top-round steak;
- Olive oil;
- Kosher salt;
- Freshly ground black pepper;
- Fresh thyme;
- Salt your round steak generously with kosher salt, at least an hour before cooking. Leave it at room temperature. It will help to tenderize the meat;
- Prepare everything in advance. Wash the herbs and peel the garlic before cooking the steak. Have a meat thermometer and the tongs sitting on the countertop ready to be used;
- Pat dry the steak. Salt will extract a lot of moisture from the steak. Make sure to remove that moisture from the exterior of the steak with a clean paper towel;
- Preheat the pan. Place a pan over medium-high heat on a stovetop until scorching hot. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. You can use any other preferred oil that a high smoke point;
- Place the steak into the pan. Gently lay the steak away from you and brown on both sides. Sear 1 minute per side before turning the heat down to medium;
- Check steaks doneness. Insert a meat thermometer to get the reading of steaks’ internal temperature. The steak I’m cooking is an inch thick; therefore, It’ll take around 6 minutes to cook to medium-rare.
- On medium heat, flip the steak every two minutes;
- Halfway through cooking, add butter, fresh thyme, and garlic. Using a tablespoon, baste the steak with hot butter. It’ll help the steak to absorb all the fantastic flavors of fresh herbs and butter.
- Leave it to rest once the steak is cooked to your preferred doneness. Resting is essential since it allows for steaks juices to redistribute across the interior. If you cut into the steak right after it’s cooked – all of the flavorful juices will end up on your plate.
Note: take the steak out of the pan when it’s 5 degrees Fahrenheit lower to the desired doneness. Steak continues cooking for another 2-3 more minutes when away from the heat source.
Steak Temperature Chart
Here’s a steak temperature chart to follow:
- Rare steak: 125° F;
- Medium rare steak: 135° F;
- Medium steak: 145° F;
- Medium-well steak: 150° F;
- Well done, steak: 160° F.
Use a meat thermometer to check the steak’s internal temperature. It’s very reliable for less advanced home cooks. Make sure to stick it into the thickest part of the steak.
Another excellent method to check steak’s internal temperature is using a “finger test” method.
Here’s a video explaining in detail how to use your palm to check steak doneness level:
How To Buy a Good Quality Round Steak
When buying round steak, search for a grass-fed or pasture-raised cow. The animal has more fat marbling through the meat; therefore, the steak will be tastier and tender.
Grain-fed beef is very popular in the US. It’s usually less expensive than grass-fed beef, but it lacks flavor and overall quality. So when buying round steak, make sure to look for a high-quality source.
Before buying a round steak, here’re the most common names used to describe different cuts of round steak:
- Top round steak is often referred to as inside round or London broil and Swiss steak;
- The bottom round is often referred to as rump roast or round tip roast;
- Sirloin tip is often referred to as the knuckle.
Here’re a few buying tips:
- Look for marbling. Marbling refers to how much fat is interspersed throughout the meat. The more marbling a cut of beef has, the more tender and juicy it will be when cooked. Round steaks should have a moderate amount of marbling for optimal flavor and texture.
- Look for steaks that are firm, moist, and resilient to the touch. Steaks with a high moisture content will not dry out or toughen when cooked.
- Color matters. The color of a steak is an indicator of quality and flavor. Avoid steaks that have a very light or very dark red color. Instead, look for steaks with bright medium-red color with some blue highlights.
- Look for beef that has been USDA graded specifically for you to ensure the highest quality.
How To Store Leftover Round Steak
Store a leftover round steak in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Round steak can be stored safely for three to four days, although it’s best if used within two days. If freezing leftovers, wrap any leftover round steak tightly with plastic wrap or place in a freezer bag and seal entirely before putting it into the freezer. Frozen beef that has been properly wrapped will retain its quality for up to four months.
Round Steak Recipes
Here are a few of my favorite round steak recipes:
Why tenderize round steak?
Round steak is a tough cut of meat. To get the most out of this meat, you’ll need to dry brine this meat. Dry brining uses salt to tenderize the meat. It breaks down proteins making the steak tender and juicy.
Is Round Steak good for grilling?
Yes, round steak is good for grilling. Make sure to season it with a generous amount of salt before grilling. It will help to tenderize the meat. For grilling, it’s best to use a top-round steak.