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Bottom Round Roast – What it is, Where it Comes From, How to Cook it

What is bottom round roast? What part of the cow does this cut come from? Is it fatty or lean? Flavorful or bland? And how do you cook it on your grill or smoker? We answer all this and more in our deep dive look at this cut of beef.

Last Updated: October 20, 2021

Roasted and sliced bottom round roast on a cutting board

The Bottom Round roast comes from the well-known home of lean and inexpensive cuts from the rump and hind legs, where the meat is cheap and plentiful.

While many of us are aware and quite partial to a Rib roast for tenderness or a Chuck roast for big flavor, not so many of us are aware of the Bottom Round roast, but things are about to change for this guy!

It’s a great choice for those that enjoy a lean cut, and a lot of it! Being a big slab of meat means it can be used as a cheap and cheerful main meal or as a good base for sliced beef in sandwiches, salads, or even used as jerky.

In this guide, we will talk you through this cut, starting with where it comes from on the cow, how and where to get your hands on it, and a few of our favorite recipes.

So, without further ado, let’s get started on the Bottom Round roast.

What is Bottom Round Roast?

Bottom Round Roast isolated on white

The bottom round roast is a big slab of meat cut from an even bigger piece of meat. It is taken from the rear leg muscle that can weigh up to 32lb. Once butchered, it is divided into smaller ‘roasts,’ hence the name, the Bottom Round roast.

These huge leg muscles support most of the steer’s weight and provide the mobility that drives it around all day, and as such, it is incredibly lean and very tough in its raw form.

Its lack of fat and marbling means it will dry out easily when not cooked correctly, in which case it will go from tough meat to shoe leather in one fell swoop.

Bottom Round roasts are best cooked via slow moist-heat methods including braising, or even smoking and basting.

Do not put it on the grill like a steak unless you’re planning to re-heel those boots that have been gathering dust in the closet.

Where Does Bottom Round Roast Come from on the Cow?

Diagram showing the round primal on a cow

The Bottom Round roast comes from the Round primal, which is the upper portion of the rear legs around the hip and rump area.

This part of the leg has muscles that are connected by large interconnective tissues.

One set of muscles is called the upper round, and another set of muscles located on the outside of the leg that tapers at one end, is called the bottom round.

It is here that the Bottom Round roast is found.

Alternative Names

Just like most cuts of beef, there are few variations of the name. So to aid your search, here are the most common ones:

  • Bottom Round Rump roast, so called as it sits on the upper outside of the leg where the hip meets the rump.
  • Silverside, the British name for this roast, comes from the coloring that is apparent to this cut of meat when the silver skin is left on.
  • Rump roast, the name often given to this cut as a generic name for roasts cut from the same area. More often than not, the Rump roast will be a Bottom Round roast.

Your butcher should be familiar with the Bottom Round roast, but if not, just give him the Industry ID, which is UPC 1464.

Flavor, Texture, Fat Content, and Tenderness

raw bottom round roast with meat cleaver on cutting board

Due to its lean nature and lack of any discernible fat this cut can be very subtle in flavor.

With most roasts it is the fat cap or marbling that adds the flavor, of which this cut has neither. However, the subtle beefy flavor suits particular dishes, or which some people prefer in general.

It has a lovely delicate flavor if seasoned and cooked correctly, and when cooked well it will be just as tender as any other good roast.

Typical Uses

The Bottom Round roast is mainly used for roasts, cold cuts and beef jerky. The reason for this is it’s lack of fat and tissue which makes it easy to eat, which is ideal for sandwiches and great tasting jerky.

Nutrition

NutritionTotal Amount (Based on 3oz Serving)% Daily Value (based
on 2000 calories/day)
Calories1508%
Saturated Fat1.9g10%
Protein23g46%
Iron2mg10%
Zinc4mg25%

Buying Bottom Round Roast

The family of round roasts have long been a staple of the economic diet, and as such the Bottom Round roast is readily available at both supermarkets and butcher’s alike.

It is a huge and nutritious piece of meat that is popular for feeding the whole family so you should have no issues finding it in store or online when you place an order for your weekly shop.

Just bear in mind that as it is not considered to be a ‘quality’ cut as such, it will not be listed on the more expensive online meat markets.

Where to Buy it Online

Online shopping takes the hassle out of all types of shopping, and meat shopping is no exception.

A quick peruse of the internet shows that the Bottom Round roast is available at the following outlets to name just a couple:

Average Price

This lean looking son of a gun gets you a lot of meat for not a lot of dollar, which is fantastic whatever your budget.

At the time of writing, the price for good quality Bottom Round roast is, on average, between $6.99 and $9.99 per lb.

Portion Size: How Much Per Person?

Partially sliced bottom round roast with carving knife and fork set

The real question here is, how much can you, and your guests, eat?

With these roasts coming in at anywhere between 2 and 5lb. in weight, and at great value for money, you can eat as much as you like without scaring your bank manager.

On average a serving of 4 to 6oz. per person is more than enough when coupled with all the roast dinner trimmings.

How to Prepare Bottom Round Roast for Grilling or Smoking

The Bottom Round roast will come ready trimmed and super lean, so there is no preparation required from you.

If you plan to slow cook it in the smoker, then a good rub with an oil-based marinade will add flavor and help keep it moist as it cooks.

Braising, the art of cooking a joint via liquid and steam, is the best way to cook any tough and lean meat cut, such as the Bottom Round roast.

This can be achieved in a sealed pot with added liquid to steam and baste the roast as it cooks.

Another great way to cook it is super low and slow in the smoker, allowing you to baste it at regular intervals to replace the lost juices.

How to Cook it on a Grill or Smoker

Due to its lack of fat cap, marbling, and fat ribbons the Bottom Round Roast requires intervention from us, as the grill master, to add plenty of moisture as it cooks in order to keep it juicy and tender.

If grilled on a high heat, it will become dry and chewy and not very enjoyable, so we prefer the smoker or a braising method over the grill.

Because we love a good smoke of the wood variety, here is our guide to a great Bottom Round roast smoke:

  1. Remove your marinated/seasoned/dry-rubbed Bottom Round roast from the fridge and allow it to temper. Approximately 45 minutes for a 3lb. Joint will do here.
  2. Prepare your smoker with your smoking wood of choice and heat to around 225f.
  3. Place the whole roast into the smoker, preferably with a remote thermometer placed in the center, so that an accurate temperature can be checked periodically.
  4. After 45 minutes to an hour, check and baste with oil or more marinade to keep the roast moist.
  5. Repeat step 4 until the internal temperature reaches the desired level of ‘doneness’:
    1. Rare – 115° (Finished temp 125°) approximately 80 minutes.
    1. Medium Rare – 125° (Finished temp 135°) approximately 90 minutes.
    1. Medium – 135° (Finished + temp 145°) approximately 100 minutes.
  6. Remove the roast from the heat and allow it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Cut and be suitably impressed by this budget cut of meat.

Three Best Bottom Round Roast Recipes from Around the Web

Uncooked bottom round roast joint, on a cutting board with a few black peppercorns in front

Bottom Round Roast with Onion Gravy, by All Recipes

This recipe is for all you busy moms and dads out there, whether you do it in the kitchen or fire it up the grill, this recipe is easy and simple.

Leave it to do its thing while you prepare some ‘taters and veg, and then sit back as the brood devour it.

Check this simple classic out here: Bottom round roast with onion gravy recipe.

Thai Bottom Round Roast, by Just Cook

If you are a fan of a good Thai takeout, then you must try this slow-cooked roast with lemongrass and coconut rice.

The joint is seared in ghee after being dry-rubbed with salt, pepper, and cinnamon, before it is braised in a liquor made of garlic, ginger, and lemongrass. An absolute delight that smells divine.

Get this exotic recipe here: Thai bottom round roast recipe.

Hatch Chili Crust Bottom Round Roast, by Jess Pryles

If you are a fan of a dish with a bit of a kick, try this tasty crust recipe for a simple roasted joint that gets its punch from a mix of mustards, Worcestershire sauce, and paprika pepper, onion powder, and Hatch chillies.

If you think you can handle it, then check it out here: Chili crusted bottom round roast recipe.

Conclusion

So all in all, what’s not to like about this cut of meat – it’s readily available, lean for the harder to please eaters that don’t like fat and gristle, it’s great value for money, and it can be used in a variety of ways.

So, if you are looking for an easy and cost-effective way to feed the family or a large gathering of friends, you’ve just found it.

Whether you go simple or jazz it up with a great rub or marinade, the bottom round roast will deliver on so many levels.

Do you love this cut just as much as we do, or do you avoid it like the plague?

Let us know whether you agree with us in the comments below, and we’d love to see how you turn it into something fancy.

Hey, I’m Emma Braby, a contributing author here at FoodFireFriends.

I like to write about current BBQ trends, juicy recipes and to let our readers into tricks and tips that I’ve learnt along my BBQ journey.

I currently cook on a Kamado Joe Classic II and a Pro Q Smoker, and love nothing more than having my friends and family round at the weekend trying out my new tasty recipes.

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2 Comments

  1. georgehicks hicks says:

    Thank you. I found this site very informative.

    1. Mark Jenner says:

      Thanks, George. Always nice to hear!