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What is Bottom Round Steak? Where it Comes from And How to Cook it

Learn all about the bottom round steak including where it comes from on the cow, other names it's known by, nutritional info, where to buy it, and how to cook it on your grill or smoker.

Emma Braby

Last Updated: March 6, 2021

Raw bottom round steak, on a slate cutting board with rosemary and a butchers knife

The exploration of food is an exciting endeavor and one of our favorite pastimes. As red meat lovers forever in search of new cuts and unique experiences, we love to experiment. Especially when it comes to unknown cuts or those that are often written off as one-trick ponies.

From your experiments, you might have stumbled across the Bottom Round steak. Or maybe you haven’t?

So what is Bottom Round steak?

It is a somewhat unknown guy in the beef world. It is excellent for slow cooking or braising to get it super tender. But it can be used as a solo steak with careful preparation and some insider tips – both of which we will cover in this all-encompassing guide to the Bottom Round steak.

We’ll also cover off what it is, where it comes from on the cow, and of course, how you can cook it to perfection.

So, read on and pay attention to this unknown steak because it’s one to watch out for.

What is Bottom Round Steak?

As seen in our guide to all beef cuts, the Bottom Round steak is cut from a large piece of meat more often found as a roasting joint. From the hindquarters, the round cuts are very different from other more tender cuts.

Bottom Round steak has a great flavor similar to Top Round steak. But at an average of 6 inches in length per steak, it isn’t as big.

It also has a tighter grain compared to the Top Round steak, and as such, it is tougher and needs careful preparation to get the best from it.

Where Does Bottom Round Steak Come from on the Cow?

Diagram showing the round primal on a cow

The Bottom Round steak is found in the round primal. This is the primal found at the top of the rear legs, also known as the hip and buttocks.

This area’s muscles are lean and tough due to them being the most significant and worked muscle on the entire steer.

The Bottom Round steak is cut from the Bottom Round roast, which is found in the center of the round primal. This is at the latter end of the biceps femoris muscle to give it its scientific name.

Other Names for the Bottom Round Steak

The round primal is home to many cuts with similar names, and to the untrained eye, the Bottom Round steak can often be confused with its siblings.

Its alternate names can confound this if you aren’t aware of them. Here are the most common names to keep an eye out for:

Outside Round Steak: This name is technically incorrect, as the outside round is actually a different cut, but it is a roast and not a steak.

Western Griller/Steak: This is the Bottom Round steak with all the fat removed to produce a very lean steak.

Finding this steak isn’t as clear cut compared to better-known steaks. So if there’s any confusion, be sure to use the Industry ID to get the correct one: IMPS/NAMP – 1170A, UPC – 1466.

Flavor, Texture, Fat Content, And Tenderness

The Bottom Round steak has a tighter grain than its close sibling, the Top Round steak, and as such, it is tougher.

It will never be melt-in-your-mouth tender if grilled at high heat. But the flavor is more intense as it has more marbling and thus more fat to baste itself in.

It is this flavor that is the reward for the firmer chew. And if cooked correctly, it can be of medium tenderness with bags of beef flavor. Just take your time to marinate it and cook it slowly.

Typical Uses

They are typically used as cube steak to add to homemade dishes that call for chunky meat pieces, such as stroganoff, or chunky chili.

The Bottom Round steak can also be found in popular braised recipes such as steak and gravy, or Swiss steak.

Recently it has become fashionable to experiment with. Using different marinades and cooking methods to produce both a tasty and tender steak. All with mixed success.

Bottom Round Steak Nutrition

NutritionTotal Amount (Based on 3oz Serving)% Daily Value (based
on 2000 calories/day)
Calories1809%
Saturated Fat2.2g13%
Sodium35mg1.5%
Protein29g58%
Iron2.4mg15%
Zinc4.9mg45%

Buying Bottom Round Steak

This steak is often found in both butchers and supermarket meat counters. It offers excellent value for money, meaning you can fill your freezer full of versatile meat for a lot less than other cuts.

Although it’s readily available, it is often labeled under different names, so be sure to use the Industry ID mentioned above.

Where to Buy Bottom Round Steak Online

Online meat markets are proving popular, even long before the advent of lockdown and everyone keeping safe.

Many stock a vast array of meats. However, the choice can be limited on the extra value cuts like the Bottom Round steak. With storage space at a premium for smaller gourmet sellers, the lower cost items don’t have the same profit margins, so they tend to leave it to the supermarkets to stock.

Luckily for us, supermarkets are as adept at online deliveries as the gourmet butchers. And here are two online outlets that stock it:

Bottom Round Steak Price

The Bottom Round steak is a truly budget steak and can be used for many different meals offering exceptional value. At the time of writing, the cost per pound was $4.99 – $9.49 per lb.

Portion Size: How Much Bottom Round Steak Per Person?

Weighing in on average at 12 – 16 oz. the Bottom Round steak is an excellent choice for feeding the family.

With decent sides and accompaniments, one steak will feed two people quite easily. If planning to have it as a part of a slow-cooked casserole or braised stew, one steak will feed 1 to 3 people depending on how small it is diced.

How to Prepare Bottom Round Steak for Grilling or Smoking

A raw bottom round steak isolated on white
image credit: Beefitswhatsfordinner.com

The Bottom Round steak comes well-trimmed and ready to go. If you plan to cook it as a whole steak, whether slow or fast, a good marinade is always recommended to help flavor and tenderize the meat.

There is also an extra step that many ‘tough-cut’ pros recommend, and that is salting the meat.

This simple process of letting your meat sit covered in salt allows it to draw out the moisture, open the grain, and then reabsorb it. In turn, this allows the marinade that follows to soak deeper into the meat.

How to Cook Bottom Round Steak on a Grill

The Bottom Round can be a thin steak to grill and, therefore, easily overcooked. As much as it can be grilled like any other steak, we recommend a good braise with plenty of liquid or sauce to soften it for best results.

A good crockpot or Dutch oven is a must for this method. That way, you get an excellent cook and plenty of gravy to go with your steak and taters.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Remove your steaks from the refrigerator and remove from the marinade sauce you have them in. Allow them to reach room temperature, approximately 30 minutes.
  2. Pat them dry, removing any excess marinade.
  3. Preheat your grill to medium heat and brown the steak all over. That’s brown, not char, don’t overdo it. We aren’t cooking the steak, just adding color.
  4. Remove the steaks and place them to one side. Put your crockpot over the heat and sauté your onions in some butter until translucent.
  5. Place the steaks, onion, and 2 ½ cups of vegetable stock in the crockpot and cover.
  6. Cook on low, 200-250f for approximately 6 hours, or until liquid has reduced to below the steak’s top level.
  7. Remove from the crockpot and allow to rest while you make the gravy of your choice with the stock and meat juice.
  8. Add a side of potatoes, mashed or chipped, and some veggies, pour over the gravy and serve.
  9. Enjoy your tender, melt in the mouth, Bottom Round Steak.

Three Best Bottom Round Steak Recipes from Around the Web

Grilled bottom round steak on a white plate with a smear of sauce and some rosemary

Now that you’ve seen just how to prepare your Bottom Round steak with a good braise, here are some alternative recipes and cooking methods to practice and perfect. They will take you out of your comfort zone and show just how versatile both this steak and your grill can be:

Deep South Dish Barbecue Round Steak

This BBQ slow cook recipe is a great way to get the most out of your Bottom Round steak. The key is browning the steaks before you braise them.

Full recipe and instructions can be found here:

Epicurious Filipino London Broil Style Bottom Round

This recipe keeps it simple so that you can get a real feel for the kind of steak that a Bottom Round is when eaten as a standalone steak. The secret is in the marinade that really gets the best out of the meat.

Check the method here:

Fiesta Friday’s Lebanese London Broil

This recipe really tests the steak against some intense flavors like cinnamon, cumin, and sumac (lemon). It tastes incredible, but the real secret to the recipe is salting your meat as per our guidance above.

Get the simple mix of ingredients here:

Conclusion

The Bottom Round is a cost-effective but flavorful steak, just bear in mind that what you save in cash, you will spend in labor when you prepare it. That isn’t a bad thing, though.

Experimenting with this steak will mean you learn various ways to marinade and prepare the meat as well as multiple ways to cook it.

As always, if you need pointers, we’re here to help. Whether you’re struggling to get this steak tender or you’re smashing it, put your questions in the comments below. We’re always happy to hear your stories.

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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