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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. Who knows, it might become a new favorite cut of yours!

Emma Braby profile picture
Written by:
| Reviewed by: Mark Jenner

Last Updated: January 22, 2024

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

Bottom Round steak is a somewhat unknown guy in the beef world. Taken from the cow’s hindquarters, it is a lean and muscular beef cut. It’s tougher due to its location on the cow but offers a rich, beefy flavor. Best when slow-cooked, it’s a flavorful, affordable choice for beef lovers.

In this comprehensive guide we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Bottom Round steak. We’ll explore its origins, its unique characteristics, alternative names, and the most effective ways to prepare it and then cook it to perfection.

So, read on and pay attention to our insider tips to help you master this lesser-known cut, because it’s one to watch out for.

Key Takeaways

  • The Bottom Round steak is a lesser-known cut of beef that is flavorful but tougher in texture.
  • It is cut from the round primal, which is the top of the cow’s rear legs.
  • The Bottom Round steak is often confused with other cuts, so it’s important to know its alternate names: the outside round steak and the western griller.
  • It has a tighter grain and more fat than the Top Round steak, giving it a more intense flavor.
  • Cooks commonly use it in dishes like stroganoff, chili, and other braised recipes.
  • One steak weighs about 12-16 ounces and can feed two people with sides or be used in a slow-cooked casserole for 1-3 people.
  • Marinating and salting are recommended to tenderize the meat and prepare the steak.
  • While it’s possible to cook Bottom Round steak on a grill, braising it with liquid or sauce yields the best results.

My Experience of Bottom Round Steak

Like the bottom round roast that this steak is cut from, I freely admit it’s not one of my favorites, but it is a decent bit of meat you can do great things with.

I tend to buy it for either making jerky, or to cube up for making stews and chillis. I’ve only once served it as a simply grilled steak, and it was OK. And for me, OK is not good enough for a simply grilled steak, I want better! In my opinion, bottom round steak is just too tough and chewy to eat this way. There are better cuts to east as a standalone steak.

However, after experimenting with using it in stews and chilis, I’ve grown quite fond of it. Its deep, beefy flavor comes alive when braised or slow-cooked, making it perfect for comforting meals. And it’s comparatively cheap compared to other beef cuts, which is always welcome.

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 .

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

grilled bottom round steak with end sliced off, sitting on a slate surf.

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

Bottom round steaks 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 3 oz Serving)% Daily Value (based
on 2000 calories/day)
Saturated Fat2.2 g13%
Sodium35 mg1.5%
Protein29 g58%
Iron2.4 mg15%
Zinc4.9 mg45%

Bottom Round Steak Price

The Bottom Round steak is a truly budget steak that can be used for many different meals, offering exceptional value. At the time of writing, the cost 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

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

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.
  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 °F to 250 °F for approximately 6 hours, or until the 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.

For information on how to cook it more traditionally hot and fast, see our guide on how long to grill steaks.

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 IMPS/NAMP — 1170A, UPC–1466.

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:


The Bottom Round is a cost-effective and 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.

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Emma Braby profile picture

Written By: Emma Braby

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 learned 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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