The round steak is taken from the top of the rear quarter of a cow. Common cuts of the round steak are top round, bottom round and eye of round steaks. This cut of meat is not marbled with fat, therefore, it can become very tough when cooking. The secret to a tender and tasty round steak is slow cooking with added liquid, such as Swiss steak and braised recipes. There are many uses for this particular cut of beef, with ground round and rolled-and-tied roast being some of the more used choices.
The hind leg of the cow is the largest and most solid piece of meat in the entire animal. The round steak comes from this area of the beef and provides many recipes with a usually low-cost protein element. This cut of beef can become extremely tough and difficult to eat if cooked fast and dry, so round steak is not a popular cut of beef for barbecuing or grilling. The traditional uses for round steak involve cooking the meat long and over a low heat to break down the muscle fibers. This is also best if done while simmering the steak in some type of liquid.
In order to provide the best flavor results, many recipes call for the round to be browned in a hot pan until a crust has developed on the face of the meat. Once this has been accomplished, the meat is then transferred into a baking dish to finish cooking. Often, vegetables are placed in the pan with the steak to absorb some of the flavors from the beef. The steak is covered with some type of liquid, often water or beer, and the pan is covered and placed in a low-temperature oven for several hours.
Once the meat comes out of the oven, the juices are typically made into a gravy to be served with the meat and vegetables. By adding flour to cold water and whisking to remove any lumps, the mixture can then be stirred into the simmering pan juices until a thick, brown gravy develops. The gravy is seasoned with salt and pepper, and the meal is ready to be served. The round steak is best when allowed to rest after cooking. Usually, the resting time for the round steak coincides with the time required to make the gravy, so the entire meal can be ready to serve at the same time.