Eye Of Round Steak - What is it? How do you cook it?

Written in 2024
by Adam

    So you go to the market and come across this ridiculously affordable boneless steak cut that you've never seen before. You might feel tempted to pick it up since the price is so low, but are wondering if there's any quality in this cut of beef? Well, I'm here to tell you that yes! There most definitely is something special about eye round steak.

    Whether you're looking for a new steak to try, or just wondering what this cut of meat is and how to cook it, keep reading as we explain everything about the eye round steak!

    What Is the Eye of the Round Steak?

    The Eye Of Round Steak, also known as the eye of round roast. In the UK, it's popularly known as the Beef Silverside. In the US, it is known as a Round Tip or Top Butt Roast.

    Where Does The Eye of Round Steak Come From?

    This steak comes from the rear leg of a beef animal looking at it from behind. The section of meat is right above the shank and below the rump (round) and is part of the primal round. This part has a lot of muscles, the muscle where the eye of the round steak comes from is called semitendinosus, and it's used as an extension of the hip when the cow moves.

    Due to the mass amount of muscle and very little fat, the meat cut from this area tends to be very lean and tough and when not poorly cooked it becomes tougher.

    Meat Quality: Fat Content, Tenderness and Flavour

    The eye round steak is a very lean cut of meat and as such it has little marbling, which means the fat content in this beef cut is extremely low.

    As previously mentioned, due to there being so much muscle action through all those muscles with not too much fat surrounding them - they can become tough when cooked poorly. However, with a bit of proper cooking, they turn out firm but moist with a medium concentrated beefy flavour.

    It's boneless, which makes it possible to prepare it in numerous ways.

    Portion Size per Person

    A typically cut is sold weighing 170-220 grams (6 to 8oz) ideal for a single serving. It's round, 10-15cms (4-6 inches) wide with a thickness of 1-2.5 cm (1/2 inch to 1 inch). Sometimes it's sold when cut in half and not in its round shape.

    Nutritional Facts:

    According to USDA, it's a rich source of Protein, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Zinc, and Selenium; and a good source of Riboflavin, Phosphorus, and Choline.

    Below is a breakdown of the major nutrients in an 85g(3oz) serving. With the percentage based on daily value intake of a 2000 calorie diet. If your recommended calorie intake is different, then you need to make the appropriate adjustments.

    NutritionTotal Amount(Per 3oz)Percentage Daily Value(Based on a 2000 daily calorie intake)
    Calories 130g7%
    Saturated Fat1.2g8%
    Iron1.57 mg10%
    Sodium55 mg2.6%
    Zinc3.72 mg 35%

    Cost Of A Eye of Round Steak Cut

    The cost per kg is as low as £9.40, making it the most affordable beef cut.

    How to Prepare The Eye of Round Steak For Cooking

    The eye round steak is considered to be poor quality meat due to its toughness and bland flavour.

    The best way around this problem is by taking time to prepare it properly before cooking by first tenderizing the meat. There are several ways to do this:

    1. Use a meat tenderizer mallet

    Put the steak in a sturdy ziplock bag and give it a good mash. This will break down some tough fibres, resulting in more tender meat.

    2. Use an acid-based marinade for a minimum of 24 hours

    This will make it even more tender than using the mallet. To make a marinade, you will need:

    • Acid from citrus or vinegar will break down the fibres and connective tissues to make them more tender.
    • Your favourite herbs and spices, you can be as creative as you like, but the most common ingredients are salt, pepper, garlic cloves crushed.
    • Include a small amount of fat, which helps keep the meat moist and add flavour during cooking. The best fats include beef tallow (fat rendered from raw beef), lard (pork fat), butter or ghee clarified butter) all of which contain high levels of saturated fat.
    • A sweetener, like brown sugar or honey, will enhance the flavour and lessen the acidity.

    Generally, the marinade is made up of 60% oil with 40% vinegar or lemon juice. However, you can reduce the percentage to 50/50 if you want a stronger flavour and longer tenderizing process.

    Mix together all these ingredients to make the marinade. Pierce the steak and put it in a ziplock bag and pour over half of the marinade you just made, seal it up so no air is left inside then put it back into the fridge for 24 hours turning occasionally during this time.

    3. Sauces like Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, or barbecue sauce

    These will add flavour to the meat and act as a tenderizer.

    To use these sauces you need to rub them on both sides of the steak prior to cooking, leave for at least an hour before cooking, so it has time to soak in. You can also marinate overnight if desired but remember not too long otherwise your steak will become very mushy.

    Preparation Tips: 

    Make sure that when you are preparing any beef cut that is tough like this one - all ingredients used for preparation are cold.

    This will prevent the meat from being cooked inconsistently and becoming tough. 

    After 24 hours take out your meat from the refrigerator and let your eye of round steak sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking allowing the meat to come close to reaching room temperature evenly throughout keeping its shape. This step is important if you want an even cook on both sides without any cold spots where bacteria would be most likely develop.

    3 Easy Ways To Cook A Eye of Round Steak

    Before you start keep in mind that the eye of round steak has the tendency to dry out easily so needs care when cooking not to cook it for too long or too high heat that would dry it out even further making this cut almost impossible to chew through.

    1. Baking Eye of Round Steak

    Remove the marinated meat from your ziplock bag, pat dry with a paper towel.

    Preheat the oven to 350-400 °F (180-200 °C) and put your eye of round steak on a wire rack in a baking sheet.

    Bake for 25 minutes, remove from heat then let it cool down before cutting across the grain into thin slices against the natural muscle fibres, which will make it tender.

    Baking is an excellent way to cook this cut when you want uniform results that are juicy inside but crispy outside.

    However, if you overcook this cut there's no way to bring back any moisture lost during cooking, so do not test doneness by pressing or poking at meat while it’s still hot because juices might come out making it appear more cooked than actually what it is.

    How Long Does It Take to Bake Eye of Round Steak in the Oven?

    Description when doneLooks deep red and very moistLooks pink and moist, starting to firm up more than rare meatLightly browned with just a trace of pink in the centre or sometimes all reddish-brown throughout when cooked by higher heats such as grillingFirm and moist but not quite as pinkLittle to no pink, mostly browned throughout with a dry surface and edges that are beginning to shrink or separate from the lean meat
    Temperature 57 °C  to 61 °C63 °C to 68 °C71° C - 74° C76°C or higher78° C to 83° C 
    Cooking time 35 to 38 min35 to 45 min45 to 53 min45 to 60 min55 to 68 min

    2. How to Grill Eye of Round Steak

    The best cut of meat for grilling is the eye of round steak because it's naturally lean. Just ensure you request thick cuts for this, as thinner cuts will cook too quickly and become dry.

    Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, around 200 °C (400 °F). If you are using charcoal, leave some on one side, so there is a hot area and cooler area where you can move the steaks without them burning.

    Take out your marinated beef from a ziplock bag, pat dry with a paper towel as the cooking temperatures required are medium, and any excess moisture will lower the heat level and lengthen the cooking time.

    Season with salt/pepper or spices that complement this type of cooking, like garlic powder or onion powder (optional).

    When grilling, it is advised to use a 2-zone cooking area on your grill. One for searing and the other for heating. Another thing, have a thermometer with you, preferably an instant-read one.

    Place the steaks on the grill's indirect heat side and turn them frequently for even cooking, checking to verify that the temperature is about 52C (125F) for medium-rare.

    Move them to the hot side of the grill and sear for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until they reach a temperature of 57C (135F). Note that excess juices get burnt onto the grill and end up creating a bitter taste. 

    Take off and let them rest for at least 30 minutes before cutting. This resting period is important as it keeps the juices from spilling out all over your plate when you cut into your steak.

    Slice the steaks across the grain and serve.

    If there are any leftovers, refrigerate immediately. Place in a covered container or zip lock bag to prevent air exposure that will dry meat, making it less tender and tasty than how this delicious beef should be! Keeps up to 48 hours, but it’s best if eaten within 24 hours after grilling.

    3. Use a Slow Cooker

    Using a slow cooker to cook your eye of round steak is another option if you do not have time to stand over a stove.

    Take out the marinated meat from the ziplock bag, pat dry with a paper towel.

    Season meat and place it at the bottom of the pot, then pour water or any flavourful liquid like beef broth until it's halfway up.

    Chop up the vegetables you are going to use for your dish. At this point, only add vegetables that require the same cooking time as your beef. If they take a shorter time, you can add them later otherwise, they will overcook.

    Cook in a low-heat setting for about seven hours or more, depending on how well done you want your steak cooked.

    This cooking method requires minimal supervision, making it perfect when working all day long! It's best not to open the lid while cooking unless necessary as humidity will escape from a crockpot every time opening the door let steam out which lengthens cooking times, so try avoiding that whenever possible. 

    Other Recipe Ideas...

    Eye of round steak is boneless and affordable. These two things make it an excellent candidate for numerous recipes.

    You can find these recipes on popular food blogs, Pinterest or cooking forums. And since it's also affordable, don't be afraid to experiment!

    In Summary:

    The eye of round steak is a very tough cut, so it requires a bit of preparation before cooking to make it tender and flavourful.

    Apart from the three listed cooking methods, it's perfect for numerous cooking methods.

    Have you tried it before? If so, let me know what you think about this meat by leaving comments below!

    Possible FAQs

    How do I cook an eye of round steak to make it tender?

    Tenderize the meat before cooking. You can use a meat tenderizing smaller, an acid-based marinade or cook the meat in a slow cooker.

    Is eye of round steak a good cut of meat?

    Yes, it is a good cut of meat depending on how you cook it. It's affordable and has very little fat which makes the eye round steak an excellent candidate for cooking methods such as grilling or slow cooker recipes.

    Written by Adam

    Adam is the creator of the SmokeGuys website, running it since 2016. Hater of coriander, lover of all things meat... Adam currently works in marketing with a dream of being able to make food his full-time 'job' in the longer term.

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