Not all steaks are created equal, which is why some are much higher in price than others. The eye of round roast is one of the less inexpensive cuts, especially compared to popular options like sirloin, strip, ribeye, and filet mignon.
However, steak enthusiasts know that a more affordable steak doesn’t always mean that it’s not worthy of the dinner plate. A round steak works perfectly with a roasting pan, sous vide bag, or other cooking methods that keep it tender and flavorful.
What is Eye of Round Steak?
The eye of round steak comes from the round primal cut, located in the rump area of the animal. Because it’s from an area that moves a lot (the leg and butt area), this cut tends to be muscle-y, and therefore chewier, than other steaks. But it’s also this reason that makes it more affordable than other cuts of steak.
Because it’s naturally tougher than, say, a ribeye or sirloin steak, eye of round beef isn’t usually used the same way as other cuts of steak. Instead, it’s often used as a roast. Keeping the beef intact allows it to crisp up the outer edges, while leaving the internal round roast more tender. If you do buy eye round roast steaks, you’ll probably want to marinate them for a while to loosen up the meat.
Eye of Round Steak Preparation
Eye of round steak takes a bit more preparation than other types of beef, simply because it can be tougher to chew. The best way to break down those tough fibers and create a more tender beef is by marinating your roast before cooking. A great marinade has a few key components that both flavor and tenderize the beef:
- Acid, like vinegar, that breaks down the connective tissue that leads to the chewiness you get with beef
- Fat, like oil, which not only allows flavor to seep into the beef, but also helps the meat lock in moisture to keep it tender
- Sweetener, like honey, that kicks the strong, acidic flavor of the acid down a notch
- Flavor, usually from herbs and spices, to penetrate the meat with all sorts of yummy tastes
Find a tenderizing marinade recipe you like and allow your eye of round to marinate, refrigerated, for several hours or overnight before you cook it.
You might also choose to sear your steak in a hot pan over medium high heat before baking it, if that’s the method you choose to use. A quick sear on all sides of the roast beef keeps the outside crispy and full of flavor, while the oven will continue cooking it to the proper internal temperature.
How to Cook Eye of Round Steak: 6 Cooking Methods
The following cooking methods are some of the more common and popular options for a beef round. These are typically the methods you’d use to cook the beef, but you can then turn the beef into whatever recipe you’d prefer, including a stir-fry, steak salad, or another creative concoction.
Baked Round Roast
Baking round roast beef is, by far, one of the more popular ways to cook this steak cut. All you need are some of your favorite herbs to coat the outside of the beef and a large roasting pan. To adhere the herbs to your roast, you’d first brush some olive oil on the outside of the steak. Then, add whatever herb mix you’d like, patting it into the olive oil. Salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, thyme, and rosemary, are excellent pairings for a round roast.
Sous Vide Round Roast
Sous vide is a cooking method that works well with meats that need a bit of help to achieve a tender bits, like round steak. Sous vide uses a vacuum-sealed bag to lock in flavors and natural juices as the meat cooks. The bag goes in temperature-controlled water to avoid cooking it too fast and drying it out. This method allows the roast to cook evenly and thoroughly without cooking by air like it would in the oven.
Air Fryer Eye of Round Steak
Air fryers are popular tools to use in the kitchen nowadays because of their ability to cook most meals — even a round steak recipe — in about 20 minutes or less. Plus, you don’t need to use as much oil as you would if you were pan-frying something, so air fryers can lead to an overall healthier meal. Eye of round steak cooks well in an air fryer. Remember to season it beforehand with a bit of olive oil and your favorite spices. Flip it halfway during the cook cycle to crisp it up on all sides.
Braised Round Roast
Braising is a method that uses a small amount of liquid to give moisture to meat as it cooks. You can sear the round roast first to crisp up its exterior. Then, add it to a Dutch oven with some water, pan sauce, or beef broth before covering it and placing it in the oven to cook slowly. This is a good method to use if you want to cook some veggies, like potatoes and carrots, with your roast to incorporate some of those flavors into your steak.
Fried Eye of Round Steak
Fried eye of round steak can actually work a couple of ways. One, you can pan-fry the meat, searing it as you would other steak cuts, and then finishing it off in the oven. Or, you can go the country-fried steak route, dredging the beef slices in an egg and crumb mixture to create a breading for frying. Both lead to completely different flavors and meals, but they’re equally delicious ways to enjoy an eye of round steak.
Slow Cooker Round Roast
Slow cooking is a convenient way to get a meal cooked throughout the day in a hands-free way. When it comes to a beef eye of round steak, the Crock Pot leads to a nicely tenderized roast. Cook it on its own or add beef broth and vegetables to make a yummy beef stew.
Finishing Off a Round Roast Meal
We’ve covered common cooking methods for an eye of round roast. Now, here are some ideas for completing your meal.
There are many round steak recipe ideas floating around on Pinterest and food blogs. This versatile cut of meat doesn’t need to just stay intact as a roast. Once you cook it, you can cut it up to use in soups, beef stew, stir frys, and so much more.
Round steak can also work much like flat iron or flank steak. Slice it up to use on steak sandwiches or atop a salad. In other words, get creative!
Top It Off
Eye of round steak is flavorful, so topping it with a sauce or gravy isn’t necessary for adding flavor. However, these additions can add more moisture to your steak, keeping it nice and tender throughout the meal.
A pan sauce is a popular topping for eye of round, and it’s simple to make if you’re already pan-frying your steak. Use your pan drippings as the base. Add a little more olive oil to the pan and allow it to heat up. Then, saute some diced onions and minced garlic until translucent and fragrant.
Now, add about ¼ of a cup of red wine, slowly, to the pan. Stir together. Add the same amount of beef stock to the pan and allow to boil for a couple of minutes. Turn the heat to medium low and allow to simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half. Stir in 2 tablespoons of butter; whisk. Stir in 2 teaspoons of cornstarch; whisk again.
Your sauce should become thickened and creamy. Add some kosher salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy.
Experiment with a Round Roast Recipe
Round steak is a more affordable cut of beef than other steaks, but just as hearty and tasty. Experiment with one or more of the cooking methods we’ve outlined above — they’re all excellent options! Looking for some other delectable steaks to enjoy in your own kitchen? Visit Chicago Steak Company to order top-quality steaks online.
Eye of Round Steak Cooking FAQs
Cooks often use eye of round steak for soups, stews, steak sandwiches, or other dishes that require cut or cubed steak. Some chefs also keep eye of round as a roast, cooking it slowly in the oven or a slow cooker to tenderize it.
This cut of beef is tougher than others, so following a steak recipe and using cooking methods that allow for long, slow cooking times work best for eye of round steak. Slow-cooking, braising, and cooking sous vide are some of the best cooking methods for eye of round steak.
The time needed to cook eye of round steak depends on the cooking method you choose. Oven-cooking and sous vide typically take 1-2 hours, but cooking with a slow cooker takes 6-8 hours.
First, sear eye of round steak for 2-3 minutes per side to brown it up. Then, place it in the slow cooker, and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Alternatively, keep it as a roast, and cook it in the oven at 325 degrees for about one hour, or until the roast reaches 125-130 degrees for medium-rare. Rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.