We‘ve had a lot of discussion lately both on this Web site
and in-house about cheap cuts of beef. And lean cuts. Here’s another that meets
both criteria: Eye of round.
You may have run into some bone-dry eye of round in your
day. Meat so tough it bites back. I know I have. But it can actually be quite tender and tasty if you
understand the cut and use a suitable cooking method.
Eye of round comes from the steer’s hind quarter (fellow
food geeks will be able to amuse themselves for days on this site).
It’s considered the most tender portion of the round, but tender is a very
relative term here. (Think of how, say, aluminum is tender compared to
stainless steel.) Because it’s so lean, eye of round is an inherently tough
cut. And it doesn’t boast lots of connective tissues that make some other tough
cuts great candidates for braising. High-heat roasting can dry it out and
toughen it further.
Perhaps the best way to approach eye of round is
low-temperature roasting. Season the meat well to start—as a lean cut, it needs
a little help in the flavor department. After searing on all sides to brown the
exterior, put the roast in a 200-225° oven (ideally using a probe thermometer
to monitor progress) until it hits 130° or whatever your preference is. Rest
for 15-20 minutes and slice thinly.
The end result: A tender, juicy roast that’ll feed your
family without breaking the bank (it’s as cheap as $3.49 a pound at some of my
local markets). And the leftovers make for delicious roast beef
Photo courtesy of Ned Raggett on Flickr.