Today is going to be an interesting post – a couple of weeks ago I learned the great importance of knowing your cut of meat before you buy it.
Let’s journey back to January 28th, when I planned on making this stellar Shredded Steak and Vegetables from the Tastemade site. I will say that the term “vegetables” is used very loosely in this context since it’s just cooked on a bed of potatoes and onions. Regardless, I was absolutely certain I wanted to make this for my weekly meal prep.
I made my way to the store and started picking up all the ingredients: potatoes, onions, parsley, spices, etc. My last stop was to the meat department, where I was supposed to pick up my top round steak. But, for the life of me, I could not find the top round steak. I checked every single tag and never once found anything aside from the thin sliced top round steak, which would not work as a slow-roasted steak.
So me, thinking that I didn’t need to look it up, “I know food!”, I picked up what I thought would be the next best thing – eye of round steak. Now, I bet those of you that actually know what they’re talking about when it comes to steak just chuckled to yourself and shook your head. Well, please don’t laugh at me too much. For those of you that are in the same boat as me, eye of round and top round steak are two very different pieces of the same animal. Let’s quickly discuss:
A top round roast is from the hind legs of the cow and is not as heavily worked, which means that you’ll experience a more tender roast than the rest of the round cuts. On the other hand, the eye of round is exercised a great deal, this specific cut of meat is lean and tough. So, therein lies the problem. The way that you cook a top round roast or steak is going to be different than the way you cook an eye of round roast and they are used for different purposes. (Epicurious has a great breakdown that I saved after this debacle, a guide for all of the roasts available and ways they can be used in a variety of recipes: https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/all-about-beef-roasts-from-chuck-to-rump-article)
But, let’s get back to the cooking at hand. After purchasing my ingredients and the tough, lean, and hard-to-cook eye of round, I get home and start to do my research. This is when I discover that I’m not really as smart as I think I am… Sure, the eye of round and top round are from the same general vicinity, but they are drastically different, as seen in my amateur breakdown above. I frantically Google “how to cook eye of round” and “eye of round vs top round” and “why did I think that I could pick out a similar cut of meat without knowing how meat works?”.
Luckily, for those of you that are purchasing an eye of round steak or accidentally purchase one, I came across an amazing article that produced stellar results. The Domestic Man (who actually knows what eye of round is and does) walked me through the process of cooking a perfect eye of round roast through his blog post, “Perfect Eye of Round Roast“. The trick is to roast the meat at 500 degrees F for 7 minutes per pound, then turn the oven down to 170 degrees F for 2 and a half hours. If your oven retains heat well and you’ve used this method before, he actually suggests turning it off, but I just set it to 170 to be safe. If you turn off your oven completely, don’t open the door! If you set it to 170, check it at an hour and then every 30 minutes after for doneness.
For the actual recipe, I marinated my steaks for 24 hours in the olive oil and herb mixture in the Tastemade recipe. After that, I laid them on a bed of potatoes and onions:
I then cooked it on 500 for 21 minutes (since I had 3 lbs of meat) and then left it on 170 for another 2 and a half hours. I checked on it every half hour, but ended up using the full 2 and a half hours. Looking back on it, I could have taken it out a bit earlier, but it turned out pretty good for my first time cooking eye of round.
I would also highly suggest taking out the meat but continuing to cook the potatoes and onion for about 5-10 more minutes since they could have gotten a bit softer. All in all, I’d still consider this to be a success because it was the first week that I was told multiple times by my boyfriend, “Damn, you are an amazing cook.” I absolutely plan on making this again.