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Jun 21, 2013 07:17 AM

How To Cook Top Round?

Hi! I am pretty new to cooking beef but I am so tired of chicken! I was at the store the other day and saw (what I thought were) steaks on sale. There are just so many cuts of beef and I really don't know what any of them are, so I read the label and it said something about top and I means good, right? (Don't laugh -- okay, you can totally laugh, but I was vegetarian for a long time so I'm missing meat knowledge!) It looked like steak, so I figured it must be steak.

After buying it and getting home, I found out it is not steak. It is 'top round,' whatever that is, which does not mean 'good steak' and I don't know what to do with it. What I had planned to do (cook it on the stove), the Internet suggests will make it dry and chewy. I've Googled and seen suggestions to braise, roast in the oven, or make jerky. I don't know what braising is, I don't have an oven, and actually I don't like jerky (or have a dehydrator). I have a slow cooker and a frying pan, though!

Can anyone suggest something I can do with this hunk of meat? It's not a big huge hunk of meat like a pot roast, it's more steak-like. Help!

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  1. I suspect you would best use this for chicken fried steak:

    If memory serves, top round can be used well for the same purpose.

    1. Top round is not a braising cut! You can sear it all around and bake it in the oven to med. rare if it's rather thick, otherwise just cook or grill. Slice thin against grain. Gravy would be good too. Pan sauce.
      It's also a very good cut to marinate first.

      5 Replies
      1. re: monavano

        WE roast top round. I coast with olive oil, season with lots of salt and roast to medium rare. Let it sit for 20 minutes or so- make the gravy and slice thinly. Delicious.

        1. re: macca

          I would consider roasting a whole top-round (a la the Cooks Illustrated method for eye round), but the OP appears to have a top round steak, which doesn't take to roasting as well.

          1. re: Karl S

            OOPS- sorry- never cooked top round steak.

        2. re: monavano

          Since the OP mentioned being unfamiliar with meat, I will just add that the advice to "slice against the grain" is spot on. The "grain" means the fibers -- by looking at the meat you will see fibers running in one direction (like the grain on a piece of wood). You do NOT want to slice parallel to the fibers but rather across them perpendicularly -- this tenderizes the meat. Also thin slices will be more tender than thick ones.

          1. re: monavano

            Top round is very much a braising cut!!

            You describe very well how to cook a braising cut of meat in a fast hot way , but it will do very well in a crockpot or Dutch oven.

          2. When I read the subject of the thread, I popped over to suggest making jerky. Seems like you already have that idea covered. I did just finish making some jerky today out of some top round that I got yesterday... Stupid good and stupid easy!

            6 Replies
            1. re: jbsiegel

              I'd love to hear your jerky recipe

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                I keep it simple...

                1. Cut into strips (I've played around with both thicker and thinner - both are good...the difference is drying time.) Try your best to get all fat off the meat.
                2. Marinate overnight in a mix of apple cider vinegar and soy sauce (maybe toss some garlic in there too).
                3. Lay out on cooling racks set inside baking sheets (or just on foil in the oven) and put in the oven at a low heat (usually around 170ish) with the door propped open a little crack with a wooden spoon for air circulation.
                4. Let 'em dry for a while, and then check on them periodically until they bend but don't break.
                5. Let cool.


                1. re: jbsiegel

                  Perfect thanks. It usually takes probably 6 or so hours of course depending on the thickness of the meat? Do you ever just do a spice rub overnight? Slice against or with the grain?

                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    I haven't done the spice rub. I usually try to do about 45 degrees for the grain. Unless I'm slicing VERY thin (which is pretty darned tedious unless I get the butcher to do it), the jerky can tend to be a little hard to chew if sliced perfectly with the grain. So...with a thicker piece, I do the 45 degree thing...

                  2. re: jbsiegel

                    How much of each vinegar and soy sauce

                    1. re: Pitch45

                      It's very forgiving, but I would go about 1:1. If you want to add some brown sugar in there for sweetness, that works too. Definitely the garlic.

                1. For Swiss Steak, sear the meat in an oil-filmed pan, remove from pan, sweat onions in the pan juices, add chopped bell pepper, garlic, S&P, canned whole plum or sliced tomatoes, and nestle the meat back into this. Cover and cook over low heat until tender. Lid should be ajar toward the end of cooking, to allow the sauce to reduce till its flavor is potent and pleasing.
                  A slow cooker is not recommended as it doesn't allow for enough evaporation. This is a dish that takes a good 90 minutes. Don't rush it. Slice thinly against the grain, serve over egg noodles, spaetzle, or mashed potato.