When it comes to a readily available lean beef that’s also easy on the wallet, it’s hard to beat the bottom round roast.
In this article, we will walk through where the bottom round roast comes from on the cow, its lean make-up, and the best ways to prepare it for meals. You’ll learn all you need to know about the bottom round roast!
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Bottom round roast is a cut from the round primal of the cow which consists of the rump and hindquarters. The muscles in this area are worked hard on the cow, so the beef is leaner with very little marbling and is less tender than other cuts.
This cut has many names such as rump roast, pot roast, or plain round roast, and since it’s so low in fat, it’s not very good when cut in steaks – but it’s great for braising and slow cooking.
Bottom round roast usually comes in large 4lb to 5lb cuts and is generally a round piece of meat as its namesake suggests. It has a robust, meaty flavor, especially when roasted or braised, allowing the liquid to take on the meatiness and distribute throughout the cut.
It has very little fat content due to its high usage as a muscle supporting and mobilizing the cow. One 3oz serving of bottom round roast only has 5 grams of total fat, of which 1.9 grams is saturated. This allows it to be classified as “extra lean” by USDA regulations.
If you’re watching your fat intake, bottom round roast is a good fit for your diet.
Being classified as “extra lean” means it has to have less than 5 grams of fat, less than 2 grams of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 gram – roughly 3.5oz – serving.
Not only does the bottom round fit the bill when it comes to low fat content, but it also boasts high protein – 23 grams per serving.
Therefore, choosing bottom round roast over other, more fatty cuts can help to keep your fat intake in check, while also providing quality protein for muscle growth and recovery.
Bottom round roast is also chock-full of minerals and is “an excellent source of Protein, Niacin, Vitamin B12, Zinc, and Selenium; and a good source of Iron, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus, and Choline”Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
Bottom round roast is a common, economical cut that can be found at most local groceries, farms and butchers.
However, not all cows are raised equally, and it’s worth your time to source ethically raised animals. Hormone-free, grass-fed beef will boast a deeper, more concentrated flavor. Avoid corn-finished and wheat-finished cattle as those diminish flavor and can add to the toughness of the meat.
There are quality options when purveying meat online, and it’s worth noting if you’re having trouble sourcing locally.
Better beef costs more to raise and that cost is passed on to the consumer, but if you have room in your budget and time to spare waiting for delivery, quality meat is definitely worth the price.
Snake River Farms is our cream of the crop online option. Ethically raised and nourished animals out of the northwest region of the U.S., their meat is served in some of the top Michelin starred restaurants around the country.
If you’re lucky enough to catch Snake River Farms beef round in stock, you won’t be disappointed.
Porter Road and Crowd Cow are next in line for accessible, ethically sourced beef. Both offer Bottom round roast on their sites, but they sell out from time to time. You can always reach out and special order if need be.
If you’re striking out finding a bottom round roast online, it’s worth the leg work to find a local farm or butcher and support your community as well.
What to look for
If you went the local route, you want to look for a cut that has a deep red exterior color. This red colorization is known as blooming and is the result of oxygen binding to the iron atoms of the meat.
Choose a piece that is cold and firm, holding its shape when you poke or push into it. Be sure the packaging is free of tears or holes.
Some butchers dry age their bottom round roasts, deepening the flavor and color. Don’t be afraid to ask your butcher for their recommendation.
Due to its low fat content, bottom round roast is at its best when braised or roasted. Braising is also known as pot-roasting and is the process of searing the meat on all sides first, then cooking it at a low temperature with a liquid over an extended period of time.
This cooking method is best for tougher cuts of beef that contain low levels of intramuscular fat. When cooked for a long time at low heat, the meat becomes soft and succulent.
Braising a bottom round roast will yield tender, shreddable meat that’s packed full of flavor from its own juices combined with that of the braising liquid.
Braised bottom round roast
For a tender, juicy bottom round roast, follow the steps below.
- Rub a 3lb to 5lb roast with your favorite dry rub or just salt and pepper and let sit at room temperature for an hour. Preheat oven to 350°F
- Coat the bottom of a large dutch oven with oil and sear each side of the meat until brown on all sides.
- Remove meat and cover with foil, then deglaze with the pan with cooking wine or liquid of your choosing. Scrape loose all the brown bits with a wooden spoon.
- Place meat back into the pan and add chopped onions, potatoes and carrots. Cover with lid.
- Place the covered pan into the oven and cook for 3 hours or until the meat shreds easily with a fork. (if you want a roast on the rare side, cook until desired internal temperature has been reached.)
- Remove the pan from the oven, and remove the vegetables from the pan.
- Remove the meat and let it rest on a cutting board tented with foil.
- Make a gravy with pan drippings if desired.
- Serve while warm.
Though the braising method can take some time, it can be easier if you use a slow cooker. Follow the steps below if you’d rather use a slow cooker.
- Rub a 3lb to 5lb roast with your favorite dry rub or just salt and pepper and let sit at room temperature for an hour.
- Place enough onion slices to cover the bottom of the slow cooker, then place the meat on top.
- Add more chopped onions, potatoes and carrots. Add four to six cloves minced garlic and a cup of broth or water to the slow cooker.
- Cover and set to low for 8 hours.
- To make a gravy, remove vegetables and meat, add 2tbsp flour to the slow cooker and turn to high. Stir constantly until the gravy reaches your desired thickness adding more flour as necessary.
- Serve while warm.
Either one of the aforementioned methods will yield a super-tender, succulent bottom round roast that’s full of meaty flavor.
Low and slow can’t go wrong when cooking bottom round roast, but here are some tips to make sure the roast turns out delicious:
- Season liberally – A fancy dry rub isn’t required, but you do want to season the roast all over. Two parts kosher salt to one part coarse ground black pepper will do just fine.
- Sear all sides of the meat – Searing the roast on all sides not only gives texture to the outside of the meat, but it locks in flavor during the cooking process.
- Let it rest – The low and slow method cooks out a good amount of juices from the already lean bottom round roast, so you want to let it rest outside of the pan juices on a cutting board before serving. This lets some of the liquid and flavor distribute throughout the meat ensuring each bit has maximum flavor.
- Experiment with braising liquid – Water works fine as a braising liquid, but lacks flavor. This is why you want to use broth or a combination of other liquids like dry sherry or soy sauce to add depth of flavor to the braise.
Rounding it out
Whether you’re managing your macros or your budget, bottom round roast is a winner here. It’s a versatile piece of meat that will no doubt leave you with leftovers, more money in your wallet and enough lean protein to build muscle.
You can experiment with leftovers too. Bottom round roast leftovers can be turned into seasoned shredded beef tacos, open-faced sandwiches, or added protein on a salad. Use your imagination!
If you found this article helpful, let us know if the comments, and be sure to share with your fellow kitchen confidants.