Steak is a very delicious and popular high-protein food, but certain cuts, like eye of round, have the tendency to be tough if they aren’t cooked in the right way.
Here’s how to cook an eye of round steak to make it more tender, along with background information on prepping & different cooking methods.
Here is an overview of how to cook an eye of the round steak to make it tender so you can feel like you’re eating a tender cut like filet mignon for a lot cheaper.
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Why is the eye of the round steak so tough?
The eye of the round steak is so tough because of the particular area of the cow where this steak is derived. The eye of the round steak comes from the rear leg of the cow, which is where immense muscle and connective tissues are (similar to how brisket is from the front legs) and little marbling / fat is located.
This means that, while the steak will be flavorful, it will be pretty tough, especially in comparison to filet mignon and other extremely tender cuts of steaks.
How to prepare your eye of round steak
Before cooking your steak, you will want to properly prepare it so you can end up with a steak that is as tender as possible.
If you don’t have a meat mallet, you can use a rolling pin or similar object. Some people have even used a knife or fork to poke the steak throughout in order to break up the fibers.
You will be surprised at how effective any of these methods are at tenderizing your eye of round steak.
Why is marinating your eye of round steak a good idea?
Another way that you can tenderize your steak is to marinate it, because, believe it or not, marinating the steak helps to tenderize. How?
Anything with an acidic base has the ability to tenderize the tough fibers in the steak as long as they’re allowed to marinate for at least 6-8 hours.
This is why pre-prepping your eye of round steak is important, as most people marinate the steak overnight after using a mallet on it, and when they cook it the next day, the meat melts in their mouth.
How do you make a marinade?
It’s easy to make a great marinade for your steak by combining oil, vinegar, lime or lemon juice and your favorite spices. Not only will your steak come out super tender, but it will also give your meat an amazing flavor.
Simply place all your marinade ingredients in a large zip lock or container with a lid, insert the steak and let it soak in the flavors and tenderize for at least 8 hours and then you can cook it.
Is there such a thing as tenderizing seasonings?
If you check the spice section of your local grocery store, you will probably find one or more types of seasonings called “Meat Tenderizer.”
Meat Tenderizer is composed of a variety of ingredients that work together to gently tenderize meat.
While the Meat Tenderizer likely won’t tenderize eye of round steak enough for it to be considered tender, it can be used along with other methods to ensure your steak is melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Is cooking your eye of round steak in a crock pot good?
Whenever you cook tough meat with water in a pot at a low temperature, it allows the steam to enter the meat and tenderize it.
So, whether you’re making steak tacos, quesadillas, or some other recipe that calls for tender pieces of steak, cooking the meat in a crock pot throughout the day is a great way to tenderize your meat.
Using a pressure cooker to tenderize your steak
If you don’t have all day to wait for your steak to become tender in a crock pot, then you can opt to use a pressure cooker, which will tenderize your steak using a tremendous amount of pressurized steam.
This enables your eye of round steak to become extremely tender in a fraction of the time it would take in a crock pot, or even a regular pot on the stove.
How to braise your eye of round steak
Braising your eye of round steak is another great way to create tender steak. What exactly is braising?
Braising is similar to slow cooking, as it entails slowly cooking your meat (or vegetables) either on the stove top or in the oven, at a slow temperature, with water and steam that help the meat or vegetables to become tender.
To braise your steak, you will first sear your meat in a dutch oven or skillet with some oil for a few minutes until the meat is golden brown.
Next, you will add onions, garlic, seasoning and beef broth and place them all in a dutch oven or pot. Be sure to use a wooden spoon or plastic spatula to scrape all the leftover brown pieces from searing your meat and add it to the dutch oven.
Slowly boil on the stovetop or place in the oven at a temperature of around 300 degrees F.
This process should take about two hours, and your eye of round steak will be transformed from small, tough cuts into a tender cut of meat that your friends and family won’t believe was initially tough.
FAQs about How To Cook an Eye of Round Steak
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions that people trying to tenderize eye of round steak.
Will the meat market tenderize my meat for me?
If you purchase your meat from a meat market that has an onsite butcher, then it is often possible for you to take the meat to the butcher and request that it be tenderized for absolutely free.
Whatever process the butcher uses to tenderize the meat may not render the steak as tender as you would like, but it can certainly be helpful and make the process of tenderizing it once you get the steak home a lot easier.
Will simply baking eye of round steak make it tender?
If you don’t have time to braise your meat prior to cooking it and you don’t have a crock pot or pressure cooker handy, then you certainly can bake your eye of round steak in the oven and it will turn out tender.
The key is to add plenty of water to the pan, along with the seasonings in an oven pre-set to 275 degrees F, or no higher than 300 degrees F. It will take around 2-3 hours for your meat to cook, or you can even let it simmer in the oven for 4 or more hours and it will turn out perfectly tender.
Will the above tenderizing techniques work for other tough cuts of steak as well?
Is eye of round steak healthy?
Many eating plans, whether they’re to promote overall health or simply weight loss, exclude or drastically limit red meat due to its high sodium and high saturated fat content. However, small amounts of lean eye of round steak can be incredibly healthy. You can pair it with salads, sauteed vegetables, baked potatoes, and more for the ultimate in health.
Excessive consumption is what is frowned upon, so be sure to stick with 6 ounces or less of steak at a time. The liver isn’t able to handle huge portions of saturated fat and protein on a regular basis, so you should never eat one of the 22-ounce steaks that are available at many steakhouses. That’s simply too much of a good thing.