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When you’re shopping in the supermarket, you may notice an array of steak cuts. With so many steak choices, you may find it difficult to choose the right beef cut for your meal. If you’re looking for an inexpensive and lean cut of beef, consider round steak.

What is Round Steak?

Beef rounds come from the rear section of the cow. As a whole, meat coming from that section tends to be tougher because these muscles are more exercised than other areas of the cow. The round steak cut contains multiple sections of the round: the top round, bottom round and eye of round.

Good Round Steak Cooking Methods

A moderately tough cut, round steaks cook better with moisture. Moisture softens the meat to make it tenderer. Moist cooking methods include braising and stewing. Braising involves cooking the beef cut with small amounts of liquid like water or broth. Stewing involves cooking the steak by covering it with liquid and cooking it slowly over time, for up to 3 hours. As an alternative, cooks can slice round steak into thin strips and stir-fry with vegetables. When stir-frying round steak, cut the steak immediately before cooking. Pre-cutting will lower meat quality. To make the round steak tenderer, slice this cut of beef across the grain.

Nutritional Benefits of Round Steak

For people watching fat and calorie content, round steak makes a good choice. Round steak is a lean cut of beef. According to BeefNutrition.org, one 3-ounce serving of round steak contains 1.9 grams of saturated fat and 5.3 grams of total fat. The steak also provides nutrients such as protein, iron and zinc.

Beef Grades

When purchasing round steak, you may notice different grades: prime, choice and select. Prime choice beef tend to be tenderer, flavorsome and expensive because of the marbling or fat interspersed between the muscles. These cuts are normally reserved for restaurants. Choice cuts, on the other hand, can be found in the typical supermarket. This cut is leaner than prime cuts. Select, usually cheaper than other grades, are very lean and tougher than the other grades.

Choosing Round Steak

After deciding which grade of steak you want, validate that the wrapping is intact without punctures. Also, touch the package and make sure it is still cold. Another shopping tip is to ensure that the “sell-by” date on the package has not passed. Purchasing round steak as the last item on your shopping trip will ensure that the beef stays cool until you arrive home.