The top round steak comes from the cow's upper back legs, aka the butt. This is the cut that gets pounded into cube steak (which is used for chicken fried steak) because it's quite lean and a bit tough, and it's best with some tenderization or a marinade. By seasoning this steak and letting it rest for overnight, we end up with a tender and flavorful cut of beef that only requires a good sear.
- Salt the steak very well.
- Create your marinade. Ok, it's technically a rub. This is very loosey-goosey, and highly customizable. Combine a big splash of olive oil with a splash of lime juice, add some lime zest, a squirt of Sriracha, a couple of minced cloves of garlic, and a couple big pinches each of: cumin, chili powder, oregano, cayenne, cinnamon, black pepper.
- Rub this all over the steak. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for at least 3 hours (I did a full 24 hours).
- Take the steak out of the fridge 1-2 hours before cooking to allow it to come up to room temperature.
- Get some oil nice and hot in your cast iron and sear the steak for 3-5 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature is 125º. My steak was pretty chubby, so it took the full ten minutes.
- Remove from pan and let it rest for about 10 minutes. While the steak is resting, sautée your veggies. I used red peppers and onion. There is enough fat and flavor in the pan from the seasoned steak that you don't need to add anything else. Just throw the veggies in there and stir fry for a few moments.
- Slice the steak thinly against the grain. Enjoy!
Now this is my kind of party! I recommend that you slice your top round steak more thinly than I did in the above photos. Mine were really tasty and not at all tough, but I would have preferred them to be about half this thickness.
Cooked properly, this economical cut of beef is absolutely wonderful. Give it a try!