Roast Top Round
The top round is a cut of bison or beef that comes off the round, or hind end of the animal. The whole round is a very large piece of meat that is often slow roasted, carved, and served as “roast beef.” This is a very different cut of meat from prime rib roast beef, which comes from the rib primal portion of the animal. It is also a cut that is significantly cheaper, and with a minimum of effort, and thinly sliced against the grain, makes a delicious roast beef for sandwiches or any other occasion. For this preparation you can use a grass finished bison top round or a similar beef top round cut as well.
- One 1.5 to 2 kg (three to four pound) round steak
- Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
Aged beef creates a more tender and intensely flavored bite compared to a fresh steak. However, the aging process (wet or dry) also creates a significantly more expensive product, if purchased directly. If you have the space and the time, there is an easy way to approximate this for the home cook.
Place a cooling rack over a quarter sheet pan, or similar receptacle. Salt the top round steak liberally with kosher salt on all sides and place on the cooling rack. The elevation achieved by the cooling rack allows the air to circulate around both the top and the bottom of the steak. The pan underneath will catch any drippings. Place in the back of the refrigerator for 24 and up to 72 hours. The meat will darken and start to dry out as it loses water weight, which intensifies the beefy flavor. At the same time, naturally occurring enzymes within the meat will start to tenderize the cut.
When you are ready to cook the beef, preheat the oven to 500°F. Weigh your cut, and round up to the nearest pound. For example, if your cut was 3.2 pounds, you would round up to 3.5 pounds. If your steak was 3.6 pounds, you would round up to 4 pounds. Multiply that number by three, rounding up. That is your active cook time in minutes. Using the previous example, our 3.2 pound top round steak would round up to 3.5 pounds, multiplying by three in rounding up would give us an active cook time of 11 minutes.
Prior to roasting, liberally covered the steak with Dijon mustard. Then apply kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Line a quarter sheet pan or similar receptacle with foil. Place a cooling rack over the sheet pan, as before if you dry aged the meat, and place in the oven. Before closing the door, fill the bottom of the sheet pan with water, but do not allow it to touch the bottom of the steak. Close the door of the oven and allow the steak to roast for its active cook time. In our previous example, this would be 11 minutes. Turn the oven off, but do not open the oven door. Allow the meat to roast for an additional 25 to 30 minutes. This is the passive cook time. Remove the meat, and allow it to rest 20 to 25 minutes before slicing. This is the rest time. Thinly slice, serve with au jus or gravy if desired, and enjoy.