The Outside Round
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The Outside Round, NAMP 170-171 B, also known as the Bottom Round, Gooseneck Round and Silverside (British) sometimes includes the Rump and is cut from the outside and rear, mostly, (depending on whether the Outside Round is from a Chicago Round or a Diamond Cut Round), of the hindquarters and hind leg. Because, the Rump is most often removed from the Outside Round, and because it allows for more specificity, Smart Kitchen chooses to discuss the Rump independently of the Outside Round. When we discuss the Outside Round in the remainder of this resource, we will be speaking of the Outside Round with the Rump removed. Essentially, here we will be discussing the outside and rear, (the front or anterior portion of the hind leg is contained in the Sirloin/Round Tip), of the hind leg down to the heel when we say Outside Round.

The Outside Round is a large, 5 lb to 6 lb (2.3 kg to 2.72 kg) Sub-Primal Cut of the Round Primal Cut.

Availability

The Beef Outside Round is available all year long. 

Production

The Outside Round is most commonly called the Bottom Round because when butchers work on separating out the Round, the Outside Round is typically on the bottom and facing down, but at Smart Kitchen we prefer the lesser used term “Outside Round.”  We feel that the name Outside Round makes it easier to visualize that this Round meat comes from the harder working outside of the upper rear leg which makes it a tougher cut than the Inside Round.

A wholesale Outside Round will often be broken down into its component parts, the Eye of Round, the Heel of Round and the “flat” Outside Round, NAMP 171 B. Smart Kitchen addresses each of the components in its own resource. We will focus on the “Flat” Outside Round in the rest of this resource page, eye of round, the flat NAMP 171B, and the heel NAMP 171F.  The flat is a single long flattened and rather tough muscle.

The bulk of the Outside Round “Flat” is made up of a lean, tasty but officially tough muscle, the Biceps Femoris Muscle, (#23 and first of the tough muscles on The Most Tender Beef Cuts chart). It is tough because it is chock full of Connective Tissue from the heavy work that the muscle performs moving and supporting the steer. Most of the connective tissue in the Outside Round is made of Elastin, that does not break down with heat or Tenderizing Marinades.

The major muscles in the bottom round (sometimes also known as the gooseneck) are the Semitendinosus Muscle and the Biceps Femoris Muscle. Depending on the cutting style, the bottom round may also contain the Gluteus Medius MuscleGluteus Accessorius Muscle and the Gluteus Profundus muscle.

To cover all the bases, we should mention that there can also be two other smaller muscles on an Outside Round, the Vastus Laterallis Muscle (#32 for toughness) and the Vastus Intermedius Muscle, but they are most often removed as part of the Sirloin/Round Tip and/or the Knuckle and won’t be covered here. 

The lower Outside Round (without the Rump which is discussed elsewhere) is usually merchandized either as Bottom Round Roast or cut into Bottom Round Steaks which are often mechanically tenderized for Swiss Steaks or Cube Steaks. Poking, slicing and cutting the fibers is the one way to tenderize the Elastin, (the shorter they are, the less hold the fibers have on the surrounding meat) and make the meat more palatable. Outside Round meat should be a good economic deal and may serve your purposes if you are willing to buy a larger Outside Round and then do some Slicing and Trimming to achieve multiple portion cuts, including some thin slices for stuffing and rolling.

As with some of the other Round Sup-Primals, the Beef Council is trying to reinvent  the Outside Round. Some of the cuts that they are proposing as value cuts are the Western Griller Steak and a Western Tip Steak, both of which are cut from the Biceps femoris.

The production of beef is carried about by three primary types of operations: Cow & Calf Operations, Weaner Calf & Yearling Operations, and Dry-Lot Feeding Operations (also known as “Backrounders”) which are the most expensive operations in the Beef Industry. To learn more about Beef Producers just follow the link to Smart Kitchen’s Page on Beef Producers. The Beef Producers are represented by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

American cattle production has remained almost stagnant between 1985 and 2009, growing just 6.4%, while the amount of beef imported has nearly tripled in that time, according to an analysis of USDA figures conducted by R-CALF USA, another the trade group that represents cattle producers.

Once raised, Beef is typically sold to Meat Packers who slaughter, inspect, and butcher the animals to provide Primal Cuts to butchers and portion cuts to consumers.

The Meat Packing Industry is in a period of consolidation. In 1999, the 10 largest beef-packing firms accounted for more than 90 percent of all Steer and Heifer slaughter in the U.S. In 2011, according to the Western Organization of Resources Councils three major companies controlled Beef market. Visit Smart Kitchen’s Meat Packers Resource Page to learn more.

Purchasing

When shopping for Beef Outside Round, look for The Beef Outside Round that has a clear, red exterior color known as the “Bloom,” that come from exposure to oxygen and not the more normal purplish-red color of vacuum packed beef. Your purchase should be cold, firm to the touch and, if packaged, free of any punctures or rips. Notice the “sell-by” date on the label and make sure you are buying product that is well within its dates of safe use as specified by the sticker. 

Storage

Raw Beef Outside Round should last for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Add an extra day of cold storage time if the Beef Outside Round is Marinated or oiled. Raw Beef Outside Round will keep for 2-3 months in the freezer without any appreciable deterioration in quality.

Cooked Beef Outside Round should be refrigerated for up to 1-3 days.

Culinary Uses

The Beef Outside Round is a tough Portion Cut of Beef. On Smart Kitchen’s Home Plate it should be Cooked, it is Tough, it can be Thin or Thick depending on how it is cut, it is Dry, and Lean. Using the Home Plate we would call it Cooked, Tough, Thin or Thick, Dry, and Lean or noted in the home plate shorthand The Beef Outside Round would be (C, T1T3-T4, D, L).

Tenderizing, (chemical & mechanical) is a smart option with an Outside Round, which is generally best cooked with Moist Heat Methods such as StewingBraisingPot Roasting, etc. Low & Slow is a good watchword for the Outside Round.

For our money, we’d avoid cooking Outside Round with a Dry Heat Method because it is often a tough, chewy outcome, but we might use thin strips of Outside Round in Stir FryBeef StroganoffSukiyaki, etc.; chunks of Outside Round as Kabobs, or thin, steak-cut and Pounded Outside Round in Chicken Fried Steak or Country Fried Steak.

Portion Size

Allow 6 to 9 ounces (170 g to 255 g) per person of Beef Outside Round as a Serving Size.

Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

No

Low Calorie

No