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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Grilled Round Steak

We just picked up our beef on the hoof purchase for 2013 but I still had a few packages left from last year's beef purchase.  A couple of those packages were round steaks.  Some cuts of beef are better for grilling than others, however even those cuts that give less than ideal results can be grilled if you modify how you do the grilling.  So it is with round steak.  A round steak is from the round primal cut of beef.  It is comprised of  the eye (of) round, bottom round, and top round still connected.  The bone may or may not be included.  A round roast is lean but moderately tough due to the lack of fat and marbling.  This makes round steak dry out when cooked with dry-heat cooking methods like roasting or grilling.  Slow moist-heat methods including braising, to tenderize the meat and maintain moisture are commonly used to cook round steak.  Round steak can also be sliced thin, then dried or smoked at low temperature to make jerky.

sugar maple wood smoking chips
During our camping days we often brought cherry wood with us to use for cooking on the campfire.  Cherry wood gives a beautiful deep ruby red embers and tantalizing sweet smoke.  Smoking chips are available in a variety of woods including hickory, sugar maple, cherry and mesquite.   Although wood smoking chips can be used with any meat, fish or poultry, some wood flavours are more suitable than others for certain meats, fish or poultry.  Wood smoking chips can even be used to add extra flavour to grilled vegetables, breads and pizza!

Wood smoking chips can be found in the grilling aisle of most box stores, specifically Canadian Tire and Home Hardware here in our corner of beautiful Ontario, Canada.  They are not expensive at about $7 for 220 cubic inch bag and the bags often go on sale near the end of the summer when there is less demand for them.   I look for all natural 100% organic, pesticide free wood smoking chips.   You can also use wood chips from woodlots and orchards providing it is pesticide free.  Quite often the wood will be free or very low cost from either source.

grilled round steak
Round steaks are quite large.  The bone in round steak I grilled (pictured) was about three quarters of an inch thick.  I decided to experiment by grilling the steak low and slow over charcoal enhanced with wood smoking chips to medium rare.  I reasoned this would give flavourful results without drying the meat.  I soaked a good handful of sugar maple wood smoking chips in water for about 30 minutes.  According to the bag, sugar maple is perfect for pork and poultry but I thought it would work well for the beef as well.  Once the coals were hot, I put about a third of the prepared wood chips on the coals then put the steak on the grill when the chips began smoking.  I let the steak grill slowly, adding a few more pieces of charcoal and wood chips as required to keep a low, slow heat. 

slicing round steak for freezing
Once the steak was cooked to medium rare, I removed it from the grill and let it rest for 5 minutes.  Resting ensures the meat stays moist, tender and juicy.  I was very pleased with the end result!  It was a nice flaourful steak that wasn't dried out.  The smoky element was delightful and what a difference it made in the flavour of the steak.  The key to this was the low, slow grilling.  After resting, I cut the steak into thin slices then divided into meal sized portions and vacuum sealed for freezing.  These cooked steak strips will be used for salads and wraps. 

I am quite impressed that the steak did not become dry and tough during the cooking process.  Overall, I would rate this experiment a 9 out of 10.  One portion of the steak was cooked a bit more than I would have liked but other than that, I have no complaints.  The real beauty of using the smoking chips is the flavour they add to the foods.  While the results are good using the wood chips on the outdoor grill, I want to do more smoking that requires a smoker.  I'm borrowing a smoker from one of our friends this week to see if I really want to buy one.  I have one round steak left that I will be smoking for beef jerky so will report back on the results.  I am very much encouraged by the results so far.


1 food lovers commented:

LindaG said...

We often use round steak for jerky, too.
I tried making some in a smoker. I know it can be done, but the one we got it didn't really work well. Was more miss than hit.

I'll be looking forward to seeing how yours turns out. Hope it works out for you.

Thanks for the post!