We‘ve had a lot of discussion lately both on this Web siteand in-house about cheap cuts of beef. And lean cuts. Here’s another that meetsboth criteria: Eye of round.

You may have run into some bone-dry eye of round in yourday. Meat so tough it bites back. I know I have. But it can actually be quite tender and tasty if youunderstand the cut and use a suitable cooking method.

Eye of round comes from the steer’s hind quarter (fellowfood geeks will be able to amuse themselves for days on this site).It’s considered the most tender portion of the round, but tender is a veryrelative term here. (Think of how, say, aluminum is tender compared tostainless steel.) Because it’s so lean, eye of round is an inherently toughcut. And it doesn’t boast lots of connective tissues that make some other toughcuts great candidates for braising. High-heat roasting can dry it out andtoughen it further.

Perhaps the best way to approach eye of round islow-temperature roasting. Season the meat well to start—as a lean cut, it needsa little help in the flavor department. After searing on all sides to brown theexterior, put the roast in a 200-225° oven (ideally using a probe thermometerto monitor progress) until it hits 130° or whatever your preference is. Restfor 15-20 minutes and slice thinly.

The end result: A tender, juicy roast that’ll feed yourfamily without breaking the bank (it’s as cheap as $3.49 a pound at some of mylocal markets). And the leftovers make for delicious roast beefsandwiches.

Photo courtesy of Ned Raggett on Flickr.