Welcome to Eatymology’s Meat Beat where I help myself (and like-minded dummies) build our meat vocabulary, beginning with the 8 (or 9, depending on who’s asking) basic US primal cuts for beef. That’s butcher parlance for the slabs of bloody, lard-marbled, pre-delicious protein stripped from a cowrcas. Note that UK primal cuts and pork primal cuts are different.
Today’s edition: Round.
Like the chuck, the round – yup, the bootylicious cow ass – is a tougher, cheaper cut that requires a slower treatment. Jerky, hamburger, and probably any low-quality steak your school cafeteria served are taken from the round. London Broil is the most notable (and pretty much only) steak that comes from round beef.
Speaking of London Broil – don’t think about ordering it in Great Britain (where, by the way, the round is known as ‘rump’). The origins of this dish are strictly American. London Broil additionally is now so associated with round that it’s virtually synonymous – asking a butcher for London Broil will likely yield a smirk, and a cut of top round, because ‘London Broil’ is braised beef served with potatoes, and not a primal cut. Asking a butcher for top round, on the other hand, would be technically correct.