However, I was not without luck as I saw $2.26/lb bottom round roasts. Now I know that when you hear the term bottom round roast your mind conjures up images of tough gristly meat that takes hours to cook in the oven to be tolerable, not what you'd want on a hot summer day. But I was undeterred by the challenge of making something out of a seven dollar bottom round. In fact, I figured that I could make three very diverse meals for my family with this unremarkable meat that would reach far past its common potential.
Day 1 Cutting and Marinade
Considering that this is a tough piece of meat that has virtually no marbling for flavor or softening, I knew that I had to do something to soften it up. Cooking it for the usual 3-4 hours in the oven would prove a killer on a 80 degree summer day, marinading was the only tolerable option. But first, I had to slice it. I knew that to make the next week not feel like the week after Thanksgiving where you're forced to find another use for the same ole turkey, I was going to need to start with variety. One thing about the bottom round is that there is a tough layer of fat along the bottom of the roast. This fat can be useful in shish kabob meat if it's tenderized through some good marination. I also know that this meat cut small and thin can provide good solid stirfry meat, cutting thin is important here. And finally I wanted some of my missing carne asada, possibly because I had some salsa from my hometown Mexican restaurant that came home with me as a birthday present, probably because I still had a jar of it from Christmas that I hadn't managed to use yet.
So I started at the end making full slices which included the fat at the bottom. This would be my carne asada. I kept them somewhere between one quarter and one half inch thick. Occasionally I failed to cut well and ended up with a weird chunk that would surely fall through the cracks on my barbeque. I set this aside for use later. Once I had about 8 decent slices I cut about an inch to inch and a half above the fat through the rest of the roast. The bottom with the fat I cut into one inch squares being sure to include the piece of fat on each square. The rest I sliced first into quarter inch thick pieces, then cut as appropriate to make about three quarter inch strips. In the end I had one piece of meat, cut three very diverse ways like this: