Thin-sliced bottom round steaks can be cooked in a skillet, but it's easy to over-cook the meat and make the steaks tough. Bottom round steaks come from the beef rump, a tough cut of meat with connective tissue that is best broken down with moist cooking methods such as braising. Rounds steaks are also relatively lean, making them a healthier choice than cuts such as ribeyes. When cooking thin-cut bottom round steaks in a skillet, try a marinade to add flavor, tenderize the meat and provide some moisture while cooking. A meat mallet helps tenderize the steak before cooking.
Lay the bottom round steaks on a cutting board and pound them flat with a meat mallet, concentrating your efforts specifically around the connective tissue that separates the different sections of meat within the steak. If the meat at one end of the steak is thicker, pound it to uniform thickness so the steak cooks evenly.
Place the steak in a bowl with a tight-fitting lid. Pour your choice of marinade over the steak and place it in the refrigerator to marinade for at least 1 hour or overnight. Try a bottled marinade or mix your own with basic ingredients in your pantry. Mix an acidic component such as apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar with a healthy fat such as olive oil or coconut oil, plus your choice of seasonings and spices for extra flavor.
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of cooking oil to line the bottom of the skillet, just enough for lubrication without adding too much additional fat. Preheat the skillet over medium heat. Steak is typically pan-seared over high heat, but medium heat is better to prevent over-cooking thin steaks.
Add the bottom round steak to the preheated skillet. Lower the steak in the skillet away from your body to prevent oil spatters.
Cook the steak for about 3 minutes on the first side or until the steak begins to brown. Flip the steak and cook for another 3 minutes to brown the second side.
Insert a meat thermometer in the center of the steak to check for doneness. Bottom round is most tender when cooked no more than medium-rare, or about 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking, flipping occasionally, until the steak reaches the desired level of doneness. The total cooking time depends on the actual thickness of the steak, so refer to a meat thermometer when gauging the doneness.
Remove the steak from the skillet and allow it to rest for at least 3 minutes to redistribute the juices throughout the steak.