The Versatile Rump of Beef
When we think of rump, we probably tend to visualise large steaks sizzling on the barbecue or grill. Most often seen on steakhouse restaurant menus, rump is generally perceived as a "Man’s size steak", due to the very large portions it produces. The traditional slice of rump steak, cut across the whole primal, yields a cross section of several muscles with the grains running different ways. This results in varying degrees of tenderness across the meat. The fat border, which runs along the curved side, is easily removed if desired. It is perhaps because of these factors that this versatile beef primal cut is passed over for more expensive and tender prime cuts of beef by many chefs and restaurants.
- Beef rump is medium-tender, medium-fine grained and boneless
- There is variation in tenderness throughout the rump
- The meat is lean, with a fat cap on one side
- As a whole primal, it is 4-6kg in weight
It is difficult to carve neatly due to the grain of the whole rump running in different directions, and produces very large slices.
To remedy this last fact, we must look closely at the actual construction of this primal cut. The beef rump is made up of several muscle groups that can be further broken down into smaller pieces, called sub-primal cuts.
When you remove the connective tissue holding these sub-primals together, individual sub-primals can be sliced across the grain to produce smaller, neater, more uniformly tender steaks. These smaller cuts immediately create a much wider range of options for the beef rump, enhancing variety and enabling it to fulfil the needs of most restaurants in some form. From one primal cut, we now have several sub-primal cuts, suitable for a variety of cooking methods.
The underlying muscles (A & B) are generally used for mincing, stewing, or in the production of stocks, soups and sauces. The 'Eye of the Rump’, the ‘Centre Cut’ and the ‘Cap of Rump’ are the cuts that provide many excellent opportunities to create great beef dishes. Imagination, and the application of appropriate cooking techniques, will enable the full utilisation of these sub-primals in Haute Cuisine dishes, warm salads, bistro-style food and a large number of fusion inspirations. Alternatively, they work equally well as simple, tender steaks that are easier to carve and present.
Eye of Rump is a short, lean, log-shaped sub-primal (resembling the middle cut of the beef fillet) with the grain running lengthwise. The eye of the rump is ideally suited to cutting into very attractive medallions, perfect for pan-frying, char-grilling or the barbecue. Once portioned, this cut is easy to present and will suit a variety of preparations, supporting both simple and complicated accompaniments.
Eye of rump is the most tender of the sub-primal cuts and may be roasted whole. The meat should be seared in hot oil and well browned all over, then seasoned before roasting to enhance the meaty flavour. Before carving, remember to rest for 8-10 minutes. Eye of rump is best served rare. For a serving suggestion, place over roasted seasonal vegetables, drizzled with a tasty jus.
Centre Rump is a compact, chunky piece (about 1.4kg) and thicker than the rump eye. If there is a fat cover on it, trim this along with any silverskin. This sub-primal is suitable for roasting, but is less tender than the eye cut. Therefore it requires careful cooking (best served rare), and must be well rested for 10-15 minutes in a warm place, covered, before carving across the grain.
It may also be prepared as centre rump steaks, which, like the roast, are best cooked to rare after grilling or pan-frying over a high heat. Marinating centre rump in a flavoursome mixture containing an acid/enzyme element will further assist tenderness once cooked.
Rump Cap is a flat, almost triangular piece, thinner at one end (ranging from 2-4 cm thick) with a coarser grain, and is the least tender of all the sub-primal cuts. Always remove the fat cap and the underlying gristle from this piece of the rump.
Rump cap can be used as schnitzels, diced for stewing, or cut into braising pieces. It can also be marinated in an acid-based mixture to assist in tenderising, and served thinly sliced in warm salads. Best cooked to rare, rump cap should be well rested prior to slicing, and carved across the grain.
Hints from our Advisory Chef
- Use aged rump
- If frozen, allow to thaw naturally in the fridge on a tray
- Do not leave the raw rump to sit in its own blood or juices for long periods as these may deteriorate at a faster rate than the meat, spoiling the flavour once cooked
- Always trim all sinew and silverskin where possible
- It is difficult to carve neatly due to the grain of the whole rump running in different directions, and produces very large slices
- While some fat is generally OK, remember it may be hiding some tough silverskin underneath
- All the rump sub-primals are best served rare
- Rest all meat before carving and serving
- By breaking up the whole rump into sub-primals, the chef is able to more effectively slice across the grain, enhancing tenderness and eatability
Breaking down the primal rump into sub-primals will produce meat 'trim'. This is excellent for boosting the flavour of meat sauces once the trim has been browned well in a hot pan, then simmered for some time in reduced stock. Be sure to remove the trim from the stock before it breaks up.