The Butcher’s Guide: What is a Top Sirloin?

  • by Omaha Steaks
top sirloin steak on butcher's paper
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The top sirloin is a naturally lean, thick cut of steak with a bold, beefy flavor. This popular steak is delicious on its own, adds huge flavor to recipes, and cooks well with marinades and sauces. Top sirloin is a favorite grilling steak that’s lean enough and affordable enough to enjoy any night of the week. At Omaha Steaks, we call top sirloin our “weeknight steak.”

What gives top sirloin that bold, beefy flavor, leanness and firm texture?

Sirloin Cuts

Top sirloin is more than just a name, it describes the anatomical location of the steak cut. Top sirloins are cut from the sirloin subprimal (one of the subprimals from the beef loin primal cut.) The sirloin subprimal is divided into two distinct sections, the top sirloin butt and the bottom sirloin butt. Our top sirloin steaks are cut from the more tender top portion of this subprimal. The bottom sirloin butt provides tri-tip roasts and tri-tip steaks.

When you buy “sirloin steaks” at a grocery store, they’re not telling you anything about the location or quality of the cut. A true top sirloin steak  (like ours here at Omaha Steaks ) is only from more tender top sirloin butt. They are cut thick and angular and make a great choice for grilling.

Omaha Steaks unique sirloin supremes are cut from the densely marbled tip portion of the top sirloin. Sometimes referred to as picanha, this cut has a strong beef flavor and incredible marbling – a truly amazing combination.

A Naturally Lean Steak

The sirloin is located in an area on the animal that gets more exercise. Therefore, beef from the sirloin subprimal will have less marbling and a firmer texture than a non-weight bearing muscle, like the tenderloin (filet mignon). That’s not a bad thing, and it does not mean “tough.” Lots of steak lovers prefer a firmer steak with more bite.

This unique location makes the top sirloin a lean steak that is high in protein with a robust beefy flavor. Top sirloin is a great choice for high protein diets, keto, paleo, or people counting macronutrients.

Aging Tenderizes a Top Sirloin

Top sirloin is firmer than a filet mignon, yes. But it’s a fantastic steak, and the tenderness can be maximized through aging. Our 21-28 day aging process allows the tissue in the muscle to break down and create natural tenderness in the beef.  Omaha Steaks offer the tenderest of top sirloin available with our aging process.

How to Cook a Top Sirloin

A fast cooking method with high dry heat (like grilling) is the best cooking method for top sirloins – you’ll get that flavorful, fantastic sear. Be careful not to overcook this lean steak – because it’s lean, it dries out more easily. Our chefs recommend cooking a top sirloin to medium-rare doneness to retain maximum tenderness. Because of the leanness of this steak, avoid cooking higher than 140 degrees (or medium doneness).

When grilling a top sirloin, follow this steak cooking chart or download the Omaha Steaks app with a built-in timer to cook your steak to a perfect medium-rare doneness.  You can also cook a top sirloin indoors with one of these four indoor steak cooking methods.

Experiment with rubs, marinades and sauces, like this chimichurri recipe, to enhance the beefiness of the top sirloin.  Try sirloin tips for robust, beefy meals, stews, and stir-fries. This recipe for dijon steak and potatoes with green beans can be made with sirloin tips for a delicious meal. 

King Cut Top Sirloin

For an epic top sirloin experience, try our 72 oz. King Cut Top Sirloin. Cut from the flavorful center of the top sirloin, this is a one-of-a-kind top sirloin experience. The King Cuts are ideal for grilling or smoking and are a new way to enjoy your favorite steak.

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