Every Sirloin Beef Cut Explained And The Best Ways To Prepare/Cook Them

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This article will explain the sirloin section of the cow, and the best ways to prepare or cook the cuts. With this article, you will get a clear understanding on each cut, and be able to identify them better when shopping for them in the grocery store or buying them from a meat dealer. This will also help you prepare and cook them better if you have these cuts in a restaurant.


Sirloin section cut of a cow.

The sirloin section of the cow is the section located in between the short loin section and the round section. It sits above the flank section of the cow. It makes up about 9% of the cow. There are some prized cuts that are taken from this section that can be very tender and lean, and somewhat similar to the short loin section. However, in general, sirloin isn’t as tender and juicy as the rib section. Also, the short loin section is more valuable than the sirloin section. The cuts in the sirloin section range from tender to tough, depending on how the meat is cooked and which parts are used.

Sirloin uses:

The sirloin section is used to make steaks, filets, and some pieces for stew, kabob, salads, tacos and other dishes.


Tender to tough in texture, which is also dependent on how it is cooked.

Best cooking methods:

Cutting the sirloin into sections and grilling it (steaks), roasting it, or cooking them in a pot or skillet are the best cooking methods for sirloin. If the entire sirloin is going to be cooked, it should be cooked at low temperatures for hours to help break down tough tissues and provide more tenderness.


Make sure outer layer of fat on the sirloin isn’t too thick. If it is, then trim it down. Also, gristle, sinew, silver skin and connective tissues need to be thoroughly removed or avoided.

Top sirloin steak

Top sirloin steaks are steaks that are cut straight from the top sirloin section. These steaks include all of the cuts in the top sirloin section, as the top sirloin roll is just taken and cut into steaks of any desired thickness. These steaks are fairly large to very large, and are suitable for feeding many people. This steak includes the top sirloin center cut and the sirloin cap (the picanha or coulotte). These steaks are usually boneless and without the tenderloin. The tenderloin runs through the short loin section and the sirloin section. This is often taken out as a whole piece and prepared separately, as it is the most tender part of the cow.

Top sirloin steak uses:

The top sirloin steak is eaten as a steak, but can be eaten as a whole by many. It can be cut into smaller pieces after it is cooked.


Tender to somewhat tough in texture, depending on cooking. Also, the connective tissues in between the steak can be chewy.

Best cooking methods:

The top sirloin steak is best cooked at medium-high to high temperatures on a grill. The cooking times vary on the size and thickness of the steak. Just be careful to not cook it too long to the point that it becomes tough and chewy.


Ensure that the outer layer of fat on the sirloin roll is trimmed off well enough before cutting the top sirloin section into steaks. There is sometimes a section of fat on the edge of the sirloin roll, which can be cut off before or after slicing the sirloin roll into large steaks.

Sirloin steak

The sirloin steak comes from the center cut of the sirloin roll. It is not the same thing as the picanha steak. After the sirloin roll has been divided up into the sirloin cap (picanha) and the top sirloin (the center cut), it is trimmed up. Sirloin steaks can then be made from the top sirloin section after the baseball cut (we will coverwhat this is later) has been cut off. Steaks can then be cut from the remaining top sirloin meat of any desired thickness to make top sirloin steaks. Usually the steaks are a little over an inch in thickness.

Top sirloin steak uses:

Sirloin steaks are of course eaten as steaks.


The sirloin steak is known as a tender lean steak, but can be tough if cooked incorrectly or with gristle on it.

Best cooking methods:

Sirloin steaks aren’t that big and perform well when cooked on a grill at high temperatures.


Ensure that the connective tissues, fat, silver skin, and gristle have been removed from the surface of the sirloin before cutting this portion into sirloin steaks.

Baseball steak cut

The baseball cut is a portion in the sirloin section of the cow that is cut from the top sirloin section’s center cut after the center cut has been separated from the picanha. This is the same center cut section where sirloin steaks are cut from. There is a seam in the center cut of the meat where the baseball cut is cut along, that separates the baseball cut from the rest of the center cut.

When it is separated, it looks like a log made of red beef. Once the gristle has been removed, the baseball cut can be cut into steak filets known as baseball steaks. The steaks are usually a little more than an inch in thickness.

Baseball cut uses:

The baseball cut is used to make baseball steak filets. It can also be roasted as a whole. The baseball cut can also be cut into meat for kabobs, or the left over pieces that are too small can be used for kabobs.


Somewhat tender with decent flavor.

Best cooking methods:

The baseball cut as a whole is best roasted. However, if it is cut into baseball steaks, the steaks are best grilled on a grill at high temperatures for a short period of time.


Ensure that the entire sirloin, before the baseball cut is separated, is well trimmed. Remove the gristle as well to ensure that it isn’t on the steaks after the baseball cut has been separated. Also, the mouse muscle should be removed from the sirloin section too before everything is separated and cut.

Mouse muscle

The mouse muscle is a small muscle that sits on the top of the sirloin top section. It is a small strip of beef about the size of the hand, that is underneath the gristle that covers the top surface of the top sirloin section. It is on the surface side of the center cut, which is the opposite end of the picanha section.

Mouse muscle uses:

The mouse muscle is used to make stir fry and stew.


The mouse muscle is tough in texture.

Best cooking methods:

The beef mouse muscle is best cooked separately from the sirloin top section in a pan for stir fry, or in a pot as stew.

Top sirloin filet

A top sirloin filet is steak filets cut from the center cut of the top sirloin section. After the picanha section has been separated, the center cut can be sliced into long sections and tied with kitchen twine. Then it can be cut into steak filets of the desired thickness. This is done after the baseball cut has been separated from the center. The center cut can be cut in half the long way and cut into more top sirloin steak filets.

Top sirloin steak uses:

It is used of course to make steak filets.


Top sirloin filets are decently tender. The top sirloin steak filets aren’t as good as the tenderloin filets in tenderness, but they can still be pretty good.

Best cooking methods:

Top sirloin steak filets are best cooked at high temperatures on a grill or in a skillet.


Make sure that all of the gristle has been removed on top of and in between the center cut of the top sirloin section before the meat is cut into steak filets.

Sirloin top cap (coulotte)

The sirloin cap is from the sirloin section of the cow and from top sirloin section. This is also known as the picanha or coulotte. It is separated from the top sirloin by pulling it apart from the center cut and using a knife to cut as needed when necessary to completely separate it. The cut is shaped like a curved triangle and has a fat cap on the top of it. This is the most prized part of the top sirloin section.

Sirloin cap uses:

The sirloin cap is used for making prized steaks and for roast. Steaks can be made by slicing pieces from the sirloin cap.


The sirloin cap is known as a tender and flavorful cut.

Best cooking methods:

The sirloin cap can be roasted as a whole or it can be cut into steaks, which can be grilled on a grill at high temperatures, or cooked in a skillet.


Make sure that all silver skin is removed, especially from the opposite end of the fat cap (the layer of fat that is left on the sirloin cap after it is separated from the center cut) on the sirloin cap. Connective tissues also need to be removed, and the fat cap may need to be trimmed to an appropriate amount if it is too thick. The fat cap should be left on for flavor.

Ball tip (petite sirloin)

The ball tip is a small piece on the cow in the sirloin section that is taken off of the bottom part of the sirloin section, once the hip bone has been removed. It is right next to the round section of the cow. This piece of meat is trimmed really well and then cut into small steaks known as ball tip steaks or petite sirloin steaks. It is boneless and usually cheap in price. The ball tip as a whole is small enough to almost make one big steak on its own, but usually too thick.

Ball tip uses:

The ball tip meat is used for making petite steaks. The ball tip can also be roasted as a whole.


The ball tip isn’t very tender.

Best cooking methods:

The ball tip cooked as a whole, works best when it is roasted. However, when petite sirloin steaks are made from the ball tip, it works better at high temperatures on a grill or in a skillet. Marinating the ball tip beforehand works great for this cut.


The tri-tip is a cut of beef that is located in the sirloin section of the cow, in the bottom sirloin area. It is connected to the top sirloin section before it is cut off. It sticks from the sirloin section in the shape of a thorn before it is cut off, giving it its three tips.

Tri-tip uses:

The tri-tip is used for many things. The meat can be used for stir fry, it can be used for taco meat, stew, deli meat, or salads. Steaks are also made from the tri-tip, but they are usually very small.


The tri-tip is known to be pretty tender, but no so flavorful.

Best cooking methods:

When tri-tip is cooked as a whole, it performs best when it is slow cooked at low temperatures around 250 degrees Fahrenheit. It is usually cooked for 3 to 5 hours this way. Afterwards, the meat can be cut into steaks or used for other uses. If the the tri-tip is cut into steaks before it is cooked, then it can be grilled on a grill at medium-high temperatures.


Ensure that the tri-tip is well trimmed of outer fat, silver skin, and gristle. A thin fat cap can be left on the tri-tip for more flavor.

Sirloin bavette

The sirloin bavette (bottom sirloin flap) is a cut taken from the bottom sirloin section of the cow. It is coarse, but has good marbling (intramuscular fat) in the muscle tissue. The cut is shaped like a flap or a bib. This flap is not the same cuts in the flank section of the cow, even though it sits right next to it.

Sirloin bavette uses:

The sirloin bavette can be used to make roast, or it can be cut into steaks by cutting the section into three parts. The three parts can then be sliced again to make steaks. For bigger steaks, the three parts can be left uncut. When the meat is cut into steaks, it is cut with the grain instead of against the grain like most steak cuts are cut.


Bavette sirloin meat is more on the tough side, especially if it isn’t trimmed well. The meat can be juicy if cooked correctly.

Best cooking methods:

Cooking the sirloin bavette at high temperatures for a short period of time yields the best results. If the temperatures are high enough and the meat isn’t too thick, then it can finish cooking on a grill at high temperatures in 20 to 30 minutes when cooked as a whole.


Make sure that the excessive fat is well trimmed off of the outer surface of the sirloin bavette. Also, silver skin needs to be removed.

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