During the decade I’ve been on a carnivore diet, I’ve tried all kinds of steaks — from Porterhouse to Sirloin, including ball tip.
Ball tip steak became one of my favorites, and I’ve been cooking this steak several times a month for the past two years.
Today, I’ll explain where this steak comes from and all the best ways to cook it.
- Ball tip steak, also known as sirloin tip steak, petite sirloin, or round tip steak, is a lean and affordable cut from the bottom sirloin butt of the cow, offering a taste similar to top sirloin but with a tougher texture.
- The best cooking methods for ball tip steak include oven roasting, braising, and marinating followed by slow cooking, with the aim to tenderize the lean meat and enhance its flavor.
- To maximize tenderness, the steak should be sliced thinly after cooking, and can be used in a variety of dishes like tacos, fajitas, or sandwiches.
What is Ball Tip Steak?
The ball tip Steak is a cut of beef from the bottom sirloin butt. This is where the tri-tip and flap meat are found. The relatively lean and boneless cut makes it a versatile option for various cooking methods.
Ball tip is also called sirloin tip steak, petite sirloin, or round tip steak if the fat isn’t trimmed . This is one of the more affordable cuts of beef.
However, the ball tip steak isn’t as tender as other premium cuts like the ribeye or filet mignon, so it’s best to marinate or tenderize it to achieve the desired fineness.
But, before we get into the cooking methods, here’s where this steak comes from.
Where Does Ball Tip Steak Come From?
Ball tip steak comes from the top of the cow’s hip bone.
This area is called Sirloin Primal. The Sirloin Primal consists of two sections: the top sirloin butt and the bottom sirloin butt . The ball tip is cut from the bottom sirloin butt.
The bottom sirloin butt is a part of the cow that gets a lot of exercise during a cow’s life, so it is a very lean and tough cut.
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Ball Tip Steak Taste
Ball tip steak tastes similar to Top Sirloin or Sirloin Filet because it’s from the same part of the cow.
Note: If the fat isn’t trimmed from the steak, it’s called a round tip. However, this fat doesn’t give much tenderness or flavor to the steak because the fat on a ball tip isn’t marbled.
Generally, this meat is less tender and of lower quality than more expensive steaks. It’s chewy when grilled but great for making fajitas, tacos, stews, and more.
Ball tip is a tougher cut of meat, but it’s great for marinating because the salt and acid liquids make it tender and change the flavor. The ball tip takes on the flavor of the sauce or marinade you use on it.
You can overcome how lean the meat is by adding butter and olive oil when cooking.
Note: The ball tip has noticeable grain, so it’s best if it’s sliced thinly.
Ball Tip Steak Cooking Methods
After years of testing and experimenting, I’ve rounded out my favorite methods of cooking ball tips.
1. Oven Roasting
You can roast Sirloin tip steak:
- Place the meat on a shallow roasting pan. Insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the steak.
- Roast for up to three hours until the temperature reaches 130 degrees.
- Transfer to a cutting board, and cover with aluminum foil. Let it rest for about 15 minutes.
- Carve the steak. The ball tip is best served cut into slices. Cut across the grain for best tenderness.
Roast ball tip steaks with butter on medium-high heat for maximum tenderness. You can also add veggies and roast them together until soft.
If you have leftovers, you can use them to make beef sandwiches.
You can also braise ball tip boneless cut in a slow cooker or an oven:
- Use a paper towel and pat dry the steak.
- Apply your spice rub or seasoning to the meat.
- Brown the steak on both sides on medium heat and take it out from the pan.
- Saute the vegetables, such as carrots, celery, and onions.
- Once the veggies are soft, add liquid, such as cooking wine, water, or beef broth, and scrape up the brown bits from the pan.
- Return the beef to the pan, and add more liquid if the recipe calls for it.
- Turn down the heat, and cover the pan with a lid.
- The steak is done when the beef is tender. You can remove the meat and vegetables, strain the liquid and combine them with a roux to make a sauce.
The Best Way to Cook Ball Tip
The best way to cook top sirloin steak and bottom, including ball tip, is to marinade it. This is a flavorful cut of meat but isn’t tender, so it needs some help with the texture. Marinading can break down the muscle fibers and soften the meat.
You can use a spiked mallet and pound the meat to tenderize it. Make sure to pound both sides of the steak, so there are dimples in the meat.
Don’t hit too hard, as too much pressure can compress the meat and make it tougher, which is the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.
“You can cut little medallions out of the ball tip, use it for stir fry, or a satay. You can even throw it on a smoker but be careful because it’s lean.”
- Pete Geoghegan, Corporate Chef
Once your meat has dimples, here’s how to tenderize it:
- Cover the meat in coarse salt and leave for 15 minutes. Then rinse off the salt and marinate the steak.
- Use a premade marinade, or combine vinegar, oil, and Worcestershire sauce. Leave the steak in marinade in a resealable plastic bag overnight in the fridge. Make sure there’s enough liquid to cover the steak.
- Roast, braise, or cook the steak in a skillet. Avoid grilling because grilled steak will be too tough even after marinating.
- Make sure the meat is sliced thinly for the most tenderness. You can use the slices to make tacos, fajitas, or sandwiches.
What is Ball Tip Steak Good For?
Ball tip steak is good for making fajitas, stews, and sandwiches. It’s not the best steak for grilling.
Is Ball Tip the Same as Tri-Tip?
No, the ball tip isn’t the same as tri-tip. These cuts come from the same area on the cow, the but ball tip doesn’t have outside fat and less marbling, making it less juicy compared to tri-tip.