I love finding and promoting an underrated cut of beef, and steak tips are one of those cuts. I was introduced to these delicious treats at a friend’s barbecue, and I’ve been obsessed ever since.
So what are steak tips?
Steak tips can be seen as a leftover kind of meal, but, in my opinion, they’re so delicious that they deserve to be the star of the show. I hope, by the end of this, you’ll agree with me.
By the end of this article, you will know:
- What steak tips are
- Where in the steer they come from
- How to cook steak tips
What are Steak Tips?
Steak tips are small, bite-sized pieces of steak often cut from parts of the sirloin like the tri-tip and the coulotte. But they can also come from the flank steak. These pieces of steak have a robust beefy flavor and soft texture because of the tender, flavorful cuts they originate from.
Steak tips get their name from their origin story. Dishes using steak tips came about when people needed to find a use for smaller pieces of steak that were trimmed off a cut during portioning. This evolved into a purposeful cut after people realized how delicious and versatile they were.
Where Do Steak Tips Come From?
As you can see from the quick answer above, steak tips are primarily taken from the sirloin. But they can come from other areas, too, including New York Strip, ribeye, and other steaks found in the short loin.
Essential steak tips, which are a New England classic, came about as a way to use trimmings left over from portioning a larger cut.
For instance, a butcher needs to cut slices of sirloin steak that are even and a good shape, so they cook consistently; in doing so, he will chop off pieces that are smaller and usually taken from cutting off the tapering ends of the sirloin.
This can happen with any cut of steak, so steak tips are a great way to ensure these delectable nuggets don’t go to waste.
Since they are bite-sized, steak tips work really well for tacos, kebabs, grilling, and finger foods.
Best Way to Cook Steak Tips
My favorite thing about steak tips is that they are perfect for a quick weeknight meal. They are so tender and delicious that it will feel like you’re treating yourself with the minimal effort put into making the dish.
If you use a one-pot meal prep method, they will even help you save on the clean-up after cooking! And that’s why I’m such a fan of steak tips; they’re super versatile and save you a lot of time and money.
There are three main ways I like to cook my steak tips, which I’ll describe in a minute. But before attempting any of these cooking techniques, I urge you to take one more step and marinade your steak tips first. This will impart a lot of flavor to the meat.
For a marinade, I like to use some toasted aromatics, seasonings, and a mix of herbs and spices. The liquid element will depend on what cuisine I’m cooking, but some examples are soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup.
I love getting steak tips out when I’m grilling! As I mentioned before, this is how I was introduced to steak tips, so they will probably always be my favorite. The way the smoke of the grill works with the beefy flavor is just second to none.
Here is a simple way to cook steak tips on the grill in kebabs:
- Marinade overnight if possible; this is crucial when grilling steak tips to get the best flavor.
- Soak the skewers you’re going to use in water to prevent them from burning.
- Place 5-6 pieces of steak onto each skewer and place them on a very hot grill.
- Rotate the skewers 90 degrees every two minutes to brown the meat evenly.
- When they reach an internal temperature of 130° F (give or take depending on your doneness preference), remove them from the grill and let them rest for 5-10 minutes.
There are so many dishes you can use to braise steak tips. All you need is the right prepping of the meat and a liquid for them to bubble in for a few hours. The meat will fall apart and be melt-in-the-mouth tender by the end of cooking.
Braising steak tips is simple:
- Season the steak tips with salt and pepper.
- Place in a hot frying pan with some oil and brown on both sides.
- Set aside while you prepare the braising liquid; this may be stock, wine, coconut milk, and various other liquids.
- Return to the sauce and let it cook uncovered for a few hours on a low simmer.
- Once the sauce has been recused by half, pull it off the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes.
As with most steak, steak tips also work great with just a quick sear. My favorite thing to do is marinade my steak in some Mexican spices like dried chilis, coriander, and cumin before searing them really well. Then I pop them in some tacos with some guacamole, salsa, and sour cream, and you have one delicious dinner!
To sear steak tips:
- Marinade your steak tips overnight in your chosen marinade.
- Heat a skillet with a glug of olive oil over high heat until smoking hot.
- Place in the steak tips and sear until golden brown. Rotate halfway to brown on all sides.
How to Buy Steak Tips
Since steak tips are underrated, they’re also very affordable! They are seen as a secondary cut, which comes with a great price. Fast, delicious, and cheap? What more could you want?
There are three options for buying steak tips:
I am always a champion of using your local butcher. They tend to be small businesses, and the experience is totally different from a supermarket. Chatting with your butcher about what you’re looking for means you get precisely what you need, and you get to learn all about it straight from a professional.
I’ve spent a while getting to know my butcher, and sometimes I feel I’ve learned more about steak from him than I did at cooking school!
Since their butchery is done in-house, you’re sure to find steak tips on their shelves, but if you don’t, all you need to do is ask.
Access to good quality steak can be hard to acquire, depending on where you live; that’s where online butchers come in!
Online butchers are usually locally based and provide you with a large range of cuts that may not be easy to find at a grocery store. It will be delivered straight to your door in a refrigerated package; what could be more convenient?
Here are some us based online butcheries that stock steak tips:
Supermarkets are the most accessible source of meat for most consumers, so don’t worry if this is your only option. Steak tips can be found in your supermarket meat section relatively easily.
If your supermarket butchers are in-house, the likelihood that they will stock steak tips will be higher because they will be looking to make use of their trimmings.
So, to sum things up, steak tips are trimmed portions from the sirloin or other cuts of meat, usually from the sirloin. (They may be sold as “sirloin tips.”) They’re an underrated cut of steak that is tender and delicious when cooked right. All it needs is a good marinade before grilling, searing, or braising.
These little mouthfuls of steaky goodness are too good to miss, so why not pick up some for yourself the next time you’re in the mood for steak?