Knowing what part of the carcass your bison meat comes from, and understanding the difference, demystifies the experience of buying and preparing a great steak.
Of the eight main sections – or primal cuts – of a carcass, seven yield individual cuts that are tender enough to be sold as steaks. The rib, short-loin and sirloin are the source for the most premium steak house cuts. However, tender and flavourful steaks also come from other sections like the chuck, plate and flank, and the round (hind quarter).
Over the next few newsletters we’ll review cuts from each section of the carcass and give you tips on how to prepare each one for the best eating experience.
Top Sirloin vs Sirloin Tip
Though both have sirloin in the name, don’t confuse one with the other—these popular cuts come from different areas of the carcass and have very unique characteristics.
Sirloin steaks and roasts are from the largest muscle of the sirloin, which is a continuation of the short loin. The Top Sirloin is literally located at the top of the sirloin section of the carcass, hence the name. Although relatively lean, Top Sirloin is moderately tenderand makes an economical choice for grilling, broiling, sautéing or on the BBQ.
Adjacent to that is the tougher round section where the Sirloin Tip, also known as the Peeled Knuckle, comes from. The round is at the back end, or hindquarter of the bison, which is used for movement so the meat is leaner and less tender. Sirloin Tip is less tender than Top Sirloin but is the most tender of the round cuts. Because it’s low in fat, like a Round Steak, we suggest you marinate for 2-4 hours before cooking, never cook more than medium to avoid toughness, and don’t pierce the surface while cooking. It’s important to keep all those natural juices in while your bison steak rests.
Both cuts are available as steaks or as a roast.
DID YOU KNOW: Butchers often label both these cuts with Sirloin in the name, so be sure to ask if it’s Top Sirloin or Sirloin Tip. Both are great cuts depending on your preparation, but Top Sirloin will be a little more expensive.
How to cook the perfect steak:
About 20 minutes before grilling, remove steaks from the refrigerator and let sit, covered, at room temperature. Heat your grill to high. Brush the steaks on both sides with oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Place the steaks on the grill and cook until golden brown and slightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the steaks over and continue to grill 3 to 5 minutes for medium-rare (an internal temperature of 135°F), 5 to 7 minutes for medium (140°F) or 8 to 10 minutes for medium-well (150°F).
Don’t poke them with anything but your finger – pricking the steaks with a fork causes the steak to release its juices.
Transfer the steaks to a cutting board or platter, tent loosely with foil and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
Top Sirloin Steak with Mustard Shallot Sauce
1½ lbs Noble Premium Bison Top Sirloin (1” thick)
kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 tsps olive oil
2 T Dijon mustard
2 T red wine vinegar
1 shallot, chopped
1 pound green beans
Season the steak with ¾ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook in the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest 5 minutes, then slice against the grain.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, and shallot.
Meanwhile, steam the green beans until tender, 4 to 6 minutes.
Top the steak with the mustard sauce and serve with the green beans.
Adapted from Real Simple.
Marinated Sirloin Tip Roast with Herbs and Wine
Our Sirloin Tip Roast is marinated in dry red wine before being rubbed with seasonings and then roasted to perfection. It's a delicious basic roast bison recipe, and an excellent choice to serve with your favourite mashed potatoes.
1 Noble Premium Bison sirloin tip roast, about 3 pounds
1/2 cup dry red wine1
1/2 tsps salt
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried leaf thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
About 2 hours before roasting, combine the roast and red wine in a food storage bag; refrigerate.
Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl about 10 minutes before roasting time.
Take the roast out of the wine marinade and place it on a rack in baking pan. Rub all over with the herb and seasoning mixture.
Roast at 350°F (175°C) for about 1 - 1 1/2 hours, or until roast is about 135°F on a meat thermometer for medium-rare.
Optional Gravy With or Without Drippings:
Put 2 tablespoons of pan drippings (or use butter) in a saucepan and place it over medium heat. In a cup or small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of water and mix until smooth. Add to the drippings and whisk to blend. Add 2 cups of low sodium beef broth or unsalted stock. Cook, stirring until thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with the roast bison.
Adapted from The Spruce Eats.