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When cooked properly, grilled top sirloin has the beefy flavor of pricier steaks but at a more gentle cost. Sirloin steaks come from the top sirloin roast, part of the sirloin primal, behind the loin and the flank. Top sirloin is more tender than plain sirloin, which comes from the round. It is sometimes called New York sirloin steak, shell sirloin steak, and sirloin butt steak. It may also be labeled shell sirloin steak, especially in the Northeast. 

These steaks are a great balance between tender and pleasantly chewy, with a great beefy flavor. This steak can come in a range of sizes: I was happy to find 8-ounce top sirloins, a perfect one-person portion. Top sirloin is excellent on the grill. As long as you don’t overcook it, grilling top sirloin will result in a juicy, flavorful steak that will make your beef lovers very happy. Serve these up with some classic sides like Broccoli Orzo Salad, Macaroni Salad, Grilled Asparagus, and Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad. Or for an interesting summer meal pair these with Grilled Peaches with Burrata.

Serving platter with grilled top sirloin steak and asparagus, macaroni salad, and water glass.

Grilled Top Sirloin Steaks: These steaks are a great balance between tender and pleasantly chewy, with a great beefy flavor. Top sirloin is best cooked to around medium rare for best taste and texture.

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Ingredients

The only ingredients you really need to grill top sirloin steaks are the steak (of course!), salt, and pepper. But then a very simple marinade adds even more flavor.

  • Top sirloin steaks – Look for boneless top sirloin steaks or center-cut steaks. Sirloin steaks simply labeled “sirloin” or “bottom sirloin” tend to be tougher, while top sirloin will result in a more tender grilled steak. Ask a butcher for the most tender sirloin steaks in the market!

For the Marinade

  • Olive or vegetable oil – Added for richness.
  • Minced shallots – We almost always need a member of the onion family to show up!
  • Minced garlic – Just a tablespoon (or two!) adds a little garlicky, spicy kick.
  • Fresh rosemary – A few springs nestled amongst the steaks add a lovely piney, herbal flavor.
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper – Of course!
Top sirloin steaks marinating in oil and herbs on white plate.

Best Type of Top Sirloin to Buy

The USDA has designated three grades of meat. USDA Prime is the highest grade, with only about 2% of the beef in the U.S. earning that label. Prime meat has the most marbling, or fat, throughout the meat, which provides the best flavor and the most tender consistency. It’s not all that easy to find, especially for top sirloin steaks.

Your next best option is the Choice grade, which is much more readily available. It’s a bit leaner, but still of very good quality.

The grade Select is below Choice and will be leaner still but also less expensive. However, because top sirloin is a reasonably priced cut of steak, the difference shouldn’t be all that notable.

Look for top sirloin steaks with a deep pink to red color. Avoid meat that is brownish in color — it might just have been cut less recently, but it also may mean the meat is older. Obviously, check expiration dates on packaged meats. Don’t buy packaged steaks with a lot of red juice in them, which may indicate that they were frozen poorly. The result could be dry or spongy steaks. Avoid any meat that smells off in any way.

How to Grill Top Sirloin Steak

  1. Marinate the steak: Combine the marinade ingredients in a large container. Add the steaks and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
Raw top sirloin steaks on white plate with oil and herb marinade.
  1. Prepare the grill: Let the steaks sit at room temp while you heat the grill and oil the grill rack.
  2. Grill the steaks: Season the steaks and grill them until the steaks are done to your liking.
Top sirloins steak on hot grill.
  1. Rest the steaks and serve: Let the steaks rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Slicing grilled top sirloin steak on plate with asparagus and macaroni salad.

How Long to Cook Top Sirloin Over Direct High Heat

Buy a meat thermometer! It will make your life so much easier. These times and internal temperatures take into account the fact that the temperature of the meat will continue to climb by several degrees once the steak is removed from the heat to a cutting board. So, the times are guidelines to know when to take the meat off the grill, and the temps will be about 5 degrees higher once the steaks have rested for 5 to 10 minutes.

Sirloin streaks are great on the grill, but again, with a steak that can get tough when overcooked, rare to medium-rare is the way to go. Marinating sirloin steaks can also increase the tenderness. It is more important to aim for the correct internal temperature than to be overly dependent on a timer. 

Thickness                    Doneness                              Time
½-inch thickRare (125 F)1-2 minutes per side
½-inch thickMedium-Rare (130 F)2-3 minutes per side
½-inch thickMedium (135 F)3-4 minutes per side
1-inch thickRare (125 F)3-4 minutes per side
1-inch thickMedium-Rare (130 F)4-6 minutes per side
1-inch thickMedium (135 F)6-8 minutes per side
1 ½-inch thickRare (125 F)5-6 minutes per side
1 ½-inch thickMedium-Rare (130 F)6-8 minutes per side
1 ½-inch thickMedium (135 F)8-9 minutes per side
2-inch thickRare (125 F)6-8 minutes per side
2-inch thickMedium-Rare (130 F)8-9 minutes per side
2-inch thickMedium (135 F)9-11 minutes per side
Sirloin steak doneness temperatures and time, based on thickness.
Grilled top sirloin steak on plate with asparagus and utensils.

Using the Touch Method to Test Steak Doneness

If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you’ll need to give your steaks a poke to see how done they are. And you’ll need to know what the consistency of a rare steak vs. a medium steak feels like when you poke it! Steak expert Bill Rice, author of the Steak Lover’s Cookbook, offers these guidelines:

  • For Rare: Let one hand hang limp. With the index finger of the other hand, push gently into the soft triangle of flesh between the thumb and index finger of the hanging hand. It will offer very little resistance, give way easily, and feel soft and spongy.
  • For Medium-Rare: Extend one hand in front of you and spread out the fingers. Press the same spot with the index finger of the other hand. The flesh will be firmer but not hard, springy, and slightly resistant.
  • For Medium: Make a fist and press the spot. It will feel firm and snap back quickly, offering only a minimum of give, as does meat cooked to medium.

How to Get Perfect Crosshatch Grill Marks

Clean the grill very well, scrubbing it with a grill brush. Then, oil the grill by dipping a clean paper towel into a little bowl of vegetable oil and, using grilling tongs, rubbing it over the grates.

Place the steaks on the grill on the diagonal, at about a 45-degree angle. Grill for about 4 minutes, pressing on the steak gently with a spatula occasionally. Use the tongs to rotate the steaks 90 degrees (a quarter turn) so the angle of the steaks on the grill is about 45 degrees in the other direction. You are looking to create diamond patterns with the grill marks. 

Flip the steaks and grill the steaks the same way, at a 45-degree angle to the grill bars. After a few minutes, turn the steaks another 90 degrees (a quarter turn) so that the grill marks form the same diamond crosshatch pattern on the other side. 

Top sirloin steaks cooking on a hot grill.

FAQs

How much steak to serve per person?

An average serving of steak is around 5 to 8 ounces. While larger top sirloin steaks are available, if you can find smaller ones, you will have nice individual streak portions right off the grill. 

Why let the steak rest before cutting?

All steaks, especially ones with a propensity for toughness, should be allowed to rest after removing them from the grill. Let your steak sit for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into it. This enables the steak to reabsorb the juices, so they don’t pour out onto the cutting board when you slice the meat.

Do you cut sirloin steak with or against the grain?

Make sure to slice the steaks against the grain after resting for maximum tenderness. To find the grain, simply look at the surface of the sirloin and notice how the fibers are running parallel in one direction. You want to cut across the grain, perpendicular to the fibers. This will allow the strands or fibers to be much shorter in each slice, and much easier to chew. You can slice sirloin steak as thin as ¼-inch thick, or slice thicker slices, up to 1 inch.

Does top sirloin need to be marinated?

The steak doesn’t have to be marinated, but a marinade really enhances the appealing beefy flavor of the meat and also promotes tenderness when grilling. Anywhere from 12 to 24 hours is a perfect amount of time, so if you wanted to put the steaks in the simple marinade in the morning, you would have nicely flavored steaks to grill for dinner.

Storage and Leftovers

You can refrigerate an uncooked sirloin steak in its original packaging for up to 4 or 5 days as long as it was freshly cut when you bought it.

To freeze sirloin steaks, remove them from the packaging the day you purchase them and wrap them well in plastic. Label a freezer-proof sealable bag with the name of the food (sirloin steaks, of course) and the date you purchased the steaks, and then place the wrapped steaks in the bag. Squeeze out any excess air, then seal the bag and freeze for up to 9 months.

Leftover cooked steak should be eaten within 4 days. It can also be frozen using the method above for raw steak, for up to 4 months. Leftover top sirloin steak is great for salads and quesadillas, and sandwiches. 

Pulling apart slice of steak and cheese quesadilla.

Sauces for Top Sirloin Steak

You can serve the sirloin plain and simple, especially because the marinade has imparted a nice amount of herbal flavor. But if you want to kick things up a notch, serve a sauce on the side!

What to Serve With Grilled Sirloin Steak

Steakhouse Tomato Salad

Summer Corn, Tomato and Bacon Salad

Ranch Garlic Bread

Cookout table with grilled top sirloin steak on plate with asparagus and macaroni salad.

More Grilled Steak Recipes

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How to Grill Top Sirloin Steaks

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Marinating Time: 12 hours
Total: 12 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 4 People
These steaks are a great balance between tender and pleasantly chewy, with a great beefy flavor. Top sirloin is best cooked to around medium rare for best taste and texture.

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • cup olive or vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 4 (1 ¼-inch thick) sirloin steaks (about 7 to 8 ounces each)

Instructions 

  • In a large container big enough to hold the steak, combine the oil, shallots, garlic, and rosemary sprigs with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Add the steak and turn to coat. Marinate, refrigerated for 12 to 24 hours, turning the steak occasionally if possible. Remove the steaks from the marinade and pat dry. Let sit for about 15 minutes at room temperature.
  • Preheat the grill to medium-high. Carefully oil the grill rack by using grilling tongs to dip a wad of clean paper towels into some vegetable oil, running that over the clean, hot grates.
  • Season the steak generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill the steaks, turning once about halfway through the cooking time for simple grill marks on each side. Or, turn the steaks every two minutes or so, three times in total to achieve cross-hatch grill marks (turn the steaks 90 degrees as you flip them), until the steaks are done to your liking. This should take about 9 to 10 minutes total for rare (120 F internal temperature), 11 to 13 minutes for medium-rare (125 F), and 14 to 16 minutes for medium (130 F).
  • Remove the steak from the grill to a cutting board. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing it across the grain.

Notes

  • For Rare: Let one hand hang limp. With the index finger of the other hand, push gently into the soft triangle of flesh between the thumb and index finger of the hanging hand. It will offer very little resistance, give way easily, and feel soft and spongy.  
  • For Medium-Rare: Extend one hand in front of you and spread out the fingers. Press the same spot with the index finger of the other hand. The flesh will be firmer but not hard, springy, and slightly resistant.  
  • For Medium: Make a fist and press the spot. It will feel firm and snap back quickly, offering only a minimum of give, as does meat cooked to medium.

Nutrition

Calories: 481kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 50g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 17g, Cholesterol: 138mg, Sodium: 422mg, Potassium: 838mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 3IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 77mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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