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Nov 6, 2012 10:28 AM

Top Sirloin Roast confusion...

Just got what looks like a really nice top sirloin roast so I invited a couple of friends over for dinner tomorrow night. I've been searching for info on this cut but after much reading I'm even more confused.

Is it a tender cut? If not, best recos on how to improve tenderness... I have enough time to plan in advance. Also... to sear or not to sear?

As for length of time to cook... Everyone seems to have a different opinion. One site's recommendation is to cook at 325 for 40 minutes for medium/rare. It's not that big - about 1.2kg. Help!!

I'd like to do an interesting side. Bonus points for your favourite veg suggestions. I was thinking mashed potatoes with carmelized carrots, onions and portobellos but that feels a bit heavy.

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  1. Hi Moimoi, to be perfectly honest, the top sirloin cut might not be the medium rare tender experience you may want for your guests - in my experience this has been the case with that cut. In order to get the most from it, I'd sear it off in a hot pan with some grapeseed oil (you can get higher temps out of it rather than olive oil but olive oil is fine) and your favourite seasonings then slow cook it at 275°F for as long as you can - around 4 hours. 2 hours uncovered, then 2 hours wrapped in foil. I did a video slow cooking some bottom blade roasts and they turned out fall apart tender.

    You could make a wicked gravy from the au jus you're going to get from cooking it with this method and the veg you mentioned sound great. Any kind of roasted root veg this time of year go awesome with beef. I'd maybe do roast parsnips with brown sugar on them to candy them a bit and do bacon and onion pan fried brussel sprouts.

    Let us know how it turns out whichever way you decide to do it!

    3 Replies
    1. re: NonStickSteel

      Thanks Nonsticksteel, glad I asked... I have a fairly full day tomorrow, so given the four hour roasting reco, would it deter from the tenderness if I were to roast it for a couple of hours in the morning, put it in the fridge and then finish the last two hours before dinner? It sounds kind of icky even asking, but not sure I will have the window to roast for four hours straight. Guess I should have bought that slow cooker.

      1. re: Moimoi

        Then you could always go with the advice naughtygirl gives below if you're pressed for time. Again, in my experience, I've not come across a beautifully tender top sirloin roast unless it was slow roasted. That's not to say it doesn't exist though! LOL I've also done prime rib roasts by throwing it in an oven at 550°F (or as high as yours will go) and cooking the roast at that temp for 30 minutes, then shutting the oven completely off and letting it cook for an additional hour using the ambient heat. You can't open the oven during that time though or you'll let the heat escape.

        1. re: Moimoi

          Oh and to answer your question, I wouldn't recommend that. Best to cook straight from fresh.

      2. I completely disagree. Top Sirloin is a delicious cut of meat, served rare/medium rare. We eat it all the time. Cut slits in it, push in pieces of garlic, then put a rub on it. If you have the Webber Big Book of Grilling cookbook this recipe is in there for Prime Rib. I get RAVE reviews every time I make it. Just be careful to not overcook it. Buy a thermometer, it will dry out if overcooked(due to lack of fat). I don't make gravy with this recipe as there is too much salt, alternatively cut the salt. But delicious with horseradish mayo! I think that you would probably only need around an hour to cook this, or less. I start at 400 for 15-20 min and then put it down to 350.

        2 Replies
        1. re: naughtygirl

          Okay... so I made it. As evidenced in both opinions, there is a great range of opinion on this cut of meat. Given my time restraints I followed naughtygirl's instruction and it worked. I first seared the roast on all sides the stove top, then roasted at 400 for 15 minutes and only for about 10 minutes at 350. The only reason I stopped it at 10 was because I checked the meat thermometer and it was already showing medium. I regret not roasting it fat side up, but I forgot... The only thing I'll do differently next time is buy a digital thermometer with an alarm that goes off at the desired degree. Nonsticksteel was right though... the meat experience I was imagining was not really achieved, but for the price, I honestly wasn't embarrassed or disappointed. The caramelized onions, portobellos and carrots were excellent.. sprinkled with fresh parsley made it taste less heavy. Dessert... lemon cupcakes with seven minute frosting. Guests plastered their cupcakes with warm frosting right from the double boiler... Fun was had by all... p.s. Wish I had a bbq... Watched Nonsticksteel's video on roasting.... looked delish. Thank you both for your input.... it was a great lesson and exercise.

          1. re: Moimoi

            Glad it worked out for you! Wish we could see pics! :P


        2. unless top sirloin is the name of a different cut in my part of ohio, then i have to respectfully disagree with other posters. i love top sirloin medium rare. sure its not as tender as a filet, but it is not riddled with connective tissue. plus it has, IMO, i great beefy flavor and a pleasing texture. plus its usually fairly affordable.

          1. Top Sirloin, also known as Whole Top Butt Sirloin, can be a very good choice for a Roast Beef if you take the time to roast low and slow. There are many recipes calling for temperatures from 170-200* roasted over many hours depending on size.

            The cut is also known as *The Poor Man's Prime Rib*

            As an alternative, you can also have prepare them as steaks.....I recently made one with the reverse sear process. Pictures of the results can be seen here:


            13 Replies
            1. re: fourunder

              Hi fourunder,
              I've been doing some research and I really want to try low heat. I came across some of your comments and it sounds like you have some experience in what I am hoping to do.

              I'm having a dilly of a time finding a per lb at 170F estimate.

              I have a tied up spoon roast (apparently, also known as top butt sirloin) and I have been searching and searching and having a difficult time determining just a guesstimate of expected cooking time.

              I mean to test the internal temp using a thermometer, but I'd like to have just an idea of when to start the cooking.

              I would like it to cook as slowly as possible.

              I want to try cooking at my gas oven's lowest setting 170F (I've recently moved in, so I don't know my oven very well. I a not familiar with its quirks yet, but I know the minimum is 170).

              I have all day to cook it, but I doubt something this small will take all day.

              Goal is for a nice even rare with a thin grey edge and an outside crust..
              I absolutely do not want the temp to ever go over 145. I much prefer rare, and I will be sad if it hits medium.

              Based on many things you've said, and things I've read elsewhere,
              - I'll sear it first, because it is smallish,
              - then place it in a 250F oven and
              - reduce the heat to 170F.
              - I plan to remove it at internal temp of 125 and
              - let it rest maybe 30-45 mins (whilst I am making the sides)
              - I don't want the roast ready to be plated before 5pm, nor do I want to find myself tapping my foot at the oven at 11 oc'oclock at night.

              Roast is 4.2lb spoon roast (about 4 inches tall in the middle).

              From reading way too many articles, I don't know if I should expect 3 or 4 hours or even 8 hours in the oven.

              My guess is about 4 hours in the oven? Maybe?
              Do you have an educated guess, you can share?

              1. re: marinaoat

                HI mainaoat. I can tell you right off the bat that "low and slow" cooking does not yield rare results. What you will get is a fully cooked, ultra tender (think pulled pork style) piece of beef if you cook it at low temps for long periods of time. If you're looking for rare beef with a nice crust, you need high temps right from the get go to sear the meat and leave it rare internally.

                I would recommend the method of 25 minutes at 500°F then turn the oven off and let it cook in the ambient heat for 20 minutes per pound (1 hour 20 min). DO NOT open the oven to check on it until you're ready to take the temp towards the end of the cook. I've used this method with prime rib roast and it was beautiful.

                120°F - 125°F internal is rare by the way, so you'll want to take it out and rest it for 20 minutes when it reaches 115°F.


                1. re: NonStickSteel

                  Thank you nonsticksteel, I was looking for a way that allowed me to keep the oven on, since the gas stove has a lot of places for heat to escape, so I could use the method mentioned.

                  Reporting back results on what I ultimately did:

                  4.2lb spoon roast (about 4 inches tall in the middle).

                  - roast left uncovered in fridge overnight
                  - taken out of fridge, patted dry, rubbed with olive oil, paprika (both smokey hot and mild varieties), italian herb blend, fresh ground pepper, and lightly sprinkled with kosher salt
                  - then left to come to room temp sitting in a rack in the roasting pan for 1 hr
                  - 30 mins before cooking, preheated to 250 and allowed to heat for half hour while meat continued its coming to room temp
                  - roast in oven, temp turned down to 170
                  - checked internal temp periodically, starting at 3 hrs
                  - it was ready to come out at 4hrs 35 mins
                  - broiled at 500 for about 5 to 10 mins to crisp fat (this one had fat)
                  - out of oven and tented to rest 45 mins in roasting pan

                  It worked like a charm, not quite rare, but had the right texture, being amazingly tender (my fella said, like buttah), so it didn't matter.
                  I was discombobulated to find my meat thermometer's lowest temp was 140, so I had to try to guess at the temp.

                  If it had gone over 145 it would've been turned into chili or cottage pie tomorrow and the pizza guy would've been summoned, tonight.

                  Luckily, it was perfect and definitely "having company" worthy, for the future.

                    1. re: marinaoat


                      Very nice Roast ! ! !.

                      As you can see, the low and slow method is tried and true and produces very nice results. It's quite evident that it is possible to produce a rare, or medium-rare roast, that is both tender and flavorful.

                      The only difference in my approach from the one you outlined,.... is the way you held the roast when you determined it hit the target temperature, which may or may not have ultimately affected the carryover heat and finished results....if I'm mistaken about any of this, please correct me and the information.

                      When my roast hits the target temperature, I either pull the roast and cover with a stainless steel bowl and wrap with a large bath towel.....or I simply turn off to hold inside, or down, to the lowest setting of 140* hold and keep the roast warm inside the oven. After the holding period for a minimum of 60 minutes, I would then reintroduce the roast back into the oven for the high heat blast. The advantage of the extra step is that during the holding period, and after the carryover effect is completed during this time, the cooking process also stops and the juices are then allowed to be redistributed throughout the beef. If you sliced the meat at this point, you would see minimal bleeding, just like in the pictures provided in the threads I listed for you above. By doing the high heat blast just before serving, you do not cook up the roast .... effectively you are just warming up the beef for more pleasant serving.

                      If I understood your steps outlined above.....I suspect when you hit your target temperature and increased the oven to the 500* setting for the 10 minutes, you were able to put a nice crust on the beef, but you also increased greatly, the interior temperature of the roast which resulted in the roast advancing to the next level of medium-rare, rather than staying at your intended target temperature range of other words, rather than a minimal or modest carryover effect of (3-7)degrees......instead with the 500* blast, the carryover effect hit double digits(10-15) which resulted in it being closer to the medium-rare range, rather than rare.

                      You did a great job! ! !

                        1. re: NonStickSteel

                          I'll start by saying it is nice of you to come back and state this. While I have a preference for the low and slow method of roasting meat.....there are many others who prefer the high heat beginning, then oven off method....and moderate heat oven roasting as well. I've mentioned in the past that there is no right or wrong.

                          I am curious as to why you stated it's not possible to roast low and slow to rare temperature? Isn't the final result of any roast just a combination of time and heat temperature used in a controlled environment...regardless of process?

                          For anyone interested why I prefer the low and slow approach is .......The difference between the low and slow process....and the other moderate or high heat methods is simply the low and slow method mimics the dry aging process to concentrate the beef flavor and uses inherent enzymes to break down the connective tissues and act as natural tenderizers. The end result is beef with softer texture and less chew that is different than with meat using the higher temperature...which can also be tender, but has slightly more chew and firmer, tighter texture

                        2. re: fourunder

                          Ahh I didn't see the notice that this was replied to.
                          That sounds like an excellent idea (blasting after resting).
                          I'm making another tonight; I will try that!
                          Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. It really has given me so much more confidence in roast making.

                          1. re: marinaoat

                            You pretty much have prepared your roast the same as I would, so there's no need for any more advice, other than to say rest the meat for at least an hour, but two is preferred.

                            Have a look here to see my steps outlined for roasting beef, pork, lamb or turkey......the thread is about specific beef roasting, but the principles are the same.


                      1. re: NonStickSteel

                        I often cook top sirloin low and slow, with medium rare results. I sear it off, then put it in the oven at 250.

                        1. re: marinaoat


                          Based on many things you've said, and things I've read elsewhere, .....

                          Sorry I was not available and it's now past your time and date for this roasting......but you pretty much nailed the low and slow process for a small cut of beef (5#s and under). Over 5#s, then you start to consider using high heat of 450* for 10-20 minutes to brown in beginning of the roasting phase.

                          The only differences I could see with your final assessments that would be different for me would be the following:

                          * For Rare temperature, I would pull at 115-120, depending on size and cut of meat.

                          * I find resting meat longer at a minimum of 60 minutes to 120 minutes, again depending on the size and cut of meat, from smaller to larger. As a result, I always include the resting period as part of my preparation. If the roast hits temperature sooner than expected, you can simply pull from the oven and cover....or you can drop you oven down to the lowest warm setting ( 140* ) to hold the roast until you need the oven for sides....then pull the roast and cover, or tent with foil or other type of kitchen vessel. I simply use a stainless steel mixing bowl or pot inverted.

                          * Your guesstimate of 4 hours was close. To bee safe, I would have made my first check at the 3 hourish mark....I would have expected the roast to finish between the 4.5-6 hour mark for a boneless roast @ 170*. To be honest though I do not have much experience with using 170*. Generally, the lowest setting I use for a similar cut has been 190* such, i would have made my initial check @ the 2.5-3.5 hour mark.

                          * my experience with very low oven temperature roasting has not always been positive . I have found roasting below 190* has an unintended result for the outer layer of beef, i.e., the texture of the outer crust tends to be dry and with a *jerky* feel and texture. However, this can be eliminated by searing in the pan or grill first.

                          * In general, my decision to select the best temperature for any particular piece of beef has to do with the size and shape first, then weight as the most important considerations. I prefer 200-225* for small pieces like the one you had....then 190* for larger full size cuts, which for Top Butt Sirloin would start weighing in above 6 pounds. The reason for this is I believe you can predict the timing better for a finished result. At 190+. I have a gas oven in my home, and with those settings I have no fear of any flameouts......when setting lower, I find the oven may not hold the temperature as well......With an electric oven, I believe it's far easier to hold the lower 170* constant temperature.

                          * For a cut of beef 4 pounds and under, using 170-190*.....the carry over temperature is minimal and would probably be no more than 3 degrees. When i use the higher 225* setting, rarely has the carryover effect exceeded 5 degrees. Double digit increases usually only happen when using a setting at or above 325 degrees.

                          Had I seen this post at the time you first asked, I would have directed you to the following threads below. Although they are for different cuts of beef, the process is the same and you could expect similar results. Examples of different size roasts are mentioned and my thought following any queries made. There are also pictures available for you to see the results of my priors roasts and experiments with different times and temperatures used, and recorded.