New York Strip vs Sirloin: Which is the Better Cut?

New York Strip vs Sirloin

One of the things I was most excited about when I got my pellet grill was grilling nice cuts of steak for the family. So, right after the grill arrived, I immediately went to the butcher’s shop.

And when viewing my choices, I noticed two very similar cuts at different prices. These were the New York strip and the sirloin.

I had no idea what the difference between the two cuts was back then, which made it hard to select which one would be the better fit for my grill. So I did the research and found out that I would’ve been fine with either choice, as they are both great cuts of meat.

But they do have some distinct differences that I’ll be talking about in this New York strip vs sirloin comparison. I’ll also be getting into their characteristics, advantages, and which one would be the better choice for your dinner table.

Understanding the New York Strip

New York Strip

Butcher’s get the New York strip from the upper sirloin of the steer. This is in between the ribs, which is exactly where you can find the sirloin cuts, too.

Why is that?

Well, that’s because a New York strip is a type of sirloin cut. So while all New York strips are sirloins, not all sirloins are New York strips, which is very important to understand.

You can find this cut in the steer’s short loin section. This is a pretty popular area as it’s known to produce very flavorful and tender cuts. So, you can expect these characteristics from a New York strip if you choose to buy one.

These steaks are sold boneless more often than not, but you can find a bone-in option every now and then. If your butcher doesn’t have a New York strip on the menu, you could also ask for “strip loin”, “club steak”, or “strip steak”, as these are all the same thing.

And if there’s a bone-in option, they might call it the Kansas City steak.

Understanding the Sirloin

Sirloin

The thing you need to understand about sirloin steaks is that they aren’t one single cut. The sirloin is an entire region of the steer where butchers can derive various cuts. For example, in the New York strip, the tri-tip roast, and the Kansas City steak are all taken from the sirloin region of the cow.

There are many areas of the steer that provide high-quality cuts, and the sirloin is one of them.

However, the area is generally divided into two: the top and bottom sirloin. Generally, the bottom sirloin is significantly larger than the top, making it a more affordable option as well.

So, the next time you encounter “sirloin” at your grocery store or butcher shop, understand that this is a general term. If you ask your butcher for more specific options that come from the sirloin, they should be more than happy to explain it to you.

What’s the Difference Between New York Strip and Sirloin?

So, how does the New York Strip stack up when compared against other sirloin cuts?

To be honest, it holds up pretty well. The New York strip is a very tender cut with a lot of flavors. On top of that, while more expensive than other sirloin cuts, it is fairly affordable, making it a great choice for pitmasters in search of a budget-friendly and great-tasting steak.

With that said, the New York strip does have a downside. No cut of meat is perfect, so you can expect some not-so-desirable qualities with a New York strip.

And to give you a clearer and more detailed picture of how these cuts differ from each other, we’re going to take a deep dive into their characteristics.

The Price

In terms of price, the New York Strip is one of the more expensive cuts. So, if you want to save as much money as possible on your steak, then you might not want the New York strip. Granted, a pound of New York strip averages out at around $15, which is still more affordable than other premium steaks, but it’s pretty pricey compared to the top sirloin.

The top sirloin runs for about $10 a pound on average. However, you’ll have a pretty easy time finding butchers that sell high-quality top sirloin at a lower price. So, if affordability is your only concern, then I recommend the top sirloin.

Texture

The New York strip comes out superior in texture compared to the top sirloin, at least in the minds of most pitmasters. This is due to the fact that butchers get the New York strip from an area of the sirloin that barely gets any exercise, which means that it’s very tender.

While the top sirloin isn’t bad at all, it is far from as tender as the New York strip. Additionally, the New York Strip has a pretty defined fat cap while the top sirloin lacks this, which makes a huge difference in terms of texture.

If you’re on the hunt for a cut of steak that is tender, then you’re better off with the New York strip in this comparison.

Marbling

One of the reasons the New York strip is much more tender than the top sirloin is because of the marbling. The New York strip has much more marbling than the top sirloin, which allows it to release a ton of flavors, which is why it’s the preferred choice for grilling.

Top sirloin is usually pretty lean, so you won’t have a pretty high-fat content. While this makes it less ideal for grilling, you can get around this by marinading the top sirloin first. This allows it to tenderize further, making it better for the grill.

Flavor

In terms of flavor, this is a toss-up. Everyone has different tastes, so there will always be people who prefer the taste of one steak over the other. However, if we’re talking about a basic grilled, medium-rare steak, I have to say that the New York strip brings more to the table.

The top sirloin, on the other hand, doesn’t have a lot of flavor on its own. This is why we recommend marinading it first if you plan to put it on the grill.

Which Is the More Versatile Cut?

Chef cutting raw beef meat

This is the one area wherein the top sirloin came out on top. Since its flavors aren’t as strong as the New York strip, you can use this in many dishes. The New York strip is packed with flavor, which means grilling it is really the best way to cook the meat as it highlights the natural flavor.

But if you want to experiment with marinades, sauces, and other beef dishes like tacos, you’re better off with the top sirloin.

Conclusion: Which Cut Should I Get for Dinner?

At the end of the day, the better cut depends on your cooking plans. If you want a steak night where you and your friends enjoy nice and tender steaks from the grill, we recommend the New York strip. This steak is great as a stand-alone dish since it has decent marbling and brings a lot of flavors. The top sirloin, on the other hand, might be best for those looking to marinade their meat or make dishes like fries, chili, and other recipes. This is because the top sirloin is more versatile, affordable, and ideal for varied cooking styles.

Norah

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