What Is Round Tip Steak?

A Guide to Buying, Storing, and Cooking Round Tip Steak

The Spruce Eats / Lindsay Kreighbaum 

The round tip steak is an affordable cut of beef perfect for the grill or broiler. From the loin edge of the round primal at the cow's rear end, it's one of the best choices for fajitas, kebabs, and stir-fry dishes, especially if your recipe includes a marinade.

What Is Round Tip Steak?

Cut from the tip of the round primal, the round tip steak is typically sold untrimmed, so it still has fat along the edge. If it is trimmed, it may be called a trimmed tip steak or ball tip steak. Since this steak comes from the section next to the sirloin, it is more tender than other round steaks your butcher may offer. But it's still a lean piece of meat cut from the heavily used muscles in the cow's rump.

This steak often gets labeled as a sirloin tip steak because of its proximity to the sirloin subprimal. It's an economical steak when compared to expensive sirloin cuts such as the top sirloin steak, though it generally costs more than other round steaks.

To add to the confusion, the round tip steak can go by other names. You might see it referred to as a breakfast steak, tip steak, knuckle steak, round knuckle peeled, or tip center steak.

The Spruce / Catherine Song.

How to Cook Round Tip Steak

Since it is not as tender as more expensive cuts, the round tip steak benefits from a marinade. A marinade for a round tip steak should include a strong acid such as lemon or lime juice, any type of vinegar, or red wine. These ingredients enhance the tenderness and give the meat a nice, rounded flavor. Plan on marinating this cut for a minimum of one hour per pound of meat.

This is a good steak for the grill or broiler, and it makes an excellent choice for kebabs, fajitas, stir-fry, and other dishes that require cooking chunks of meat. The uniformity of the muscle in a round tip steak and its lower cost make it perfect for these purposes. Many of these dishes require a marinade for flavor and tenderness anyway, so it makes an ideal choice.

What Does Round Tip Steak Taste Like?

The round tip steak lacks the intramuscular fat, called "marbling" in culinary terms, that adds flavor to less used muscles such as those found in the loin and rib primals. This means that it is not as flavorful as the premium cuts and dries out quickly if cooked over intense heat. For this reason, it's best to marinate this steak. Marinating adds flavor plus fat in the form of oil from the marinade. You can also use this cut in recipes that call for low, moist cooking methods such as with a braised dish.

Round Tip Steak Recipes

Choose round tip steak when you want an economical cut for use in full-flavored recipes or when your recipe calls for smaller chunks of meat, such as in a stir-fry.

Where to Buy Round Tip Steak

Look for round tip steak in your grocery store meat case or order it from a specialty butcher. You may see sirloin tip steaks labeled as sirloin tip center steaks, sirloin tip side steaks, and just plain sirloin tip steaks in the meat case at your grocery. Generally, the center steaks will be the most tender and make the best choice for an economical steak dinner where the meat takes center stage on your plate. You can identify these by their slightly rounded shape.

The side steaks look more rectangular and may not be quite as tender as the center steaks, though they still make a good grilling steak, especially combined with a tenderizing marinade. The steaks without the center or side label will be the least tender and the least expensive, and they make the best choice for kebabs or stir-fry. You may even find these already cut into chunks and labeled just as sirloin tips.

Storing Round Tip Steak

Keep round tip steak in the store packaging for up to three days in your refrigerator. For longer storage, individually wrap the steaks with plastic wrap or specialty freezer paper, being sure to press out all of the air so the wrapping tightly hugs the steak. For best results or freezer storage beyond three months, use a vacuum sealer.