Sirloin-Tip Home Processing

tip 14

We were about out on ground beef, but still had plenty of Denver steaks and a few chuck roast in the freezer.  Summer isn’t much of a roast time so I had been periodically fine dicing chuck roast, from a partially frozen state, to add raw to vegetable soup.  However, hot soup also tends to fall out of favor during the summer months.  With these thoughts in mind I priced both beef  round sirloin-tips/knuckles and chuck rolls at our local wholesale club store.  Chuck rolls were 40 cents per pound higher than knuckles; which is understandable because chuck is known to be more flavorful and juicy than round cuts.  Since we needed mostly grind, since beef knuckles do have some collagen and by being peeled knuckles (the thin exterior meat is removed) the risk of high-dose e-coli contamination is extremely low, I opted for the lower priced cut.  The major concern with the resulting very lean ground product, that knuckles yield, is to not cook it past the  medium-rare state or  else it quickly dries out.

tip 13

As with chuck rolls, knuckles are boneless.  There is some heavy connective tissue and lighter silver-skin in the patella/knee-cap area that needs to be removed.  Trimmings and vacuum bag purge loss combined totaled about 1 pound.  So the price per pound of starting raw product went up from $3.38 to $3.44 ($201.79 divided by 58.7 pounds).

tip 8

tip 6

I took 5 center-cut roast.  4 went into freezer storage; they should remain in high quality well into the winter.

tip 11

tip 7

Chunked up knuckles heading for the grinder.  I grind chuck rolls once through a 3/16 inch hole-size plate so the ground meat doesn’t become too soft textured.  Not being sure of how knuckles would turn out from that same process, I ground them once through the 3/16 plate then cooked up 2 patties for a texture test.  The end-product looked to be 90+ percent lean and did not contain noticeable amounts of gristle.  Further, the bind of the cooked patties was sufficient; without becoming too rubbery.

A little ice was ground along with  the meat to help keep the temperature low during processing & packaging, and to add some moisture.  The weight increase from ice did lower the cost per pound of the ground beef somewhat.  Two slices of frozen bread were ground last in order to push most of the meat from the grinder head.

tip 9

Freshly ground, Choice or higher, beef round sirloin-tip.  Grind was lightly hand mixed prior to packaging.

tip 4

Tight, double wrapped product (to minimize fat oxidation and product dehydration) spread out thin (to facilitate rapid freezing/ small ice crystal formation).

tip 5

Salt & pepper was forked into both sides of this roast, it was place on a cast iron trivet then cooked covered at 225F for 3 hours.  Steam generated and retained in the closed cooking vessel was enough to gel collagen; while avoiding washed-out meat characteristics that come along with liquid submersion.  Water-soluble meat proteins, mineral and vitamins can be retained by using cooking purge/broth.

tip 1

Finished product was not as juicy as a chuck roast, but was tender and had good beef flavor.  The palatability characteristic of juiciness was easily & adequately enhanced with the table addition of sauce.  The next time I prepare one of these sirloin-tip roast I’m going to fork-in my basic beef marinate, while the meat is still partially frozen, then let it soak for about a day before cooking as explained above, or grill it as a London Broil and slice it thin for serving.  My normal beef marinate: soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, a little more salt to taste, crushed garlic cloves, prepared mustard, the proper amount of sodium phosphate by meat weight, brown sugar, bourbon and cayenne pepper.  Dissolve sodium phosphate  in a bit of water before mixing anything else in the marinate.

tip 3

Enough salt to flavor an entire batch of chili was added to this ground sirloin-tip.  Salt aids in meat moisture retention by swelling muscle proteins, as well as adds flavor.

tip 2

All non-meat ingredients of the chili batch were boiled hard, until onions were in the desired state of tenderness, then the heat was turned off and raw ground meat was stirred in.  Batch temperature fairly quickly dropped to 155F, but dwelled there for a long enough time to count as fully-cooking the beef.  Ground beef fat content was low enough that there was no need to brown and drain it.  Chili meat was not overcooked and the entire batch was very good eating.

We now have a freezer full of healthy lean beef.  The trick is to carefully prepare it so palatability does not suffer too much.

Further enlightenment on best practices in the home processing of underutilized beef round sirloin-tip is more than welcome.


Add-on of London Broil style grilled, center-cut sirloin-tip roast:

t 5

The correct amount by weight of sodium phosphate was dissolved in a little water then salt and ground black pepper was also stirred in.

t 4

Mixture was thoroughly forked into both sides of partially thawed sirloin-tip roast.  Forking gets non-meat ingredients in to where they can react with the entire cut, plus provides some blade tenderization of muscle fibers.

t 3

Forked roast was covered and held overnight in refrigeration to allow time for salt and sodium phosphate to equalize throughout.

t 2

Roast was cooked on a gas grill to 135F internal, then covered and left to rest for 10 minutes.

t 1

Roast was thin sliced to help chew-ability; which wasn’t bad at all.  Finished product was moist and flavorful, but slightly past the medium-rare state.  Due to its thickness, the roast should have been pulled from heat at about 130F internal; so the middle would have remained pink and juicier.