According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2010 the U.S. consumed an estimated 26.4 billion lbs. of beef. Beef is one of the most popular meats in the United States. Beef is used to make hamburgers, roasts, steaks, stews and a host of other American dishes. The many dishes that contain beef ultimately come from many different parts of the cow. In fact, knowing what part of the cow a particular cut comes from can offer important clues to the quality of the meat.
One of the differences between a sirloin roast and a top sirloin roast is the location of each particular cut on the cow. The top sirloin roast is located at the top of the back nearer the rear of the cow than the head of the cow. The sirloin roast is located just below the top sirloin roast.
The less muscular a cut of beef is, the more tender it will be. Muscles that are very strong in the cow such as the shank muscles around the knee tend to be much tougher than cuts that come from an area of the cow where the muscles do less work. Because the sirloin roast and top sirloin roast come from the back muscles of the cow which do much less work than the leg muscles, each cut is quite tender. However, the top sirloin roast is more tender than the sirloin roast because it comes higher up on the back of the cow.
While the term "roast" does not always refer to how a cut of meat is cooked, in the case of sirloin roast and top sirloin roast, it does refer to roasting the cuts of meat. Roasts from tender meats such as sirloin roasts and top sirloin roasts are often roasted, whereas roasts from tougher meats such as eye round roasts or pot roasts are usually braised. Top sirloin roasts are usually cooked with dry heat such as grilling or broiling, while sirloin roasts are usually cooked through moist cooking methods like boiling because it is a less tender cut.
Another difference between the top sirloin roast and the sirloin roast is the taste of the cuts. A top sirloin roast may be chewier than a sirloin roast, but many say it has a better and more pronounced taste.
The sirloin roast will have a medium-sized pin-bone. The pin is flat, making it more tender than other cuts of sirloin that have a round bone, yet less tender than the top sirloin roast which does not have a bone.