Steak Tips Are the New England Restaurant Favorite That You Can Easily Make at Home
These New England-style steak tips are quick, easy, and satisfying, with a caramelized crust and a tender, juicy interior!
Steak tips are an absolute classic dish across New England, enjoyed at many pubs, bars, and American-style restaurants. They're often grilled or seared, then served with a mound of creamy mashed potatoes and a side of greens or a salad.
Having grown up in Massachusetts my whole life, I only recently learned it was a regional specialty! After conducting some research, I found dozens of online accounts of New England expats asking for steak tips at grocery stores across the country, only to be met with a confused look.
The good news is that I've developed a recipe (with several tips on purchasing) so you can recreate this delicious dish no matter where you live.
Inspiration for the Recipe
These steak tips are juicy, tender, and flavorful thanks to a quick marinade made from Coca-Cola, ketchup (trust me on this one!), vinegar, and spices.
The recipe was inspired by Newbridge Cafe, a popular neighborhood eatery in Chelsea, MA, with some of the best steak tips in the region. The marinade offers two main benefits: it tenderizes the meat and serves as a spoonable sauce to enjoy alongside the meal. The sauce is tangy, rich, sweet, and salty—it's downright delicious!
The Best Cut of Beef For Steak Tips
While purchasing steak tips for recipe testing, I consulted my local butchery at Savenors in Cambridge, MA. My butcher, Sean, gave me some helpful information on the proper cuts for this dish.
- Steak tips are typically made from bavette steak (or flap steak). "Flap" refers to the name of the whole loin, and bavette steak is the center cut from the middle of the sirloin flap. As a result, they can also be called sirloin tips.
- Sometimes, the meat can come from the tenderloin or flank.
- Ask for bavette steak, flap meat loin, or sirloin tips at the butcher.
Swaps and Substitutions
Most ingredients in the steak marinade are pantry staples, but don't fret if you're missing a few items! The following ingredients can easily be substituted.
- Don't have red wine vinegar? Try half the amount of sherry vinegar.
- Replace the Worcestershire sauce with an equal amount of soy sauce.
- Substitute garlic powder with 1 tablespoon of freshly grated garlic.
Tips for Your Steak Tips
- To cut down on prep, ask your butcher to pre-cut the meat into 2-inch cubes for you. If you need to prep your own steak, note that flap meat often comes in long strips with the grain running crosswise, and you will inevitably need to slice with the grain to create even tips. I recommend cutting each strip in half lengthwise (against the grain), then slicing each half into 2-inch pieces (with the grain).
- A meat thermometer is incredibly helpful for achieving properly cooked steak tips!
- Contrary to other cuts of meat, steak tips are most tender between medium rare and medium; rare pieces will taste chewy and unpleasant.
What to Serve With Steak Tips
I highly recommend serving these steak tips alongside some potatoes and green vegetables. Here are some ideas:
Marinate the meat:
In a large bowl, whisk the ketchup, vinegar, oil, water, Coca-Cola, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add the steak and toss to combine. Cover and seal the bowl.
Marinate the steak tips for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours (if marinating for longer than 30 minutes, transfer to the fridge).
Sear the steak:
Using tongs, transfer the marinated steak to a plate, draining off any excess liquid (do not discard the marinade).
Set a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon canola oil. Once the oil starts shimmering and the pan begins smoking, add the meat in an even layer (you don't want the pieces to touch, so you will likely need to do this in 2-3 batches).
Sear the meat on one side until deeply browned and caramelized, about 2-3 minutes. Flip each piece, and sear for 2-3 minutes or until the meat is medium rare or medium, depending on your preference. Transfer the cooked meat to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
Repeat with the remaining batches of steak, adding more oil as needed to prevent sticking.
Make the sauce:
While the meat is cooking, make the sauce. To a small saucepan, add the leftover marinade and set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer.
Simmer the mixture for 10-15 minutes, whisking occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and syrupy. Season with additional salt if desired. Once reduced, lower the heat and keep warm.
Divide the steak amongst serving plates with a bit of sauce on the side. Serve immediately, and enjoy!
Store leftover steak and sauce in the refrigerator in separate airtight containers for 3-4 days. You can reheat the steak tips in a 350°F oven for 8-10 minutes until warmed through.
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