While prime beef may be the juiciest and most flavorful cut of beef, sirloin is among the leanest and healthiest. To make the most of this lean, healthy cut, enhance your sirloin with additional flavor boosters, and cook it carefully. To keep sirloin on your list of healthy foods, cut off all visible fat and serve portions that meet the USDA recommended 3.5 oz. size.
Choose steaks that are at least one inch thick. Thinner steaks will dry out when you cook them, and you'll have difficulty reaching the perfect rare or medium rare stage for the best flavor. Let your steak sit at room temperature for at least one hour prior to cooking -- the muscle fibers in cold steaks contract and shrink when hitting a hot pan, causing the meat to toughen. Finally, dry the steak with a paper towel to ensure that you will be grilling and not steaming it.
Opinions vary about whether to salt meats before or after cooking. Some chefs believe that salting dries out the meat while others believe that salting actually helps retain moisture. According to Oliver Schwaner-Albright of Food and Wine Magazine, the tiebreaker is food scientist Harold McGee from the New York Times, who believes that salting before cooking actually helps the muscle cells of the meat hold moisture in.
Allowing your sirloin to marinate for a few hours or a whole day adds flavor and tenderness to the meat. The acidic elements in a marinade begin breaking down the meat's muscle fibers prior to cooking. The best marinade is a matter of personal preference. Use your favorite wine vinaigrette straight from the bottle or choose a five-star marinade from the Food Network that includes balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and chopped parsley. Place the marinating steak in a zip-lock plastic bag for complete coverage and easy clean-up.
For an unusual but effective method of cooking sirloin, coat the bottom of your pan with oil and turn the heat to medium high. Cut the sirloin into serving size portions. Place the steaks in the pan and begin turning them after only 15 seconds and every 15 seconds thereafter until they reach the desired stage of doneness. The length of cooking time depends on the thickness of the steak. After the first two or three minutes of constant turning, your steak will develop a flavorful brown crust on the outside but will remain tender and pink on the inside.
Grilling on an outdoor barbecue adds the smoky flavor to sirloin that some steak connoisseurs swear by. You'll get the attractive grill marks by using your grill-pan indoors, but will miss the distinctive grilled flavor. Chef and famed barbecue king, Bobbie Flay, brushes his sirloins with olive oil and seasons them with salt and pepper before grilling the steaks for four minutes on each side. He lets the steak rest for two minutes before cutting, a best practice for any cooking method.
- MayoClinic.com: Cuts of Beef -- A Guide to the Leanest Selections
- What's Cooking America: Perfect Steaks - How to Cook Perfect Steaks
- Food and Wine: The Juicy Secret to Seasoning Meat
- Food Network: Steak Frite with Skin-on-Fries and Roasted Garlic Butter
- Food Network: Egg and Aged Sirloin Tortilla with Three Pepper Relish