The "sirloin" includes some very tender and some not-so-tender cuts of beef. How you cook each one will vary depending on exactly what you purchased. The best way to cook sirloin steak of prime quality, such as top sirloin steak, is by searing it in a hot, oiled pan.
From Tenderloins to Tri-Tips
The farmer/rancher-funded Cattlemen's Beef Board explains that sirloin is made up of several top and bottom sirloin cuts. Top sirloin cuts include the butt tenderloin, which makes butter-soft steaks and roasts, as well as top sirloin steaks, which are also very tender.
Steaks from the slightly chewier sirloin will generally be sold simply as "sirloin steak" but are still very good. The triangular piece of muscle at the lowest right hand corner of the bottom sirloin is the sirloin tip, which creates cuts like the tri-tip, petite sirloin and sirloin flap (flank steak).
Confusingly, a steak labelled as a sirloin strip steak will usually come from the short loin not the sirloin. Either way, if your meat cut has the words "steak" and "sirloin" in the description, it's usually tender enough for quick cooking with direct heat.
Best Way to Cook Sirloin Steak
In Gordon Ramsey's Ultimate Cookery Course series on YouTube, the celebrity chef outlines these steps for cooking the best sirloin tender steak:
- Take the steak out the fridge 20 minutes before you start cooking and season with salt and coarsely ground black pepper.
- Heat a dry cast iron skillet on a hot stove. When it gets to the point where it is starting to smoke, drizzle in some oil.
- Lay the steaks in the pan — you should hear a loud sizzling noise. Sear both sides and, using tongs, the edges of the steak, too.
- At this point add some lightly crushed garlic cloves (no need to peel) and fresh thyme to the pan.
- Once the steaks are browned, add half a tablespoon of butter and, still on high, keep turning every minute — it shouldn't take more than a few minutes for the steaks to cook.
Note that the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services say that steaks should be cooked medium and reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit to be safe to eat, so use a food thermometer. If you want to consume less fat, sirloin steaks will also cook well on an indoor grill, or can be barbecued.
The Cattlemen's Beef Board says lower-grade sirloin cuts like tri-tip steak or sirloin flap will grill or broil well but are better if first marinated with acidic ingredients like vinegar and lemon to help tenderize the meat, and then sliced against the grain. Prepared this way, sirloin flap makes great fajita meat, for example.
Read more: How to Cook Steak on a Baking Sheet
Sirloin Steak Nutrition
An 8 ounce top sirloin steak eaten fully trimmed of fat has 296 calories and 3.4 grams of saturated fat according to the USDA. It's also rich in protein, providing 50 grams of this nutrient. Protein has important uses in the body, such as making collagen and strengthening immunity
Read more: 5 Tips for Eating Protein the Right Way
An 8 ounce serving of top sirloin steak contains many vitamins and minerals, including 2.5 micrograms of vitamin B12, 15.5 milligrams of niacin, 9.1 milligrams of zinc and 3.6 milligrams of iron.
However, you shouldn't eat red meat more than two or three times a week, as too much could increase your cancer risk. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, the latest research shows that eating more than 18 ounces of red meat per week increases the risk of colorectal cancer. And grilling red meat can add to its potential health downsides. Beef, lamb and pork are all red meats.
- Cattlemen's Beef Board: "Cuts / Sirloin Primal"
- YouTube: "Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Cookery Course: How to Cook the Perfect Steak"
- U. S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures"
- USDA: "Beef, Top Sirloin, Steak, Separable Lean Only, Trimmed to 1/8" Fat, All Grades, Raw"
- American Institute for Cancer Research: "Red and Processed Meats"