Sirloin steak is a steak cut from the back of the cattle. It’s a tender cut of meat with a decent amount of marbling. However, rib-eye or a t-bone steak is more flavorsome because it contains more fat.
As a chef, I do prefer steak with more fat. It packs more flavor, and it’s juicier than a lean cut of meat. Sirloin steak, on the other hand, is a tender cut. However, it’s not as tender as a fillet steak. It has some fat; therefore, it does not lack any flavor. It’s easy to prepare, and it’s also an excellent alternative to those looking to reduce fat intake.
In this article, I’ll show you how to cook a sirloin steak and how to serve it. I’ve included a section on how to buy a good quality steak and how to determine steak doneness.
How To Cook a Sirloin Steak
First and foremost, to cook a sirloin steak, you’ll need a good quality steak – grass-fed preferably. It has more flavor and marbling than grain-fed beef.
Also, a good quality pan is essential since you’ll be cooking steak in a blazing hot pan. A cheap pan can warp when cooking over high heat. You can use a nonstick pan as well; however, before using it, you’ll need to make sure the nonstick coating can withstand heat over 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
My favorite steak pan is this Hexclad 12-inch pan. It’s excellent for pan-seared steaks as well as other dishes. It’s an expensive pan; however, if you’re on a budget, then you should go for this cast-iron skillet.
Grilling and pan-searing are some of the best steak cooking methods. Sirloin is an excellent cut for pan-frying. Below you’ll find the directions on how to cook a perfect pan-seared steak in a matter of minutes.
- Sirloin steak;
- Salt and pepper;
- Fresh rosemary and thyme;
- Olive oil or any other oil with a high smoking point.
- Take the sirloin steak out of the fridge about an hour before cooking and season it with a generous amount of kosher salt. Leave it to rest at room temperature;
- Prepare everything in advance. Ensure all the ingredients are washed, peeled, and sitting on the countertop, ready to be used. Have a chopping board, knife, and probe thermometer within hands reach. You’ll need to act fast because steak cooking time varies from five to twelve minutes.
- Preheat the pan. Place the pan over high heat until it becomes scorching hot.
- Pat dry the steak. Using a paper towel, remove moisture from the exterior of the sirloin steak. It will help to get a nice crust on the steak’s exterior.
- Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and put the steak into the pan.
- I’ll be cooking my steak medium-rare. Depending on the thickness of the steak, turn it over every two to three minutes. Since my sirloin steak is about an inch thick, I’ll cook it for three minutes on each side.
- Use a probe thermometer to check the doneness of the sirloin steak.
- Baste the steak. Halfway through cooking the steak, add fresh herbs and butter to the pan. Baste the steak using a tablespoon. It’ll make the sirloin steak juicy.
- Leave it to rest. Once the steak is cooked to your liking, take it out from the pan and leave it to rest at room temperature for about eight minutes. Resting will help the steak retain most of the juices. If you cut into the steak after taking it out from the pan, it’ll lose some of its juiciness.
Steak Doneness Temperature Chart
- Rare steak: 125° F;
- Medium rare steak: 135° F;
- Medium steak: 145° F;
- Medium-well steak: 150° F;
- Well done, steak: 160° F.
You can check steak temperature using either a probe thermometer or a more conventional “finger test” method.
With a probe thermometer, you can get an accurate internal steaks temperature. It’s also the easiest way to know if the steak is cooked to your liking. However, one downside of using a thermometer is that it loses some juices when you stick it into the meat.
Chefs and some home cooks use a “finger test” method to check steak’s doneness. It’s as reliable as using a probe thermometer when you get a feel for it.
Watch this video below on how to use a “finger test” method:
Sirloin steaks are usually between one to one and a half-inch thick. It means they tend to cook fast, unlike thicker steaks. Make sure you check the doneness every 3 to 4 mins.
Keep in mind steak continues to cook for another few more minutes after taking it out from the pan. If you want your steak to be cooked medium then take it out when the internal temperature reaches 140° F.
How To Buy Good Sirloin Steak?
To buy good quality grass-fed top sirloin steaks, you’ll need to go to your local butcher shop or farmers market. Whole Foods Market is also offering grass-fed and finished beef.
Grass-fed beef is more nutritious and flavorsome meat than grain-fed cattle. Grass-fed top sirloin steaks have more marbling. Marbling is excellent for pan searing and grilling because it packs a lot of flavors.
On the other hand, Grain-fed beef does not pack as much flavor as grass-fed beef does. Marbling is not as good, and the meat’s color is slightly pinkish and pale.
Here’re three things to look for when buying a sirloin steak:
- Color is an excellent indicator of meat quality. Dark red is a good sign meaning the cattle was grass-fed. The pink color is a sign of poorly grown grain-fed beef which is less flavorsome and less tender. Remember to check with a butcher about the quality of the meat you’re buying.
- Marbling is a good sign of quality sirloin steak. Look for tiny flecks of marbling spread across the sirloin steak.
- The smell of the steak is essential. If it smells sour or has an ammonia odor, it’s better not to buy a piece of meat like that.
How To Serve Sirloin Steak
Here’re a few ideas on how to serve a sirloin steak. I’ve been using these steak recipes in other restaurants. These recipes are timeless classics and will make any cut of steak delicious.
Here’s how to serve the sirloin steak:
- Serve with french fries and some garlic butter (add some lemon juice to the butter for more acidity);
- Steak Frites with bearnaise, red wine, or quick pan sauce is another timeless classic recipe;
- Serve with some stir fry vegetables and sauce of your choice. I like to use pan juices.
How long does it take to fry a sirloin steak?
To fry an inch thick rare sirloin steak takes 4 mins. To fry to medium-rare takes about 5 to 6 mins. To fry to medium about 7 mins. To fry to medium-well takes about 8 to 9 mins. To fry sirloin steak to well-done steaks for about 10 mins.
How do you cook sirloin steak, so it’s not tough?
Make sure to season it with a generous amount of kosher salt and leave it at room temperature for about an hour before cooking sirloin steak. Also, leave it to rest for about 8 mins after cooking it to ensure it retains juices.
Can I cook sirloin steak in a regular frying pan?
Yes, you can cook steak in a regular frying pan. Make sure the pan has a thick base and can withstand high heat. To get a perfect pan-seared steak – it has to be scorching hot. Most cheap pans are not designed to withstand such high heat. Cast iron skillet is the gold standard for frying steaks in many households.
How do I cook a sirloin steak without a cast-iron skillet?
You can use high-quality stainless steel, non-stick pan, copper, ceramic, and aluminum pans for cooking sirloin steaks. Make sure it has a reinforced bottom. Check the manual to see if a pan can withstand heat over 400 degrees Fahrenheit required for pan-searing steak.