How to Tenderize Sirloin Steak: The Ultimate Guide

You can use various methods to tenderize sirloin steak, such as dry brining, marinating, pounding, and using proper cutting techniques. Dry brining involves applying salt to the steak and letting it sit in the fridge for at least an hour while marinating requires soaking the steak in an acidic mixture overnight. Pounding requires tools like meat mallets to physically break down muscle fibers. Lastly, slicing the steak against the grain or making shallow cuts across the surface can also improve tenderness.

Finding the perfect method to tenderize sirloin steak can be the key to transforming this relatively tough cut of beef into a mouthwatering, succulent dish. In this blog post, I will explain various techniques I use in restaurants and at home for tenderizing sirloin. Each method offers distinct advantages and can be tailored to your preferences and resources.

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The 2 Best Ways to Tenderize Sirloin Steak

2 best ways to tenderize sirloin steak
Different ways to tenderize sirloin steak

The best way to tenderize steak is either to dry brine or marinate the steak. However, there are a few more tenderizing methods to consider. Read this article about different steak tenderizing methods. For sirloin steak, use one of the following methods below:

Dry Brine

Dry brine is the process of using salt to tenderize beef steak or any other piece of meat, for that matter. It’s an extremely simple method that can be done at home with just one ingredient – salt.

Dry brine is used for tougher cuts of steak such as sirloin steak, flank steak, hanger steak, skirt steak, etc. The salt helps to break down the tough muscle fibers in the meat, making it more tender and juicy. Here’s how it works in simple terms: the salt pulls the moisture out of the steak and then re-absorbs it, making the steak more tender. The process is called osmosis.

It’s important to know which salt is best for dry brine. The two most popular types of salt are kosher salt and sea salt. By far, the best one is coarse kosher salt as it’s easier to find and has a more coarse grain which makes it easier to control the amount of salt you’re using, unlike table salt, which is very fine and can easily make your steak too salty.

Season sirloin steak with a generous amount of kosher salt and wrap it with plastic wrap or place it in a ziplock bag. Remove as much air from the bag as possible. Let it sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour, up to 12 hours. The longer you let it sit, the more tender your steak will be; however, don’t let it sit for more than 12 hours, as the salt will start to draw out too much moisture from the steak and make it too salty.

Once the time is up, take the steak out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking. Remove the excess salt by patting the steak with a paper towel.

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Yet one more way to make sirloin tender is to marinate it overnight. The marinade is a sauce or mixture of different ingredients (usually acidic) that are used to tenderize and flavor meat. The most popular acid to use for the marinade is vinegar or citrus juice, such as lemon juice; however, you can also use yogurt, buttermilk, etc.

The idea behind marinating is that the acidic ingredient will help break down the tough muscle fibers in the meat, making it more tender. So take whichever ingredients you prefer. Here’s the steak marinade that is simple and delicious. Keep sirloin steaks in the marinade overnight.

The next day, bring the steak to room temperature before cooking. Pat dry the steak using a paper towel. It will help the steak to sear better.

Cooking methods

Some cooking methods, like sous vide, slow cooking, or braising, can help tenderize the steak by breaking down the connective tissues in the meat. These methods involve cooking the steak at low temperatures for an extended period of time, resulting in a more tender texture. Choose the appropriate cooking method based on your equipment and time constraints.


Another method to tenderize sirloin steak is by using physical force or pounding. This involves using tools such as a meat mallet or a Jaccard meat tenderizer to physically break down the muscle fibers in the steak. This method can be used independently or in combination with other methods like dry brining or marinating to further enhance the tenderness of the steak.

Slice against the grain

Slicing the steak against the grain or making shallow cuts across the surface of the meat before cooking can help break down the muscle fibers and make the steak more tender. I have a full article dedicated to explaining how to cut the steak. This technique is particularly useful when combined with other tenderizing methods, such as dry brining or marinating.


Tenderizing sirloin steak can greatly enhance its texture and taste, transforming this tough cut into a delightful meal. As a chef, I highly recommend exploring various techniques such as dry brining, marinating, pounding, and proper cutting methods since you’ll be able to find the optimal approach tailored to your preferences and resources. Remember to consider factors like cooking methods and the type of salt used in dry brining for the best results. So make sure to experiment with different methods, and you’ll soon become confident in tenderizing sirloin steak and other tough cuts of meat.


Why is my sirloin steak so tough?

Your sirloin steak can be tough because you overcooked it. Or it can be tough if you don’t tenderize it properly. Sirloin is a tough piece of cut, and it needs either a long cooking time (for stewing, braising) or some tenderizing method such as dry brine or marinating. Overcooking will make the steak even tougher.

Can I use table salt for dry brine?

Yes, you can use table salt; however, it’s not as effective as kosher salt or sea salt. The reason is that table salt is very fine, and it’s easy to use too much of it, which will make your steak too salty.

What is the easiest way to tenderize sirloin steak?

The easiest way to tenderize sirloin steak is by using the dry brine method or marinating it overnight. These two methods will help break down the tough muscle fibers in the steak, making it more tender and juicy.

How do restaurants tenderize sirloin steak?

Restaurants tenderize sirloin steak either by using a dry-brine method or marinating the steak.

Renaldas Kaveckas
Renaldas Kaveckas
Renaldas Kaveckas is an accomplished chef with over a decade of experience in the culinary world, having worked in esteemed, high-end restaurants across Europe. With a talent for combining traditional techniques and innovative flair, Renaldas has refined his signature style under the mentorship of respected European chefs. Recently, Renaldas has expanded his impact beyond the kitchen by sharing his expertise through his online platform. Dedicated to inspiring culinary professionals and food enthusiasts, he offers expert advice, innovative recipes, and insightful commentary on the latest gastronomic trends.
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