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Sirloin Steak: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

Sirloin steak is a popular beef cut that is fuller flavored than fillet and leaner than a ribeye. Find out all about it, what muscle it is, where it comes from on a side of beef, where to buy it, and how to cook it with three of our favorite recipes.

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Last Updated: February 15, 2024

Sliced sirloin steak on a wooden chopping board with form and some herbs.

The sirloin steak comes from the sirloin primal, and there’s nothing elusive about this cut, it’s a plain and simple good ol’ steak that the majority of people love!

Always finding itself high up on the favorites list, we thought that we should serve up this sirloin guide to help ensure you know all there is to know about it.

From its flavor and texture to alternative names, to nutritional info and where to get your hands on it, after reading this guide, you’ll be a sirloin specialist.

So, whether you’re a grilling beginner or a hardcore enthusiast, there’s a lot of info in this guide that will up your BBQ game for sure.

Note: We also have a beef cuts diagram you can check out, that shows all the popular cuts of beef and where they come from.

Key Takeaways

  • Sirloin steak is a popular choice for grilling and is known for its versatility, juiciness, and delicious flavor.
  • It comes from the sirloin primal, which is split into two sections: the top sirloin butt, best for grilling, and the bottom sirloin butt, great for roasting and ground beef.
  • Sirloin steak, also known as “Top sirloin steak, ” has alternative cuts such as sirloin tips, flap, and petite sirloin.
  • It is lean and moderately tender, with a medium-strength beef flavor. It should be cooked to medium rare for optimal tenderness.
  • Sirloin steak can be used in various dishes, from simple grilled steaks to Italian pasta and Chinese stir-fry.
  • Portion size is typically 6oz or 8oz per person, depending on whether it is served as a standalone steak or with hearty sides.

What is sirloin Steak?

two sirloin steaks on butchers paper with a few pepperco.

Sirloin steak is a popular type of beef that comes from the back part of a cow, right near the rear legs and above the flank area. Think of it as a middle-ground steak that’s not as tender as filet mignon but not as tough as some of the other cuts. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for something that’s both tasty and a bit easier on your wallet compared to some of the pricier options.

When you hear “sirloin,” you might see two types at the store: top sirloin and bottom sirloin. Top sirloin is generally more tender and better for grilling or frying because it’s from the upper part of the region and has less connective tissue. Bottom sirloin is larger and not as tender, so it’s often used for roasts or sliced up for stir-fries.

What makes sirloin steak really stand out is its flavor. It’s got a good amount of marbling, which is just a fancy way of saying fat running through the meat. This fat melts when you cook the steak, making it juicy and flavorful. However, it’s not as fatty as some other cuts (ribeye, for example), so it strikes a nice balance between being lean and tasty.

Cooking sirloin steak doesn’t have to be complicated. Whether you’re grilling, pan-frying, or broiling, the key is not to overcook it so it stays tender and juicy. Medium-rare to medium is usually the sweet spot for the best texture and flavor.

In summary, sirloin steak is a versatile, delicious, and budget-friendly option for your next meal. It offers a great mix of tenderness and flavor, making it a favorite for many.

Where Does Sirloin Steak Come from on the Cow?

 Diagram showing the sirloin primal on a .

The sirloin steak comes from the sirloin primal, which runs from the 13th rib all the way to the end of the hip bone.

The sirloin primal is split into two sections:

  1. Top sirloin butt — where the steaks produced are typically best grilled.
  2. Bottom sirloin butt — where those cuts are great for roasting and ground beef.

In the middle of these two cuts, the Tenderloin cut can be found.

The sirloin steak comes from the top sirloin butt, hence why it’s sometimes anatomically known as the top sirloin steak.

What is Sirloin Steak Also Known As?

Legend has it that the sirloin steak is called as such because Henry VIII was so impressed by it that he knighted it and called it ‘Sir Loin,’ and the name has stuck ever since.

Whether this is true or not, no one knows, but it’s a story that sounds good to us!

There are many other cuts with sirloin labels, such as sirloin tips, sirloin flap and even petite sirloin, which are all very different pieces.

So just in case there’s any confusion at the counter, the Industry ID for the sirloin steak is 1184 (IMPS/NAMP).

Flavor, Texture, Fat Content and Tenderness

Grilled then sliced medium rare sirloin st.

Top sirloin steak is lean, juicy, and described as moderately tender, with a medium strength beef flavor. So if cooked right — chefs preferred temp of medium rare, approx. 130 °F measured with a meat thermometer — it can be a real winner! Cooked higher, it will be less tender.

It has very little fat or marbling running through it, and it can come with or without the fat cap on.

In some boutique butchers or Latin American butchers, the sirloin steak itself is cut up into separate steaks, and when cut separately the very top of the sirloin steak with the fat cap on is called the sirloin Cap, or the Picanha.

Typical Uses

The sirloin steak makes a great stand-alone steak and is perfect simply grilled with a side dish of chips and vegetables.

Because it is a lean and quite affordable cut, it’s often used in a variety of dishes from Italian pasta to Chinese stir-fry.

It is also commonly used in Latin American countries because of their love for the Picanha, as described above.

Nutritional Information

NutritionTotal Amount (Based on 3 oz Serving)% Daily Value (based
on 2000 calories/day)
Calories1508%
Saturated Fat1.9 g10%
Protein26 g52%
Iron1.6 mg10%
Zinc4.8 mg30%

What do I Think of Sirloin Steak?

What I like most about sirloin is its versatility and the fact my family loves it.

Covering that second point first: My 8-year-old daughter loves simply salted, medium-rare steak. However, she doesn’t like ‘the fatty bits’. My favorite steak is a ribeye, but it’s just too fatty for her. A sirloin with the edge fat cut away she devours with pleasure, though!

Back to the first point, it is just so versatile. With sirloin, you can grill, pan-fry, or even broil it, and it comes out tasty every time. And it’s one of those cuts that, although relatively lean, is still packed with flavor, making it a hit for any standalone steak, steak sandwich, or sliced steak recipes.

I prefer it medium-rare with just a bit of salt and pepper and my homemade chimichurri sauce. It’s straightforward, delicious, and doesn’t break the bank.

If you’re looking for a steak that’s both flavorful and affordable, sirloin is the way to go.

Buying Sirloin Steak

Raw sirloin steak on wood table, surrounded by salt pepper and he.

This cut is always in high demand, and can be found in almost every supermarket and butchers. You’ll never have a problem finding an outlet near to you that will sell it.

You just have to make sure that you get there early enough before the local grill King or Queen snaps them up before you do.

Where to Buy Sirloin Steak Online

It’s this reason why online meat markets were created, so that you can place your order at the beginning of the week, and know that no matter how long you sleep in at the weekend, the steaks will be delivered straight to your door whenever you want!

Not only is it stress-free, but it also means you can peruse the wide variety of cuts available and gain a meaty education along the way.

Here are some of the best outlets around that stock it:

Snake River Farms

Two photos of Snake River Farms top sirloin, one raw and one cooked medium rare and sli.

Snake River Farms’ top sirloin steak is American Wagyu Black grade, described by SNR as being “…elevated compared to conventional sirloins and have superior flavor and texture.

Available as 6oz or 8oz cuts.

Check Price on Snake River Farms

Crowd Cow

Two top sirloin steak pics from crowd cow: One pasture raised, and the other wagyu or wagyu cr.

Crowd cow sells four different varieties of top sirloin steak, at various price points, with different levels of marbling:

  1. Pasture-raised
  2. 100% grass-fed
  3. Fullblood wagyu
  4. Wagyu cross

To check on the provenance, click the button below, select your desired steak, and read up on the farmers each steak is sourced from.

Check Price on Crowd Cow

Average Price

It’s quite affordable, and at the time of writing, it can be bought between $18 and $28 per-pound.

There are other grades of sirloin steak that can be purchased on these websites, such as Gold Grade Wagyu sirloin, and these higher-quality cuts come with a higher price tag.

If you’re a little curious about the sirloin cap, or the picanha, and want to impress the family, then this can also be found here.

Portion Size: How Much Per Person?

Sirloin steaks typically come in at a 6oz or 8oz size, so if you’re serving them with hearty sides, then a 6oz steak per person will be perfect.

Or if the steak is the main centerpiece, then an 8oz steak would be much better.

How to Prepare sirloin Steaks for Grilling or Smoking

Sirloin steak isolated on wh.
Image courtesy of beffitswhatsfordinner.com

Many people underestimate the importance of preparation, and it is just as important as the cooking itself!

As with any steak, be sure to take your sirloin out of the fridge around an hour before you plan to cook it, as this brings it to room temperature and ensures that it will cook evenly, which results in a better finish.

Just before it goes into the pan, rub it with oil and season it with sea salt (not table salt).

Some say to season it way before you place it in the pan, but this draws the moisture out of the steak and, in turn, lowers the temperature of the pan slightly, which does not make for a delicious brown crust.

Another thing to remember is that if cooking on high heat, do not season it with pepper until after it’s cooked, as this will burn in the pan, which will result in a bitter taste.

How to Cook Sirloin Steak on a Grill or Smoker

The sirloin can be either grilled or smoked, and both methods achieve a banging beefy hit!

As per our guide on how long to cook steak, with a cut that is 3 cm to 4 cm thick, you can place it on a grill that has already reached a high heat for around 2 to 3 minutes each side until the desired doneness is achieved.

With so many grill instructions readily available, we thought we would give you our favorite way to smoke the sirloin:

  1. Remove the steaks from the fridge and pat dry, leave for around 45 to 60 minutes to temper.
  2. Light up the desired amount of charcoal on one side of the grill, we usually use 12 or so chunks or briquettes, and heat up to 225-250 °F.
  3. Rub the sirloins with oil and season the steaks with your favorite rub, or just salt.
  4. Add your chosen flavor wood to the coals and get the smoke started.
  5. The steaks should be placed as far away from the fire as possible, and then close it up and smoke them for approximately 45-60 minutes until the center of the steak reaches 120 °F.
  6. Take the steaks out and allow them to rest while you add fresh coals and raise the temperature of the grill to high.
  7. Brush the steaks with some oil and place them directly onto the heat for around 90 seconds each side until they become dark and crusted to your preference.
  8. Whack your sirloin steaks on a plate and serve them up with your favorite sides and enjoy!

Conclusion

The sirloin steak is supremely yummy, and if it’s good enough for a colossal King like Henry VIII, then it’s definitely good enough for you and your guests!

Whether you have it as a stand-alone steak with a simple side, or add a Portuguese or Mexican twist to it, you are bound to love this knighted steak. It’s one of my favorites, and I always have a few in my freezer ready to go.

If you have any questions or comments, please do leave them in the message box below and I will make sure to get back you.

Happy grilling!

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Written By: Emma Braby

Hey, I’m Emma Braby, a contributing author here at FoodFireFriends.

I like to write about current BBQ trends, juicy recipes and to let our readers into tricks and tips that I’ve learned along my BBQ journey.

I currently cook on a Kamado Joe Classic II and a Pro Q Smoker, and love nothing more than having my friends and family round at the weekend trying out my new tasty recipes.

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