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What is a Sirloin Steak?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 17, 2024
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A sirloin steak is a serving of beef cut from the loin section of a cow. The loin, or strip loin as it's also called, is along the same area of a cow that contains the tenderloin, but is closer to the rump. The tenderloin is the most tender beef — especially the tip of it from which the ultra-tender filet mignon steak is cut. Sirloin steaks aren't as tender as tenderloin steaks, but they are popular, less expensive and may be marinated before being pan-fried, barbecued or oven-broiled to add flavor and tenderness. Top sirloin is different from sirloin steak as it's boneless, while sirloin steak is lower on the rump and always contains part of a hip bone.

The types of sirloin steak depend on the hip bone's shape they contain. The wedge bone sirloin is nearest to the rump and is the least tender, while the pin bone sirloin steak is farthest from the rump or butt and is the most tender, although it's also quite bony. Top sirloin steaks aren't necessarily better or worse than sirloin steaks in terms of tenderness or flavor although some people may have a preference. Both types of sirloin steak are best cooked rare or medium-rare and a 6 ounce (170 g) steak has about 450 calories and around 1 ounce (28.3 g) of fat.

Marinating sirloin steaks or applying a seasoned rub to them before cooking can help add tenderness and flavor. Soy sauce and lime juice can make a marinade base for sirloin and various seasonings can be added such as pepper, garlic powder and tarragon. A seasoned rub can consist of onion and garlic powder plus pepper, thyme and lemon or lime juice to form a paste to rub into the meat. Once prepared, sirloin steaks may be fried in a pan on the stove, grilled on a barbecue or placed on a broiler pan to be broiled in the oven. Sirloin steak may also be cut into cubes and cooked in a stir-fry dish with vegetables.

Stuffed sirloin steak recipes call for the meat to be sliced in the middle, but not all the way through, to form a pocket. The pocket is stuffed with minced garlic and onions before being held closed with toothpicks. Wooden picks should be dampened before the stuffed sirloin steaks are placed in an oven as the heated toothpicks may create smoke and set off the smoke alarm.

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Discussion Comments
By bagley79 — On Dec 16, 2011

John57 - I would just go with whatever your personal preference is. They say that a medium steak is somewhere around 400 calories, but there is a lot of variation in this.

How thick is the steak, is it lean or not, boneless, with or without fat? If you are counting calories I would concentrate more on how it is prepared, and what you use after it is done cooking.

You can have a small 3 oz sirloin steak that doesn't have very many calories by itself. If you take that same steak and smother it with sirloin steak sauce and other toppings, that can add on more calories than the meat itself.

My thinking is, if you are going to enjoy a good steak, fix it the way you like it and enjoy it! It's not every day that I get a really good steak, so I am going to have it made the way I like to eat it.

By John57 — On Dec 15, 2011

Does sirloin steak have many calories? Since it is not as expensive a cut of meat like filet mignon, I wonder if there is much difference in the amount of calories?

I know it would also depend of what you use to marinade and top your steak with, but if you are counting calories for just the meat itself, does it make much difference in what type of steak you use?

By myharley — On Dec 14, 2011

The biggest reason I buy sirloin steak is because it does not cost as much as some of the other cuts. I think the key to cooking sirloin steak is the way you prepare it ahead of time.

It seemed like I was always overcooking the steak, and then it was tough and hard to chew. I started doing a couple different things that made all the difference in how my steak tasted.

First I would use my meat tenderizer tool to make the steak flat and ready to absorb the spices. There are a lot of great sirloin steak seasoning recipes out there and many of them have all kinds of different spices in them.

Mine is very simple. Some Italian spice seasoning, garlic and my secret ingredient - dry orange peel. I mix this with a little bit of olive oil and rub on the meat.

After cooking for only a few minutes on each side, then I add salt and pepper to taste. Another tip is to let the steak rest for a few minutes after cooking because it will continue to cook even after it is removed from the heat.

By kylee07drg — On Dec 14, 2011

BBQ sirloin steak is one of my favorite dishes. It tastes a lot like a hamburger with sauce, and sometimes, I prefer to put it in a bun than to cut it up and eat the pieces separately.

If the meat has been frozen, I put it in the refrigerator the night before I plan to cook it so that it can thaw thoroughly. The next day, I soak the meat in BBQ sauce for a couple of hours before cooking it. I think the flavor soaks in best this way.

I cook it in the oven after adding extra BBQ sauce to the pan. As a side dish, I prepare roasted potatoes with parsley and season-all on top, tossed in olive oil so that they will brown better. It has become a family favorite.

By gravois — On Dec 13, 2011

Is there a good over the counter sirloin steak seasoning that I can buy to improve the flavor of my steaks? A few years back I saw an ad in a magazine selling mail order steaks for what seemed like a great price.

Well, I fell for it hook line and sinker and now I have a freezer full of pretty mediocre sirloin steaks that I ultimately ended up paying too much for. I have tried cooking them different ways, marinating them, cutting them into little pieces, you name it. The flavor is always just mediocre. I feel like if I rubbed them with a really bold seasoning rub that might make them a little more edible. I hate to waste all this meat but its getting kind of hard to eat.

By nextcorrea — On Dec 12, 2011

I love to have sirloin steak when I eat steak and eggs. I know that sirloin is not considered the finest cut of steak, but somehow that is a benefit when you are eating it for breakfast. There is just something so meaty and chewy about the steak it is the perfect compliment to the eggs and toast. And because the flavor is not overwhelmingly beefy it does not drown out the other flavors in the meal. Also, sirloin steak tends to be cheap so I can afford to splurge a little and have myself a nice breakfast.

By cloudel — On Dec 12, 2011

I use sirloin tip steak to make steak fajitas, and I have never been disappointed with the quality of the meat. The spices I add enhance its natural flavor, and I cook it quickly to avoid making it tough.

I cut the sirloin tip steak into thin slivers. Then, I place them in a carton with cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, salt, and pepper. I put a lid on it and shake it vigorously until all the pieces are coated.

Then, I cook the meat over medium heat in a skillet with vegetable oil, red and green bell peppers, and onions. It only takes about three minutes on each side to get the meat browned and only slightly pink in the center.

I wrap all this up in flour tortillas when it's done, and it is so delicious. My husband likes to add sour cream and shredded cheddar, but I like to enjoy the flavors without any distractions.

By wavy58 — On Dec 11, 2011

@Perdido – Maybe you ate a bad sirloin, because to me, they are excellent when prepared correctly. I always order mine medium rare so that it stays tender and juicy.

True, I sometimes find tendons in my sirloin, but if you cut it up into small enough pieces, you can usually avoid being surprised by one. Also, it's not as hard to chew that way.

I like my sirloin stuffed with garlic and onions. The flavor carries throughout the meat as it is cooked, and no piece is left bland. You don't even need any steak sauce if the flavors have been delivered internally.

By turquoise — On Dec 11, 2011

@mentirosa-- That's true, it does make good hamburger meat. I buy sirloin and have it ground at the butcher when I want to make a nice juicy hamburger.

Some people make the mistake of getting round sirloin for hamburgers which is a pretty lean piece of meat. Others make the mistake of picking steak with a lot of muscle like the flat bone which takes away from the tenderness. Sirloin is a good choice. It has a small amount of muscle and also enough fat that adds flavor to the meat and doesn't cook too quickly and burn if you plan on making barbeque sirloin steak hamburgers.

The only trick is to get rid of the bone, but butchers do that for you if you have them grind it at the store.

By Perdido — On Dec 10, 2011

@ysmina – I love New York strip steak, and to me, it tastes so much better than sirloin steak.

This steak is more tender and flavorful than sirloin. For years, I wouldn't order steak at a restaurant, because all I had ever eaten was sirloin steak, and I didn't like it. I finally gave in and tried New York strip steak, and it was the best thing I had ever tasted.

I didn't even need to put steak sauce on it. The natural juices marinated it perfectly.

Sirloin steak can be kind of stringy. You take a bite, and you find a tendon holding on as you try to pull it away from the rest. This nauseates me.

You will never find gooey, stringy tendons in strip steak. It's pure meat bliss.

By fify — On Dec 09, 2011

@ysmina-- Sirloin and strip steak are not the same. Strip steak comes from the short loin which is lower and towards the head of the animal whereas sirloin is closer to the rump.

I'm not an expert on beef but I have friends who have this down to a science and pride themselves in knowing exactly which part of the animal each steak comes from.

I think for the most part though, we can categorize them in horizontal blocks. If you can imagine a cow, the hump area is where round steak comes from, next is sirloin and then short loin.

The mid section of the animal closer to the belly is where the most tender meat is and sirloin is definitely one of the most tender. Some people might argue otherwise but I agree with you that beef sirloin steak is an acceptable alternative to tenderloin steak.

By ysmina — On Dec 09, 2011

I always buy sirloin beef steak and I think it tastes great. It does have some bone but I think that adds flavor to the meat while it's cooking, especially when it's cooked with sauce.

I know the tenderloin is more popular and well known in cuisine, especially 'filet mignon' is the most expensive dish served in many top restaurants. But when I'm buying steak for dinner, I don't need to pay extra for tenderloin, the flavor between that and sirloin is really not distinguishable to me.

By the way, sometimes next to the sirloin, I see a steak called 'strip steak' at the store. It looks the same as sirloin, is there a difference?

By mentirosa — On Nov 17, 2009

Also a good cut of meat to make hamburgers. Nice flavor and good lean to fat proportions.

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