What is a Sirloin Steak?
If prepared well, eating a good sirloin steak can be one of life’s little pleasures. But if you’re not a trained butcher, how would you know what this cut is, and what makes it such an enjoyable eat? As a master butcher, I think I can help there…
The whole striploin, or sirloin, is a primal cut to be found beneath the back of the animal, between the ribs and the fillet. In fact, that’s how it gets its name, which comes from the French ‘surloine’, meaning ‘below the loin’, as loin is the old name for the fillet.
Sirloin steaks – also known as New York Strip Steaks in the USA – are cut from the very best meat to be found in the primal.
Combining the finest tender meat of the whole striploin with an outer edge of fat down one side, these steaks cook really well (watch Stefan, our Head Chef demonstrate just how easy they are to cook in his video) and are the ideal fit for most diners. They occupy the perfect balance between the extremes provided by other steak cuts – not too lean, fatty, tough or mild, you certainly don’t have to be a steak aficionado to taste their instant appeal. No wonder the sirloin is known as ‘the nation’s favourite steak’!
What to look for in the perfect Sirloin Steak…
• Grass-fed – you just can’t match it for flavour. Grass-fed beef has a richer, sweeter flavour than grain-fed, and won’t leave a greasy aftertaste.
• Well matured – about 28 days should be right, certainly no less, or the flavour and tender texture just won’t be developed enough. Smell it once it’s been at room temperature and before you cook it – it might sound odd but the raw beef should have a gorgeous, buttery aroma
• Good marbling – although not as heavily marbled as ribeye or some of the humble cuts, sirloin steaks should still be streaked with tiny flecks of fat throughout the meat
• Butchered with care – all gristle and silverskin should have been removed so you don’t have to leave anything on your plate
• Trimmed of excess fat – known as ‘special trim’ in the trade, just 5mm left on should be plenty for a great flavour when cooking
• A good thickness – this can and will vary depending on the size of the cross section of the whole striploin; if it came from a smaller animal, your steaks will be thicker to achieve the same weight. Anything around ¾” thick will give you a good succulent bite when cooked to medium.
These are the criteria I would measure any Sirloin Steak against, and would select mine accordingly. They are features which come as standard with all Donald Russell Sirloin Steaks, which is just as well; if you can trust a traditional butcher to look after the essential details for you, you can just get on with enjoying your steak.
I always pan-fry mine, following our foolproof cooking guide, and eat it with chips, onions and mushrooms of course!