Get Juicy Sirloin Steak: 6+ Tenderizing Tips

how do you make sirloin steak tender

Sirloin is one of the most popular steaks for people to buy. Depending on the cut and the cooking method, it can be tough and even gnarly in texture. Knowing how to make sirloin steak tender will ensure you get a great meal and your money’s worth.

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What is a Sirloin?

Cuts of Beef

It’s important to understand what you will get with a sirloin steak. It is cut from the top of the cow’s back, next to the rump and above the flank. The result is that it is going to be tender and flavorful.

Depending on how the butcher cuts the sirloin steak, it may have a bit more fat marbling or a bit sinewier muscle to work through.

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You need to pay attention to whether you’re getting top sirloin or bottom sirloin. Top sirloin will be more expensive because of the tenderness.

Most sirloin steaks, unless marked as top, are bottom sirloin. These are larger but tend to be tougher unless you know how to work with them.

How Do You Tenderize Sirloin Steak?

Tenderizing a steak will allow you to cut and chew it with ease. You don’t want a tough or chewy texture to the beef.

There are various tenderizing processes that you can take depending on the flavor you want to achieve and the dish that you are making (and these are similar, but not exactly like other steak cuts).

1. Manually Tenderize

KitchenAid Gourmet Meat Tenderizer, One Size, Black

One of the easiest ways to tenderize a sirloin steak is to use a meat mallet. This will help you to break apart some of the fibers that will create a tougher texture.

Place the steak on a cutting board and cover it with plastic wrap. Then, use the meat mallet on the steak as you would a hammer. Once you have pounded one side, flip it over and repeat.

Once you’ve broken apart some of the sinewy bonds of the steak, you can grill it, pan-sear it, or broil it as you would any other steak.

2. Add Salt

Salt is a natural way of tenderizing the steak. You can rub both sides of the steak with one teaspoon of kosher salt (per side). Let it sit for about one to two hours.

You can then rub some of the salt off and pat it dry before you grill it up.

Another option is to cover the steak entirely with salt or rub and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Then, rinse the steak off. It’s known as a dry-brining process, which can deliver the same results as a dry-aged steak without spending all of the time.

3. Let It Soak in a Marinade

Marinades are a great way of infusing flavor and helping to add tenderness to a steak. You can whisk up a few ingredients that will successfully break down the muscular fibers of the steak.

Use a resealable gallon bag and place the steaks inside. Then, pour in the marinade. Seal up the bag and place it in the fridge for a few hours.

Every so often, flip the bag over so that the marinade can reach all areas of the steak.

You can also choose to pierce the steaks with a fork first, which will help with tenderization and also help to soak up more of the marinade.

4. Use Butter

Epicurean Butter, Steak Finishing Butter, Variety Pack

Most sirloin steaks don’t have a lot of fat on them. As such, you won’t get a lot of rich, buttery flavor when you cook them.

Since sirloin steaks are relatively thin, they’ll cook quickly. A bit of butter will help to create a juicy, tender texture to the steak. It will also add in some fat that will offer more flavor.

Additionally, when the steak has been cooked, you can serve it with a pat of compound butter on the steak. It will help to keep the steak juicy from the first bite all the way until the last bite.

5. Cook to the Correct Temperature

Levels of Steak Doneness

The temperature on a sirloin steak should read 130 degrees Fahrenheit. If you under or overcook the steak, you can easily end up with a chewy consistency on the steak.

Often, you need to find the “sweet spot” so that you cook it so that it isn’t chewy without cooking it so long that it’s dry.

By pulling the steak at 130 degrees, you will account for what is known as carryover cooking. The steak will continue to cook once you pull it off the heat.

It’s why the steak should always rest before serving. By the time you serve, the final temperature will read 135 degrees.

6. Don’t Forget a Good Sear

A good sear is necessary to help lock in the flavor and add tenderness to a steak. It will help to trap in a lot of the moisture, too.

To get a good sear on your steak, make sure that the pan is hot. Press the steak down in the pan so that it makes contact with the surface.

If you want beautiful grill marks, you will want to lift the steak and move it 90 degrees and make contact with the surface again.

7. Explore Different Cooking Methods

You can cook a sirloin steak using a variety of different cooking methods. Each one can help to produce a tender, delicious steak.


Steak on Grill

Use a charcoal or gas grill to sear and cook your steaks. Various wood chips can be used to infuse flavor into the cooking process, too.


Pan Fry Steak

Use a pan or cast-iron skillet to cook the steaks to the desired temperature.

Sous Vide

Lock your steak with seasoning into a plastic bag and place it into a hot water bath where it will cook for an extended period of time.


Place the steak in a smoker and plan to smoke for approximately 45 minutes per pound.


Place a seared steak into a liquid to cook, such as wine or broth.


Fried Steak

Pound and batter the steak before submerging it into an oil bath for a few minutes per side to create a country-fried steak.

8. Cut Against the Grain

Whether you are cutting the meat before cooking or after, it’s important that you cut against the grain. If you cut with the grain, you may find that the beef has a chewy texture.

You’ll find the lines on the steak, which is the direction that the muscle fibers run. You will cut against these, which helps to break up the length of the fibers. It will make for a more pleasurable chewing experience.

How Do You Make Sirloin Steak Tender Using a Marinade?

A marinade will help to break down some of the muscle fibers that will, otherwise, create a chewy steak. A good marinade should use a few different ingredients to infuse flavor and break down the fibers.

Some of the enzymes and acids that you can include in your marinade:

  • Yogurt
  • Cola
  • Wine
  • Citrus juices
  • Coffee/tea
  • Vinegar

Once you decide on a flavor profile for your dish, you can create the desired marinade. Excess marinade can be brushed onto the steak during the cooking process.

Leave the sirloin whole or slice/cube it. Let the beef sit in the marinade for at least an hour but no more than 24 hours before cooking it.

Frequently Asked Questions

The more you know about how to impact the tenderness of a sirloin steak, the more you can cook delicious and successful dishes.

Final Thoughts

Take the time to examine the sirloin steak that you’re buying. If you’re buying a top sirloin, you won’t have to worry as much about tenderization.

Bottom sirloins will require a little more effort. The more muscle there is within your steak, the more you’ll have to work to create a tender dish.

Talk to the butcher to see what steaks they have so that you can get one that will work well with the meal you’re looking to create.

More FAQs

How do I make my sirloin steak more tender?

To make your sirloin steak more tender, you can enhance its tenderness and texture by placing the meat on a bed and completely covering it with kosher or coarse sea salt. Whether you choose to rub it in or let it sit, allow approximately 15 minutes (or up to 45 minutes for thicker cuts) for the salt to break down the muscle fibers and connective tissue, maximizing the tenderness and texture of the steak.

How do restaurants make their steaks so tender?

Restaurants achieve the tenderness of their steaks by utilizing a marinade. The process involves marinating the steaks while they are stored, allowing the beef to wet-age and reach optimal tenderness. The great news is that you can also achieve this at home with a well-prepared marinade.

Does sirloin get softer the longer you cook it?

Sirloin does get softer the longer you cook it because extended cooking time allows for the breakdown of connective tissue and fat. This not only results in a tender texture but also helps to retain the meat’s moisture.

Why is my top sirloin not tender?

Your top sirloin may not be tender due to its size. Typically, top sirloin is cut to a thickness of 1.5″ to 1.75″ inches. If it is cut thinner, there is a higher risk of overcooking the meat. On the other hand, if it is cut thicker, you may need to consider using low and slow cooking techniques such as braising to break down the meat and achieve a tender result.

What is the secret ingredient to tenderize meat?

The secret ingredient to tenderize meat is to quickly toss chunks of beef or chicken in approximately ¾ tsp of baking soda for around 15 minutes before the next stir fry. Afterward, rinse and pat the meat dry before placing it in the pan. This technique of velveting the meat helps to achieve a melt-in-your-mouth tenderness.

Does baking soda make beef tender?

Baking soda does make beef tender when it is cooked in a combination of water and baking soda for at least 15 minutes or slightly longer.

Does top sirloin get more tender the longer you cook it?

Top sirloin does not get more tender the longer you cook it. The tenderness of the meat depends on the cut. Cuts like chuck contain a significant amount of connective tissue which can melt and become tender with prolonged cooking, such as in a braise. However, leaner cuts of beef, like top sirloin, will not become more tender with extended cooking and may actually become tougher.

How do you cook sirloin steak so it falls apart?

To achieve a sirloin steak that easily falls apart, you can cook it by placing the browned steaks in a covered roasting pan. Then, add beef stock, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper to the pan. Proceed to slow cook the steaks in the oven at 300 degrees F for a duration of 2-3 hours, or until the meat reaches a very tender consistency and starts to break apart.

How do I make my sirloin steak less tough?

To make a sirloin steak less tough, you can try various methods. One option is to marinate the steak in acids or enzymes, which helps break down the fibers and tenderize the meat. Another method is to pound the steak, as this can easily break down the fibers and soften the meat. Additionally, salting the steak is a simple way to tenderize it, as the salt breaks down the protein cells in the meat.

Does sirloin get tougher the longer you cook it?

Sirloin does not become tougher the longer you cook it; instead, it remains lean and can become tough and chewy with a long, slow cook time. On the other hand, tougher cuts of meat like chuck break down and become tender when cooked for a prolonged period. To ensure tender meat in beef stew, it is recommended to use chuck meat.

Should sirloin steak be cooked with dry or moist heat?

Sirloin steak should be cooked with dry heat rather than moist heat. Dry heat cooking methods do not involve adding any additional moisture during the cooking process. These methods are typically used for cuts of beef that are more tender and marbled, such as striploin, tenderloin, sirloin, and rib.

What is the best way to cook a sirloin medium-rare?

The best way to cook a sirloin medium-rare is by heating a medium-sized heavy-bottomed frying pan over high heat. Drizzle oil over the steaks and sprinkle salt and pepper, ensuring to massage them into both sides of the steaks. Proceed to place the steaks in the pan and cook for 3 minutes, flipping every minute.

How long does it take for a steak to fall apart?

It takes approximately 6-8 hours on low heat or about 4 hours on high heat for a steak to become so tender that it easily shreds and falls apart. To achieve this, cover the steak with a lid and cook it on low heat for the specified time. Once the meat is fully cooked, use two forks to shred it in the pot.

Why is my sirloin steak so tough?

Your sirloin steak may be tough because it has been stored for an extended period, possibly over four months, which can make it safe to eat but tougher in texture. Supermarkets often purchase meat in large quantities, and you might end up buying a steak that has been frozen for too long. Consequently, these steaks are more likely to be tough and chewy when cooked.

How do you soften meat quickly?

To soften meat quickly, you can expedite the process by using a baking soda solution. Unlike a saltwater brine, which requires at least 30 minutes to start working, meat only needs to sit in a baking soda solution for 15 to 20 minutes.

How do you tenderize beef before cooking?

To tenderize beef before cooking, you can follow these steps: Dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda into ½ cup of water for every 12 ounces of meat. Soak the meat in this solution for at least 15 minutes. Afterwards, remove the meat and rinse it thoroughly. Finally, cook the meat as desired.

How do you tenderize a tough sirloin roast?

To tenderize a tough sirloin roast, you can achieve desirable results by placing the meat onto a baking pan and cooking it for one hour. During the cooking process, make sure to open the oven every 10 minutes and utilize a turkey baster to cover the roast with 1/4 cup of heated beef broth. This method will effectively enhance the tenderness of the meat.

How do you keep sirloin from drying out?

To keep sirloin from drying out, one can prevent moisture loss by covering the meat with either parchment paper or foil before cooking. Simply place the sirloin on a baking tray and carefully drape a piece of foil or parchment paper over it. This protective layer helps retain the natural juices and moisture, ensuring a succulent result. Cook the sirloin in the oven for the recommended duration, and enjoy a tender and flavorful dish.

Does sirloin steak get tender?

Sirloin steak has a lower fat content compared to ribeye steak, resulting in less fat marbling throughout the meat. This can make it less tender when cooked quickly. However, if you are willing to wait longer for it to cook, the fibers of sirloin steak can gradually loosen up and become more tender over time.

Should you season sirloin steak before cooking?

For optimal results, it is recommended to generously season sirloin steak with salt before cooking and allowing it to rest at room temperature. Additionally, adding a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper just before cooking can enhance its flavor.

Does baking soda tenderize meat?

Baking soda tenderizes meat by altering the physical composition of meat fibers, increasing the pH levels on the surface, and creating a more challenging environment for protein bonding.

Can you overcook sirloin steak?

Sirloin steak can easily dry out when overcooked, so it is recommended to cook it to medium doneness or rarer. This is especially important because sirloin doesn’t have much fat, unlike fattier steaks that can tolerate higher heat.

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