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.
What is a Sirloin?
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.
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
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 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
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
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.
Use a pan or cast-iron skillet to cook the steaks to the desired temperature.
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.
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:
- Citrus juices
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.
How Do I Make My Sirloin Steak Not Tough?
The sirloin steak that you make is tough because the fibers haven’t had a chance to break down. Figure out what kind of tenderizing technique you want to use. Once you break the fibers down, the steak will be much more tender.
How Do You Cook Sirloin Steak So It Falls Apart?
The way to cook sirloin steak so that it falls apart with a fork involves a “low and slow” method. You’ll want to cook the steak at a low temperature for a longer period of time. You may also want to choose a braising method, where the steak is quickly seared and, then, placed in liquid to cook – such as in an Instapot or a Crockpot.
Why Is My Sirloin Steak So Tough?
Sirloin steak is usually tough because you decided to simply cook the steak as is with minimal seasonings. When this happens, the steak doesn’t have a chance to become tender. You may be undercooking the steak so that it is chewy or overcooking the steak so that it is grizzly.
Try a few tenderizing processes to create a more tender steak.
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.