How to Cook the Perfect Sirloin Steak
The sirloin steak is the most popular steak in the UK. So, if there’s going to be one steak you aim to cook right, it’s this one. It comes from the cuts of meat from the upper middle of the animal. Not to be confused with the American Sirloin, which is actually our rump steak, bloody yanks. Sirloin steaks are typically 8oz or 10oz, well-marbled with a varying length of tasty, creamy fat along the side. It’s a delicious steak when done right. If you look across the internet, you will find many ways and interpretations as to what goes into making the perfect sirloin steak. We prefer to keep things a bit simpler, but with no lesser results. With our simple guide, we’ll get you cooking it like a chef to restaurant quality.
Let’s get into it.
1. Pick Your Sirloin
Firstly, we advocate choosing the highest quality, most flavoursome cuts of sirloin steak you can. Not all beef is created equal and better meat makes a difference. That really gets things started off in the right way. The sirloin cut is a personal favourite of ours and we have excellent 35-day dry-aged 8oz and 10oz options for you to choose from. All of our beef is grass-fed and sourced predominantly from Scottish farms. We wouldn't buy from anywhere else; we have the greatest herd on the planet. Grass-feeding and dry-ageing are important to us. Grass-fed cattle walk around and graze on pasture, which means the meat is leaner with a richer flavour. We only source grass-fed and silage-fed (a type of natural grass fodder used in winter) beef. This natural process means our products are as environmentally friendly as possible and the animals are kept on their natural diet, improving animal welfare and the beef itself. The dry-ageing process removes unwanted moisture from the beef, which improves the flavour and tenderness. Dry ageing is the process we use where carcasses are hung to dry (usually in an ageing chamber) to intensify the flavour and cause the meat to shrink because of the removal of unwanted moisture. You will see all our beef is aged for 35 days or 70+ days. We do this in our specialist state-of-the-art ageing chambers. It makes it tastier!
Secondly, that the preparation and cooking are different for different thicknesses of sirloin steaks. For example, while a sirloin is best cooked rare to medium-rare, cooking times can vary a little if you go for a thicker 10oz steak vs an 8oz steak. While you should be aware of this, we’re not talking minutes, leave it too long and you can ruin the steak. So, it pays to plan it out beforehand and know your cooking times.
2. The Right Tools
When cooking a sirloin steak, a large heavy-duty frying or griddle pan are best. The reason for this is heat conduction, these types of pans retain heat well allowing them to get really hot, which makes them ideal for caramelisation to happen, achieving that flavoursome, smoky, charred finish on the surface of the steak, without cooking all the way through the meat. It’ll also help to melt the marbled fat which will make the steak tender and juicer. Also, have a good spatula or ideally cooking tongs on hand to enable you to flip the steak easily. A spoon will come in handy too.
- Heavy-duty frying or griddle pan
- Spatula or cooking tongs
- A spoon
- Extra plate (for resting)
3. Ingredients and Preparation
At least one hour before cooking take the sirloin steak out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. The reason for this is so that the heat from the pan can more easily penetrate to the middle of the meat. If you try to cook it straight from the fridge it can result in an unevenly cooked and disappointing steak, in some cases it’ll be raw. Naturally, you do not want that. Coat the steak in oil such as sunflower or vegetable oil, just enough. Never opt for an oil with a low smoke point like olive oil, as this will turn bitter in the heat which will transfer over to the steak.
Next, season well with salt on both sides of your steak. The salt will be absorbed by the steak to help draw out the moisture, this, in turn, creates a salt brine which is reabsorbed back into the steak when cooking to help make the meat even more tender.
Have the butter on hand so you can easily scoop a knob and pop it into the pan when the steak is cooking. To enhance with even more flavour, add in some whole garlic cloves and thyme or rosemary. They will mix with the butter and juices of the steak to add some delightful flavours.
After the steak has been well seared and butter added, then you can add cracked black pepper to your taste so keep that handy.
A note on salt, lots of recipes call for sea salt, and sea salt is good, but plain table salt does the job just as well. The main thing about salt is to use enough without saturating the meat.
- Sunflower or Vegetable Oil
- Garlic cloves (optional)
- Thyme or rosemary (optional)
Ensure that you give your pan enough time to heat up. It needs to be very hot. This is so that you can sear the sirloin steak until it gets a caramelised brown smoky crust. Otherwise, it’ll be cooked but you’ll miss out on the excellent flavour caramelisation brings out in the meat.
Quick Tip - Now cooking a steak is quite a quick process, there will be variances depending on the thickness of the sirloin steak you are cooking, but overall, it’ll be quite quick, and you need be wary of cooking for too long. Even an extra minute can be too much.
Start off by searing the outer layer of fat first for about a minute, then do the same to the opposite side. Now, turn it and lay it flat in the pan for about a minute each side, as the juices and oil begin to run, add the knob of butter, and if you have them the garlic and herbs too. It’s important not to add the butter to the pan right away otherwise it will burn. By waiting to add it, you allow the pan to decrease in temperature (because of the running juices and heat absorption by the steak) enough that the butter foams up and turns a nice golden brown colour, taking on the flavours of your aromatics without burning.
While cooking you may notice that one side usually gets caramelised a little better than the other, but to ensure they are as caramelised as evenly and as much as they can be, turn every 30 seconds to a minute in the pan. In between, use your spoon to baste the steak with the butter and juices.
After the butter has been added you can twist some cracked black pepper over the steak to your own taste. This is the perfect stage to add Be careful not to add too much to overpower the other flavours.
Overall cooking times will vary depending on the thickness of the cut, but generally aim for these cooking times:
- 8oz – 1 ½ mins each side
- 10 oz - 1 ½ to 2 mins each side
- Medium Rare
- 8oz – 2 mins each side
- 10oz – 2 ½ mins each side
- 8oz – 2 ¼ mins each side
- 10oz – 3 mins each side
- Well Done
- 8oz – 4 mins each side
- 10oz – 4 ½ to 5 mins each side
5. After Cooking
Once cooked transfer to a warm plate, not hot (warm it in the oven) and rest for five minutes. The sirloin steak is rested to allow it time to reabsorb the juices to help it become even more moist and tender. So be sure to pour the remaining juices over the steak before serving. Then, serve whole or sliced with some of the resting juices poured over. It’ll taste delicious.
And That’s How to Cook the Perfect Sirloin Steak
And there you are, chef. There is nothing quite like a good sirloin, served with perfectly cooked chips and veg, maybe some caramelised onions too. Steak has a bit of a reputation of being tricky to get right at home but with these instructions, we’re sure you’re more than ready.