How to Cook Sirloin on the Stove or in the Oven

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Although it's not the most coveted cut of beef, sirloin is well suited for stovetop or oven cooking. The meat comes from an area surrounding the animal's backbone, between the ribs and pelvis. Muscle in that area isn't used much for locomotion, so sirloin is more tender than cuts such as brisket and bottom round--high-use areas that are correspondingly tough. Sirloin is also relatively lean and high in flavor.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Cast iron skillet
  • Spatter screen (if using stovetop)

Preparation

  • At the market, select a sirloin steak that appears mostly free of gristle (connective tissue), which is recognizable as shiny, white streaks through the center of the meat.

  • Trim any excess fat, but leave a little around the edges for flavor.

  • Flatten the garlic clove with the side of a large knife to loosen the peel, and remove. Halve the clove, and then rub the cut surfaces on each side of the steak.

  • Rub the steak on both sides with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, rub in some sugar as well to get a caramelized crust.

Cooking

  • Rub the skillet with vegetable oil. Blot up any excess with a paper towel.

  • If using the oven, place the skillet on a rack one notch above the middle position and preheat the oven to broil. If using the stovetop, heat the skillet over high heat until it just threatens to smoke.

  • Place the sirloin in the skillet. If cooking on the stovetop, reduce heat to medium-high.

  • Cook the sirloin to desired doneness, turning only once and using tongs rather than a fork so juices are not lost. Do not cut into or apply pressure to the meat while it is cooking.

  • Determine doneness by pressing the back of a spoon into the steak. Meat that yields and does not bounce back immediately is rare to medium-rare. Meat that yields but springs back quickly is medium. Meat that resists pressure is medium-well. Charred and/or firm meat is well done.

  • Remove the sirloin from the heat and allow it to rest on a platter for a minute or two before serving. This allows the juices and heat to distribute evenly throughout the steak.

Tips & Warnings

  • Soak your sirloin in a marinade for several hours before cooking. You can also top it with a pat of butter when serving.
  • If cooking on the stovetop, use a spatter screen to minimize mess and prevent injuries from flying grease.
  • Always wash your hands and any surfaces touched by raw meat to prevent food-borne illness.

References

  • "On Cooking: Techniques from Expert Chefs;" Sarah R. Labensky and Alan M. Hause; 2003
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