The culinary world is full of different cuts of meat that all have their own unique differences. Some people like chicken breasts while others prefer chicken thighs.
The same is said about steak, arguably more so. There are so many cuts of meat from a cow, but not all of them are classed as steak.
The most popular steaks, however, tend to be either sirloin or ribeye. Each cut have their differences, so let’s get into that!
How to Choose a Prime Steak
A prime steak is a cut of meat from a cow that has good marbling and is generally sold in most dining establishments such as restaurants and hotels.
So, which one is best for you? Well, that all comes down to personal preference and also how much you are willing to spend.
Steak is considered a very fine dining item, having high-end expensive restaurants all over the world dedicated to the meat, so it comes as no surprise that much like wine, and whiskey, you can easily spend a large amount of money on a steak if you try to.
When it comes to actually choosing your cut of steak, you want to think about flavor, texture, and price. Some steaks will be cheaper, and taste nice, however, the texture will be quite hard and dense like you’re chewing pure fat despite how they are cooked.
While we shall be discussing Ribeye and Sirloin, there are so many types of steak that you should be aware of.
- Filet Mignon
- New York Strip
- London Broil
All these steaks come from different parts of a cow and all vary in their flavor and texture while ranging in price from affordable to ridiculously expensive.
Sirloin VS Ribeye: The Difference
The main talking points when it comes to their differences will be the cost, appearance, texture, taste, and where they come from.
What is a Sirloin Steak?
While it differs from country to country, the sirloin is from the subprimal posterior of a cow, the same place a T-bone and porterhouse is cut from.
Sirloins are set into two groups, the top sirloin, and the bottom sirloin. The bottom sirloin is of lower quality in terms of being less tender but larger. Whereas the top sirloin is much more tender but comes in smaller sizes.
By this, you can imagine that a bottom sirloin is cheaper per steak, but there is more of it. The same goes for the top sirloin but reversed, more expensive, more tender, but less meat.
What is a Ribeye Steak
The Ribeye steak comes from the rib area of a cow, anywhere from the sixth to twelfth rib.
It is very flavorsome and tender while having ample marbling for a deeper, more intense flavor when cooked properly.
The ribeye is mostly composed of the longissimus Dorsi muscle, hence why it has such good marbling.
Which Tastes Better: Sirloin VS Ribeye?
Sirloin has the characteristic chew that you would come to expect from steak, without it being tough.
However, because sirloin lacks the fatty cap or marbling of a ribeye, it seems much less tender and flavorsome.
Ribeye, on the other hand, has a much denser flavor profile and is more tender due to the perfect marbling and nice fatty cap on it which helps flavor the meat while cooking.
The fat on the steaks can be rendered while cooking which allows them to soak into the steak similar to how marinade does, flavoring it on the inside as well.
Both cuts of steak are prone to having a different flavor depending on how they are cooked. For example, the rarer the steaks are, the more blood they will have in them which can lead to a metallic flavor.
If you want to negate the metallic flavor, then you would have to cook for longer than usual. However, this will make your steak less tender and will prevent it from ‘melting in your mouth’ as a perfectly rare steak does.
Which is better for grilling?
When it comes to grilling, Ribeye definitely wins in terms of flavor. The fat inside will be rendered slowly as the grilling happens which leaves it ridiculously tender and easy to chew.
Sirloin is not bad to grill, by any means. Yet, it does lack the marbling that allows for it to reach its maximum potential.
Despite this, grilling enthusiasts will often choose sirloin instead as it is cheaper for larger amounts. The lack of fat also makes it easier to cook as you only worry about the rarity of the meat, not if the fat is rendered or not yet.
A steak has many different dishes in which it can either compliment or be the main focus. It is common for people to cook a steak to their liking, cut it into slice and combine it with ramen as a topping alongside sea kelp and a boiled egg.
Another way to eat a steak is to have it as its own main focus with some starchy sides such as fries and lots of vegetables.
Best Way to Prepare a Ribeye Steak
Because of how much marbling a ribeye steak has, the cooking is a tad more complicated as you want the fat to render.
First and foremost you must decide if you want to marinate it or not. This consists of covering the steak in seasoning and sauce to flavor it further.
Once you are ready to cook, you want to preheat the pan to very high heat to ensure the steak gets seared when placed on the pan.
After searing every side, you want to lower the heat to medium, as this will let you render the fat for a while. With other steaks, you would cook at a high temperature for short periods, whereas when it comes to marbling on steaks, lower temperatures for longer periods are best.
The steak should be cooked with oil, herbs, and seasoning to deeply flavor it. After all of this is done, keep your steak in the pan while using a spoon to move the oil from the pan to the top of the steak.
When the steak has reached your desired rarity, cover it in loose tin foil for 5 minutes before serving.
Best Way to Prepare a Sirloin Steak
The best way to prepare a sirloin steak is to set the pan to very high heat so that once it is placed down, you sear it. The heat needs to be very high, higher than most are comfortable with. When placing the steak you should hear an audible sizzle, which is exactly what you want.
After getting the initial wall of cooked steak on the outside, you want to lower the heat but not too much. Due to the little fat content the sirloin has, you can easily cook it to your preferred rarity without any hassle.
While cooking the steak, it is recommended to have oil and herbs in the pan with it to season the Steak. For an idea on what oils to use, read our oil-based article for more information to make sure you are up to scratch on your knowledge.
Once the steak has been cooking in the pan with herbs and oil, it is up to you to decide when you take it out. If you want it on the rarer side then less time is good, but if you like a steak well done then more time is ideal. This is only known by you and will take some getting used to.
The culinary world is a tough one to conquer, and steak is especially difficult. However, if you are just looking to have fun and learn better ways to cook while not pressuring yourself then I really recommend just trying things out. While this article may say one thing, your personal opinions may make you enjoy another thing more.
At the end of the day, cooking is an art. Like art, it is subjective and everyone has different opinions. You must find what works best for you, and go from there.