Petite sirloin steaks are an excellent choice for an everyday meal because they’re both lean and easy on your grocery bill. Also known as “tip steak,” this versatile cut of meat can be used in almost any steak recipe.
Where Does Petite Sirloin Come From?
The loin sits just in front of the round, or the cow’s rear end, and it produces lean, flavorful meat. The top sirloin, according to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, produces streaks, both loin and its half-sized version, petite sirloin. The lower, bottom sirloin, provides tri-tip and sirloin bavette, good cuts for grilling and roasting.
A Petite Sirloin Steak by Another Name Is Still Delicious
You can order petite sirloin steaks from your butcher, who might also know them as ball tip steak or loin ball tip steak. They’re versatile and can be cooked all sorts of ways ‒ from stir-frying to broiling ‒ with delicious results every time.
As with most cuts of meat with little fat, the only potential drawback is that they can be tough and chewy ‒ unless you know the secrets of making a tough steak tender.
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How Do You Make a Tough Steak Tender?
There are three basic ways to tenderize a tough cut of meat: using salt or a marinade or just plain old getting physical.
- Salt: In addition to making everything taste better, salt draws moisture out of meat to help it makes its own brine. Salt your meat up to 24 hours in advance, so it has time to penetrate the meat.
- Marinate: Soaking meat in citrus, vinegar or another acid helps break down the proteins in the meat, making it more tender. But be careful to not let it marinate longer than about two hours to prevent the meat from turning mushy instead of tender.
- Pound: If using acid isn’t an option and you don’t have 24 hours for simple salt to do its thing, you can always roll up those sleeves and pound tough meat fibers into submission. Give it a good whack or two with a mallet or even with a sturdy rolling pin. But be careful not to beat it into paste; just give it a bit of the rough stuff or even make a simple crosshatch with a knife to help charm chewy steaks into perfection.
How to Cook Sirloin Steak
Sirloin can do almost anything you can dream up, but to prepare it via a traditional method, you have three go-to ways: grill, pan sear and broil. The method you use will depend on available equipment, how long you have to cook the steaks and the recipe.
How to Cook Steak on the Stove
One of the most convenient ways to cook petite sirloin steaks without a grill is to first sear the steak on the stove and finish it in the oven.
Start with a marinade or any of the techniques mentioned for tenderizing the meat. Meanwhile, heat up a cast iron skillet over high heat until it’s screaming hot.
Before searing the steaks in the hot pan, pat the meat dry and season with salt and pepper. Sear the steaks on all sides to seal in the meat’s juices and flavor.
Once the meat is charred all the way around, it’s time for a quick visit to a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven.
How Long Does It Take to Cook Steak in the Oven at 400 Degrees?
The amount of time your petite sirloin steaks need to spend in the oven depends on how done you like your meat. Here’s a quick look at cooking times, according to the healthy food site My Wholesome Yum.
- Rare: If you like your steak rare, cook it in a 400-degree oven for about 2 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 120 degrees on a meat thermometer.
- Medium-Rare: Leave your petite sirloin steak in a 400-degree oven for 3 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 130 degrees,
- Medium: 4 minutes in the oven should be enough to cook the steak to medium, or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.
- Medium-Well: About 5 minutes in the oven should bring your steak to medium-well, with an internal temperature of about 150 degrees.
- Well: If you like your meat well-done without a hint of red, leave the steak in the oven for about 6 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of about 160 degrees.
Once the steaks have cooked to your preference, let them rest tented in foil for at least 5 minutes. This step is crucial for the juices to be re-absorbed into the meat.
Once your petite sirloin has baked in the oven and rested, then it’s ready for the table.
Becky Bracken is a lifestyle, parenting and real estate journalist who has written for outlets including Realtor, Babble, SheKnows, CafeMom, Complex and more.