This post is sponsored by Omaha Steaks. Rest assured, all opinions are my own.
Top sirloin. It’s tasty. Damn tasty. The sirloin that I ate growing up was a big slab-o-meat that was the size of a large plate and we honestly just grilled it or may have cut it up and added it to some soup. All I knew at the time was that it was a hell of a lot more tender than some top or bottom round. We ate what was on sale in the grocery store that week and beef was usually a treat. My Mom worked in a factory for a living and we were always on a tight budget.
Many of us have heard of sirloin steak but what exactly is the “top sirloin”? For those of you who enjoy a bit of cattle anatomy, the top sirloin is a cut of beef from the primal loin or the subprimal sirloin. Top sirloin steaks differ from sirloin steaks in that the bone and tenderloin and bottom round muscles have been removed. The whole sirloin is separated in fabrication into the top sirloin butt and the bottom sirloin butt. The bottom sirloin provides cuts like tri-tip and sirloin bavette.
Sirloin is a leaner cut with great beefy flavor and also lends itself well to marinating and can be grilled, cooked in a skillet, used in stir-fry, broiled, smoked or cooked sous-vide.
Because top sirloin is a lean cut of beef, it is perfect for those looking for healthier options. A cut of cooked fresh meat is considered “lean” when it contains less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 mg of cholesterol per 100 grams (3 ½ oz) according to industry standards.
For this recipe I wanted a bolder flavor profile, but without marinating the beef. Enter the slightly smoky, sweet and mild taste of ancho chile powder. Ancho chile powder is pure dried ancho chiles with no other ingredients added. It is not interchangeable with traditional chili powder which is a blend of spices often used to season chili or other dishes. Since ancho chile powder is not inherently spicy, I added fresh ground black pepper to give it a little punch. I also like to season the outside of my steaks with a liberal amount of sea salt or kosher salt, but if you are watching your sodium intake, feel free to decrease the amount.
Omaha steaks provide a couple different options when ordering top sirloin and for this recipe I used the top sirloin from their Private Reserve line. They are hand cut with a nice angular profile, extra aged, and triple trimmed for zero-exterior fat. They are a healthier option when choosing a cut of beef and they are stunning when plated.
You could easily cook these in a cast iron or stainless steel pan on the stovetop, in the oven, or on the grill. There is certainly no wrong way and use what you have available to you. I chose to sear mine inside on cast iron inside, then bring them outside to finish on the grill at a lower temperature so I could get a nice consistent pink/redness throughout the steak. I’m a real sucker for the wonderful taste that grilling over charcoal gives to the meat. The trick is to get your pan nice and hot, sear for a maximum of 90 seconds per side, then finish the cooking on the grill or at an oven temperature of 250-275F. A good instant read thermometer is a valuable asset to your cooking arsenal and assures you always get the perfect temperature steak to your liking. I’m a rare to medium-rare type of gal so I’m usually shooting for the steak to have a finished temperature at about 130F. Because top sirloin is so lean, I don’t recommend taking it above medium as it will begin to get quite tough. But hey, to each their own.
For a quick side I made some honey glazed carrots in the oven. Just cut up some carrots, give them a toss in some extra virgin olive oil and a bit of dried thyme, salt and pepper. Preheat a sheet pan in the oven to 425F. Bake the carrots for about 10 minutes or until fork tender flipping half way through the cook. Add a tablespoonful of honey or two to the carrots on the hot pan, toss them around to coat, and serve. Easy peasy.
Ancho Chile Rubbed Top Sirloin
- 2 Top Sirloin
- 1 tbsp ghee, extra light olive oil, beef tallow, or oil of choice
- 1 tsp ancho chile powder
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp coarse black pepper
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Put light coat of oil on beef and coat liberally with ancho chile rub.
- Heat skillet until smoking hot with ghee, or oil/fat of your choice.
- Sear beef for 60-90 minutes per side.
- After steak is seared transfer to 275F grill or oven and cook until internal temperature is 130F for medium rare or 140 for medium when measured with an instant read thermometer.
- Rest steak for 5 minutes then cut and serve.