There aren’t too many cooking activities out there as enjoyable as grilling. And while the joys of grilling extend to many people worldwide, the debate on which steak is the best on the grill still rings loudly in pitmaster circles.
And today, we’re taking a look at a comparison that goes back a long time: the sirloin vs filet.
These are some of the most popular and accessible cuts available for people looking to grill meat. But which one cooks better? Which one tastes better? And how do you get the most from either of these steaks?
If you’ve been asking yourself these questions, you’ve come to the right place. We’re answering all of them in complete detail today so you can easily come up with the best recipe for your Friday steak night!
Read on to learn more.
Before comparing the two cuts of meat, we need to first understand what they are. The sirloin comes from the “sirloin” part of the animal. Dubbed rumpsteak in the UK, the sirloin can be found on the back of the cow, and is known for its high fat content and great flavor. It’s a popular cut all over the world, and despite its premium flavors and qualities, it’s still pretty affordable compared to other cuts.
The sirloin is far from the fattiest part of the cow. In fact, it’s very similar to the filet, albeit with a bit more fat. So, you can expect a classic flavor from this cut, and if you put it on the grill, you’ll surely have your guests drooling while waiting for their meal.
The sirloin isn’t the most tender cut available. It is a bit on the chewier side, which is why it may not be ideal for those who don’t enjoy tougher meats. However, since it’s packed with flavor, there are many pitmasters and foodies alike who would cook this steak any day of the week.
With that said, keep in mind that sirloin consists of a “top sirloin” and “bottom sirloin”. While the top sirloin is more expensive, it’s a more premium cut that has a lot more flavor.
- Packed with flavor
- Easy to find
- Doesn’t have too much fat
- Relatively inexpensive
- Can be tough if overcooked
- Takes a bit longer to cook because of how lean it is
The filet, also known as the filet mignon, is a very tender cut of meat that has a relatively low-fat content. This is a part that’s taken out of the tenderloin area of the cow and is very popular on home grills and in restaurants. The reason for this is that the meat is incredibly soft and has a texture that you won’t find on any of the more “common” cuts of meat.
There’s no doubt that the filet mignon is a premium part of the cow. It’s very easy to cook since it’s so soft, and while it’s relatively lean, it’s still packed with a beefy flavor that you won’t forget. Typically, this is served with some compound butter on top.
With that said, be careful when cooking a filet. Since it has a low fat content, you need to understand how to enhance the natural flavors of the meat. The low fat content means the flavor won’t be as strong, which isn’t something you want when serving steak to your guests.
- Incredibly soft and tender
- A true premium cut of meat
- Relatively easy to cook
- Works great no matter what temperature you cook it
- Doesn’t have as much flavor as the sirloin
Now that you have a rough idea of what these cuts are, it’s time to get into the details. While both of these cuts would make great steaks, they each have certain qualities that you need to consider when creating your menu. So, let’s compare these two cuts based on specific categories.
In terms of flavor, both of these steaks deliver. In fact, many people find the sirloin and filet very similar. And even if they’re different cuts, the way you cook, season, or marinate the steak can also have a significant effect on how it tastes. That’s why either of these cuts would work great on the grill.
Just because they taste similar, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any differences. There are actually tons of subtle flavor differences between sirloin and filet that you need to know if you’re deciding between these two options.
However, in our experience, we definitely noticed that the sirloin had much more flavor than the filet, and this is largely due to the higher fat content on the sirloin. This is why we chose to compare the cuts in terms of flavor and fat content at the same time.
The flavor and fat content of the sirloin is significantly higher than the filet. Because of that, this cut naturally has much more flavor than the filet. With that said, the filet still tastes great, but if you’re looking for that classic “steak” flavor, we recommend going for the sirloin.
However, keep in mind that the flavor isn’t the main reason you eat a filet anyway. While the filet lacks in flavor and fat content, it excels in other areas.
When it comes to texture, we gave the point to the filet. When you go to a restaurant or cook your own filet mignon, you can expect it to be incredibly soft. Whether you cook it rare, medium, or well-done, it will definitely be softer than the same cuts cooked to the same temperature.
Remember, the filet comes from the tenderloin. And as the name suggests, this part of the meat is very soft. The reason for this is that the muscle isn’t used as much as other parts of the animal. And since the sirloin comes from the area above the tenderloin, it’s used significantly more, which makes it tougher.
But again, keep in mind that the way you cook the steak can greatly influence the texture. While the filet remains soft regardless of the done-ness of the meat, the sirloin will be much softer if you cook it to medium-rare, but we’ll get to the details of that later
Whether you’re cooking on a 2-burn gas grill, stovetop, or charcoal grill, we always recommend cooking these cuts to medium-rare. The reason for this is that cooking a piece of steak to medium-rare always gives you a tender cut. And since the filet doesn’t have as high a fat content as other cuts of meat, cooking it well-done may cause the cut to dry out and start getting tough.
Remember, you aren’t getting a filet for the flavor. Instead, you’re getting a filet for the incredible texture that it comes with. And for you to get the best possible texture on your filet, we highly suggest cooking it to medium-rare, anything more than that would result in a tough and unappetizing steak.
The sirloin is a bit more forgiving in terms of cooking methods. So, if you aren’t a fan of medium-rare steaks, then you might want to avoid the filet.
At the end of the day, the best steak for your barbecue largely depends on your own tastes and preferences. So, if you’re having a hard time deciding which cut belongs on your grill, don’t hesitate to really go through your tastes and your guests’ until you find the best match.
With that said, the flavor of the sirloin is a bit stronger than the filet. Since it has a higher fat content, you will be able to get a beefier taste. However, the filet is incredibly tender and soft, which is the reason it’s a favorite for professional and amateur pitmasters alike!