What’s your top choice when you’re in the mood for a nice, juicy steak? While any quality steak can be cooked to perfection, they each are unique. Take sirloin vs filet mignon, for example. Let’s dissect these two popular cuts of beef and see what sets them apart, how to grill them to perfection, and the best ways to serve.
Comparing steaks side by side will help you make an informed decision fast, which is excellent when you’re in a rush to fire up that grill!
Filet mignon is often considered as one of the best steaks out there, but sirloin is also a favorite for many.
I think it’s absolutely okay to enjoy both! Once you know their differences, it will be easy to make a choice!
🥩 What Is Sirloin?
Sirloin is not a specific cut of beef, it’s actually a category of cuts that come from the back area of the loin primal.
This area is well exercised, so it’s lean and it can have a tough texture. But sirloin compensates for the potential toughness with an incredible flavor and a higher protein content when compared to filet.
Here are the types of sirloin cuts available on the market:
- Top sirloin – This area of the sirloin primal is the most tender.
- Bottom sirloin – This cut comes from the lower area of the sirloin primal and is of lower-quality. With a tougher consistency, bottom sirloin is best for slow cooking methods that will tenderize it like stewing and braising.
- Sirloin tip – Another lean cut of beef, the sirloin tip comes from the sirloin roast. It can be used for both roasting and grilling.
- Sirloin roast – Same as the sirloin tip regarding both flavor and texture. You can also use this cut to make sirloin steaks.
- Sirloin steak – With such an obvious name, there’s no need for guesswork. This cut is sliced into sirloin steaks and they can be grilled or roasted with excellent results.
The top sirloin is the most tender, although, any part can taste wonderful if prepared and grilled properly!
🍖 What Is Filet Mignon?
Filet mignon gained its popularity because of its incredible tenderness. It’s just a small portion of the tenderloin, which comes from the short loin.
If you like your steak to melt in your mouth, the filet is the perfect cut for you. Filet has a mild flavor, unlike sirloin, which will give you a more intense beefy taste.
Don’t be confused when looking at your local butcher’s or grocery store’s meat display case. Only the cut from the narrower end of the tenderloin can be labeled as filet mignon.
Other steaks called tenderloin come from other areas of the tenderloin cut.
On top of the tenderness, there’s just a small amount of filet mignon in each cow, so this cut will always be on the pricy side.
⚖️ Side By Side Comparison
What better way to figure out if you like sirloin or filet than comparing all of their attributes? Let’s see what sets these two popular steaks apart!
|Texture||Moderately tender||Incredibly tender|
|Fat Content||Low fat||Lean|
|Marbling||Subtle marbling||Subtle marbling|
|Flavor||Medium to high intensity||Mild|
|Cost||$10-17 / pound||$35 / pound|
|Cooking Methods||Grilling and pan searing||Cast iron pan sear or searing on high heat|
Filet is just the conical end of the tenderloin filet, a cut that sits under the cow’s spine. This gives its super tender texture and mild flavor.
Sirloin is more of a generic term for several cuts coming from the upper hindquarter of the steer. This is a worked area which gives sirloin a chewier texture but also a more intense beefy flavor.
The fact that filet comes from tenderloin gives a good hint regarding its texture. The melt-in-your-mouth consistency is what makes filet mignon considered to be the most tender cut of beef.
Sirloin is a muscle that gets plenty of exercise, and that’s why it’s lean but also tougher than filet.
When cooked properly, it can still be plenty tender, and the flavor is superior!
If you’re worried about the lack of tenderness, choose top sirloin. This particular part of sirloin offers a more delicate texture.
Technically, both sirloin and filet are lean cuts, so expect minor differences in this department.
In general, sirloin has a bit less fat than filet mignon. However, keep in mind sirloin is a larger area of the loin cut and some parts will have more fat than others.
Not all people love the intense beefy flavor sirloin offers, in which case filet is a better choice.
Because of the more intense marbling and thin fat cap, sirloin has a more pronounced steak flavor.
|Per serving (3 oz, 85 g)||Filet Mignon||Top Sirloin|
|Total Fat||15 g||12 g|
|Saturated Fat||5.7 g||4.8 g|
|Cholesterol||82 mg||78 mg|
|Protein||22 g||23 g|
From a nutritional standpoint, sirloin and filet mignon are quite similar.
Filet is slightly fattier so it has a higher number of calories and cholesterol. Sirloin being leaner, contains more protein.
To be honest, these differences are marginal. Both cuts are excellent sources for essential nutrients.
Sirloin and filet have the same iron content, about 1.4 mg per serving, which is 8% of the recommended daily intake.
Make it a rule to choose the highest quality of beef you can afford. As you might already know, there are different grades of beef and quality matters for both taste and nutrition.
Top sirloin steak can cost $8-$11 per pound, with prices varying between stores. It’s one of the most affordable steaks, so if you’re looking for a frugal meal, it’s hard to beat.
Filet mignon is renowned for its tenderness, so you can expect to pay $20 per pound or more, depending on the source, grading, aging, and other factors.
♨️ How To Grill Sirloin
Grilled sirloin is best when cooked medium rare or medium. That’s why you need to grill it fast over high heat. You’ll get a nice sear and pinkish inside!
For a low carb, but incredibly delicious meal, try our grilled sirloin steak with Chimichurri sauce in lettuce wraps.
- Preheat the grill to 400ºF using direct heat.
- While the grill is heating, tenderize your sirloin steaks. You can use a meat tenderizing mallet or pierce it with a fork for 10-15 times. Making these small holes will break any membranes and tough muscle fibers fr a softer texture.
- Grill the steaks 4-5 minutes per side. The internal temperature matters most in this case.
- Remove from the grill when your steaks reach 130-135ºF for medium rare or 135-145ºF for a medium.
- Allow the steaks to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
When cooked to well done, sirloin will have a tougher, chewier consistency so it’s best to not overcook it.
If you don’t have a grill, you can still enjoy sirloin. This cut can also be pan seared or roasted with great results.
🍳 How To Grill Filet
As one of the most delicate cuts of beef, filet is best when cooked medium rare.
For such a lean cut, cooking it too long will easily dry it out and even make it chewy.
Filet mignon should be grilled hot and fast like tenderloin, which is common sense since the first cut comes from the second.
Here are all the steps you need to follow:
- Bring your steaks out of the fridge 30 minutes before grilling so they can get closer to room temperature.
- Preheat the grill at 400ºF.
- Season the steaks while the grill preheats.
- Grill the filet pieces for four minutes per side or until they reach an internal temperature of 130-135ºF.
- Remove from heat and let the steaks rest for 10 minutes.
Always aim for medium rare when cooking filet. It’s also suitable for sous vide cooking, air frying, and pan searing.
🔪 How To Store & Reheat
Leftover steak is wonderful to have. You can use it for quick sandwiches and wraps, casseroles, pasta, salads and other quick meals.
Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days or in the freezer for up to three months.
If you decide to freeze it, it’s a good idea to wrap it in saran before placing it in the container to prevent freezer burn.
Depending on how you plan to use it, cutting it in smaller pieces may be a good idea.
Always allow the meat to come to room temperature before cutting it. As it cools, all the juices are reabsorbed in the steak, which will keep the meat moist.
For whole frozen steak, thawing in the fridge overnight is the safest method.
To reheat filet and sirloin cook them fast in a hot skillet with a bit of olive oil or butter.
If the steak was cut into cubes, you can reheat it straight from frozen.
🍽️ How To Serve
Both sirloin and filet are steaks, despite the differences. And we all know what goes well with steak. Potatoes!
Since you’ve already fired up the grill, might as well pair your steak with these yummy Grilled Sweet Potatoes in Foil, Grilled Parmesan Sweet Potatoes, or Grilled Steakhouse Potatoes.
Make it a feast by adding a scrumptious Beer and Smoked Cheese Dip!
For a lighter side, try this simple Grilled Peach & Arugula Salad or a refreshing Avocado Corn Salsa.
Filet is considered the most tender cut of beef. Sirloin is a well-worked muscle, so expect it to have a chewier consistency.
Sirloin is a large cut, and top sirloin has the best marbling that ensure it turns out both tender anf flavorful when cooked to medium or medium-rare.
Filet mignon is just a small part of the tenderloin. Its tenderness and scarcity make it more expensive than sirloin.
Sirloin is a lean cut, and if not cooked properly, it can have a chewy, rubbery texture.
When looking at sirloin vs filet you can see these two cuts are not the same. If you enjoy an incredibly tender steak with a mild flavor, filet mignon is the best choice.
For a more flavorful steak with a bite, opt for sirloin.
Both cuts are excellent when grilled, roasted, or pan seared. For the sake of variety, there’s no need to eat just one or the other. Who says you can’t enjoy both?
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