How to Sous Vide Sirloin Steak Recipe and Guide
This article talks about sirloin steaks. They are one of my favorite everyday steaks, because they're not that expensive and they're filled with great beefy flavor and light marbling.
Especially when you use sous vide, you can tenderize them a little bit, and it turns them into an even better cut of meat. However, it is still very good when just heated through for 2 to 4 hours.
I'm excited to dive into everything you need to know about how to sous vide sirloin.
What is Sirloin? A Roast and a Steak? Top Sirloin and Bottom Sirloin?
There is really no difference between a sirloin steak and a sirloin roast. If you take a sirloin roast and cut it into slabs, you now have sirloin steaks. So, both a sirloin steak and a sirloin roast can be handled pretty similarly.
To tenderize a roast, you can add a few extra hours since it will take awhile to heat through to the center of the roast. For a steak I'll go about 8 to 10 hours when tenderizing, but a roast could easily go 12 to 14.
What is Top Sirloin Compared to Bottom Sirloin?
One of the important things to remember about the name sirloin is that it's actually a sub-primal of the cow, so there's a variety of cuts that come from "the sirloin".
You can buy sirloin that's just labeled like that at the grocery store, and that's normally going to be a "bottom sirloin". There's also a "top sirloin", which is a little more tender, and a little bit beefier. The top sirloin is what you're going to get if you order a sirloin in a nice restaurant.
Let's look a little closer at the top sirloin and the bottom sirloin.
The top sirloin is the most prized of the sirloin family of beef cuts. The sirloin is located between the short loin and the rump. It is cut from the region just below the tenderloin of the loin primal cut. It is less tender than the short loin but more tender than bottom sirloin.
Top sirloin can be cut as a boneless roast or into boneless steaks. Certain cuts of top sirloin may include a small bone called the pin bone. Both are economical and yield a flavorful taste. They are considered to be one of the tastiest tender steaks.
The top sirloin is moderately tender. A top sirloin roast is versatile in that it can be cooked in almost any way. Top sirloin steaks are also versatile when it comes to cooking methods. They may me cooked as is, or marinated to produce a more tender steak or roast.
Top sirloin is a steak that is commonly found in a wide variety of restaurants and steakhouses. Since it is versatile when it comes to cooking methods, it is easy for casual family restaurants to prepare. Its combination of price and taste help make this steak a popular menu item.
Top sirloin is the cut of steak used in the popular Brazilian dish picanha. The top sirloin is skewered onto large metal skewers or swords and cooked over an open flame. This has become popular and many churrascarias (Brazilian steak houses) have now opened in the United States.
Often just sold as "sirloin", this part of the sirloin is tougher, larger and leaner, so is often cheaper. It can definitely benefit from longer sous vide cook times. The tri tip also comes from the bottom sirloin.
The bottom sirloin is found in the upper hip of the cow. The cut is considered perfect for roasting but some people even slice it for steaks. By marinating the slices, you can even produce flavorful and delicious steaks from the bottom sirloin cuts.
This cut can be broken down to tri-tip cut, flap steak, ball-tip roast and many more. Tri tip, in particular can produce dishes like roast, kebab and bistro steak. Although this cut is more chewy compared to top sirloin, you can enjoy it if you thinly slice it.
The flap section found in bottom sirloin as well as the flank section is often used for making hamburger or stew. The trick of making the best use of sirloin is by cooking it right. This cut is cheaper than top sirloin and more economical than cuts like short loins.
In fact if you slice it well and cook it slowly then you can even use it for barbecue and fajitas. However, overcooking it would produce tough beef to chew.
Sirloin Around the World
Of course, around the world, the name "sirloin" is even used to refer to different cuts of meat. It can be the short-loin and some can also be the rump, depending on what country you're in. So it's good to actually have a feel for what sirloin is called in your country.
In this article, we're going to mainly talk about the "top sirloin" and the "bottom sirloin" because they can be handled pretty similarly. The only difference is you just want to sous vide a bottom sirloin a little bit longer to tenderize it slightly more.
Why Sous Vide Sirloin Steak?
People always ask me, "Why should you sous vide sirloin?"
Sous Vide Tenderizes Sirloin Steak
To me, it's one of the biggest benefits to sous vide sirloin steak. you can tenderize it very, very easily.
Sirloin is not filet mignon, and it is not a rib eye steak. It's not even a strip steak when it comes to tenderness.
If you have a really nice prime sirloin, you're probably going to be fine. Wagyu sirloin is going to be nice and tender.
But if you start getting bottom sirloin, especially a "select" or "choice", which is the grade of sirloin most grocery stores sell, they can be tough.
You'll be excited to have purchased a nice looking steak to cook. And with traditional cooking, it is going to taste tough and be a little chewier than you probably prefer in a nice steak.
But with sous vide, you can cook it a little bit longer in order to break down the connective tissues.
It is going to be melt in your mouth tender. Sous vide transforms that cut from a slightly tough steak to a tender, juicy, perfect steak; that's why I love to sous vide sirloin steak.
Sous Vide Sirloin Steak Means Perfect Doneness Every Time
The other big benefit to sous vide is perfect doneness from edge to edge. There's no bullseye effect. Sirloin steak can often be a thicker cut, so sous vide makes it a lot easier to get that perfect doneness.
Not to mention a sirloin roast which when cooked traditionally, it's normally in the oven. And oven cooking isn't the most efficient method. Plus, you're going to have a wide band of overdone meat around a nice, perfectly cooked middle.
With Sous vide, you can do edge to edge. It's going to be perfectly cooked through no matter how thick the sirloin roast is.
This is a huge benefit for folks like me who love medium-rare steak. I don't like well to well-done steak, which is generally what happens whenever I cook a thick roast in the oven.
Sous Vide Pasteurizes Sirloin Steak
A lot of people don't think about this final benefit. When they are sous viding their sirloin steak for a little bit longer time, they are actually going to pasteurize it once it gets past 3 or 4 hours.
As long as you're above 130°F (54.4°C), you're going to be pasteurizing your food, which makes it safer to eat.
Because sirloin is a slightly tougher cut, many meat purveyors try to tenderize it before it is sold. I know Costco does this, at the time of this article at least.
One of the common ways they do it is to use blades to cut up the connective tissue. But what it also does is take any bacteria on the outside of the meat and puts it on the inside of the meat. So just giving your steak a nice sear before serving it doesn't make it safe to eat.
If you pasteurize it with sous vide, which only takes a little bit longer during cooking, you will make it 100% safe. You have now returned the steak's bacterial count back to the same safe levels just like it would be if it wasn't blade tenderized.
With sirloin, sous viding it a little bit longer tenderizes it a little bit more, makes it juicier and more melt in your mouth. It's a benefit all around.
It also means if you're pregnant or immunocompromised, you can eat medium-rare meat because you can pasteurize it safely, which is great.
Best Time and Temperature for Sous Vide Sirloin Steak
So what is the best time and temperature for sous vide sirloin steaks and roasts? Well, there is no correct time or temperature.
A lot of it comes down to personal preference. However, here are some guidelines to keep in mind.
Which Sous Vide Sirloin Steak Temperature to Use
When it comes to temperature, this is a steak cut. You don't want to go braise-like temperatures. So you want to keep it below 150°F (65.6°C) even if you like well-done steak.
150°F (65.6°C) is the max that I would recommend. Me, I like medium-rare, so I go 131°F (55°C) to 135°F (57.2F°C).
If you like a rare steak, you can go down to 125°F (51.6°C). But remember, if you're cooking it down that low, you only want to sous vide it for a few hours and you're not going to cook it long enough to really tenderize it anymore.
So if you have a good sirloin, there is nothing wrong with that. But if you have a lower quality one, you're going to miss out on those tenderization benefits.
If you like medium, I use 140°F (60°C) as kind of my go-to. They seem to really enjoy the sous vide sirloin steak because it's still has a lot of juiciness to it.
How Long to Sous Vide Sirloin Steak For
When it comes to deciding how long to cook your sirloin steak for, it really helps to understand how sous vide times work in general. It basically comes down to what you want to accomplish. Are you trying to just heat it through or are you trying to tenderize it?
If you're trying to tenderize it, I recommend anywhere between 4 to 12 hours for most sirloins. The lower the quality, the longer the time would extend. And if you have a select bottom sirloin, you might even push that up to 18 hours to tenderize it.
I always suggest you get to know your local butcher and the type of meat they sell. If you buy the same thing time and time again, then you will start to understand what times work best for your preferences. Everyone's quality of meat is different.
Something I get from the grocery store here could be very different than what you get from the grocery store near you on the other side of the country, not to mention a different country.
If you're not worried about tenderizing it, then you just need to consider the thickness of the meat. That will determine how long you need to sous vide the sirloin steak it to heat it through.
You can find a bunch of sous vide heating charts. I have some on my website and also Douglas Baldwin has some good ones. They'll tell you exactly how long you need to cook it based on the thickness.
Remember, they're just minimum recommendations for sous vide sirloin steak, so you don't need to be exact or pull it out the moment when you hit the suggested time. But they're good rule of thumb and guidelines in general.
For a 1-inch sirloin steak you're looking at about 1 hour and 15 minutes. For a 1 1/2-inch steak it's about 2 hours and 20 minutes and for a 2-inch steak, you need 3 hours and 35 minutes. These are kind of "back of the envelope calculations" to get you into the range of what you're looking for.
If you need to, you can always speed up those times by using Delta-T cooking. Basically this technique involves setting the temperature about 2 degrees higher than the desired temperature; it knocks off about 20% to 30% of the cook time.
On most of my heating charts, you'll also find times for pasteurization, if that's what you want to accomplish. And I have a sous vide timing ruler that simplifies the process.
So now that we know the right time and temperature to sous vide sirloin for. The sous vide time is usually still based either off of the thickness of the meat or it is cooked longer to tenderize it.
What's My Favorite Time and Temperature for Sous Vide Sirloin Steak?
I like 131°F (55°C) for about 10 hours. It breaks down the meat enough, so it's really tender, and really juicy. I find 131°F is the perfect medium-rare for me.
But the temperature you end up selecting is up to your own personal preference. I'm sure you'll find something that works great for you.
So now you know what temperature to use to start narrowing in on your perfect sous vide sirloin steak.
Detailed How to Sous Vide Sirloin Steak Process
What is the actual process for sous viding it? I'll step you through the general process, and to help with this, I've included my favorite simple sous vide sirloin steak master recipe below.
It's easy to plate a perfectly cooked sirloin steak every time that can then be served with your favorite sauces or rubs to make a great meal.
You can use it as the basis for any meal that you would usually serve with sirloin steak. It will turn out perfectly and be one of the best sirloin steaks you've ever had.
Step 1: How to Prep Sous Vide Sirloin Steak
We begin by prepping the sirloin steak. You want to remove it from the store packaging. Some people like to leave it in. I always remove it because I want to season it.
I used to just sous vide it in the store packaging on occasion, but I ran into a few too many leaks and few too many issues. So now I always take it out and rebag the sirloin steak myself.
Sirloin steak doesn't have too much fat or connective tissue, though some of them can, depending on where the cut is from. So there's too much, you can remove any big fat deposits or connective tissue that's going through it.
If you're serving it whole, you can bag it. If not, then break it down into whatever portions you want to serve it with.
Remember, if you're just heating it through, then the smaller the portions are the quicker they are going to heat. An entire sirloin roast is going to take a lot longer than a 1-inch sirloin steak does.
That said, don't go overboard, you don't want just 1/2-inch thick sirloin steak. These are going to be hard to sear without overcook the sirloin steak during the searing process.
My go to is usually 1 1/2 to 2-inches thick. I think that's a nice, big, juicy steak that you can get a good sear on without overcooking and really enjoy it.
When I make my steaks, I either just use salt by itself, or if it's a lower quality one that I want to add some flavor to, I'll use salt and spice rub. Any of my favorite spice rubs will work great.
Some people hate putting spice rubs in their sous vide, and if that's the case with you, don't use it.
I like using it, so I enjoy experimenting with different rubs. I think it's a great way to flavor the outside of the steak.
I always save any black pepper until the end, because sometimes it can impart a weird flavor during sous vide cooks. I also don't recommend putting in butter or olive oil at the beginning of the cook.
You're probably going to say, "You should have butter with steak.". I know, I put the butter in during the searing process or after the sear.
If you put it in during the sous vide process, it pulls out a little bit of the flavor from the meat. And unless you're using all the juices that came out in the bag, you're going to lose that flavor.
So I recommend putting the butter in after the sous vide cook.
Step 2: How to Seal Sous Vide Sirloin Steak
Lets look at how is the best way to seal a sirloin steak for sous viding.
One way is to put the sirloin steak or roast into the plastic bag and you seal it. You can use any food safe, heat safe plastic bag. There's several types of sous vide bags out there.
There's Ziploc brand freezer bags or other food safe zip top bags. You can use a water displacement method to seal those and it works perfectly well.
You can use edge vacuum sealers like FoodSaver or chambered vacuum sealers like VacMaster, Vesta or PolyScience.
If you've portioned the sirloin steaks, make sure you seal them in a single layer, you don't want them stacked. Otherwise, you're increasing the thickness, which increases the cook time.
Put them in one layer, even if you have to use multiple bags. That's completely fine.
Finally, you simply seal the bag and get it ready to put into the water bath.
Step 3: How to Prepare the Sous Vide Water Bath
In order to prepare the water bath you just need to set the temperature to whatever your desired doneness is for your sous vide sirloin steaks.
As I mentioned before, I like medium-rare at 131°F (55°C). A lot of people like 135°F (57.2°C) or 140°C60°C) if you prefer the medium range. And 125°F (51.6°C) works great for your water bath if you want to be on the rare side.
What's the Best Water Bath Container?
You can really use pretty much any container. Some people use stock pots because they already have them on hand. Same goes for a cooler or ice chest.
I use a polycarbonate container, which basically means "fancy plastic". But it actually does hold the temperature really well.
These also have a variety of lids and accessories made for sous vide specific applications, which is great. Lipavi and Rubbermaid make two good brands, as well as Cambro.
Make sure you set your water between the minimax lines because you don't want it to shut off in the middle of the cook.
Your sous vide machine should be set to the temperature you want for the final temperature of the sirloin steak. The water temperature doesn't have to reach the desired temperature before you put the sous vide bag into the water bath.
You don't need to preheat the water in most cases unless you're doing something like fish which is very specific on the timing.
I use sous vide magnets to hold the sealed bag underwater. You don't want any of the food sticking above the water line, or it's not going to cook evenly and could even lead to pretty dangerous circumstances in some cases.
Step 4: How Long to Cook Sous Vide Sirloin Steak
You're going to let the sirloin steak cook for the desired time. Beside the few ways we talked about determining the length of time, you can find more specifics in my sous vide heating charts.
Once it's been cooked and fully tenderized to where you want it, you remove it from the hot water bath.
Step 5: Remove the Sirloin Steak From the Sous Vide Pouch
Once you take the sealed sous vided sirloin steak pouch out of the water, you have a couple of options.
1. Cook, Chill & Reheat Method
You can chill the still sealed steak in an ice bath and then store it in the fridge for a few weeks.
This is part of the classic Sous Vide Food Prep technique. Just reheat the sirloin later at a temperature slightly cooler than the one you used for the original sous vide. After reheating it for a few hours, finish it off on a grill or on in a cast iron pan.
2. Time to Eat!
If you are planning on eating after the sirloin steak finishes sous viding, then it's time to give those sous vide sirloin steaks a quick sear.
Remove the sous vide sirloin steak from the sealed plastic bag and dry it off really, really well. A lot of people skip this step and then wonder why they can't sear it. If there's water on the outside, you can't get a good crust to form until all the water is gone.
I like to use paper towels or dish cloths to dry off meat. Anything will work that is going to really take all the moisture off the outside of the sirloin steak.
Step 6: How to Sear Sous Vide Sirloin Steak
Then you want to sear it over high heat, it can be on a hot skillet, a cast iron pan, a hot grill, even on a smoker.
In some cases you want the sear to be very, very quick, and because it's on high heat, you want to use a high smoke point oil. Some high smoke point ones are like avocado oil, grapeseed oil, extra light olive oil, not extra virgin ghee.
Some vegetable oils work well, and some people like to do a mayo sear or they put mayo on the outside of their steak.
Whichever oil you use, you want to sear for 2 to 3 minutes total, turning it every 30 to 45 seconds from side-to-side until a golden brown crust forms.
The goal of a great sear is not to heat it up so the core temperature raises, it is already perfect. If we raise the internal temperature, it will overcook the sous vide sirloin steak.
So turning it every 30 to 45 seconds is key and as soon as you get a decent crust, pull it off.
If you want a heavier sear, you can always let the meat cool a little bit before you start the searing process.
I'll usually pull it out of the sous vide machine about 15 minutes before I'm ready to sear it and place it on the kitchen counter still in the sealed bag. This will let the outside of the steak cool off some.
Now when I throw the meat in the hot pan or on the hot grill, it gives me a little more wiggle room with my searing time.
Step 7: How to Serve Sous Vide Sirloin Steak
Now it's ready to serve your perfectly cooked sous vide sirloin steak. It has a nice, crusty sear on it and is ready to go. You can serve this in a lot of different ways.
I like sirloin steak served as a pretty thick cut so I can cut it myself into nice, big, juicy bites of steak.
You can also thinly cut it, and even put it on a hoagie or a sub roll. I have a good French dip sandwich recipe that I thoroughly enjoy. They make good roast beef. There's a lot of different ways you can take your sirloin steak.
Now you have all the information you need to make perfectly cooked sous vide sirloin steak every single time.
I highly recommend checking out my free Sous Vide Quickstart Course.
I also do a lot of work with the International Sous Vide Association (ISVA), including video demos, showcase cook-alongs and many other really fun things.
My Facebook group is Exploring Sous Vide. We have over 40,000 sous vide cooks and enthusiasts who are willing to share ideas and recipes with others.
I hope you enjoy cooking your sous vide sirloin steaks as much as I do!
Simple Sous Vide Sirloin Steak Master Recipe
This sous vide sirloin steak recipe simplifies the process so you can master perfectly cooking sirloin steak. Sirloin is one of my favorite "every day" steaks. It's mid-priced and decently tender with a milder but still beefy flavor and light marbling. The sirloin isn't as tender as many of the other steaks so I'll often sous vide it for 8 to 10 hours, just to tenderize it a little bit. However, it is still very good when just heated through.
- Published: 2022-03-17
- Prep Time: 28 Minutes
- Cooktime: Time by Thickness
- Total Time: 1 to 4 Hours
- Serves: 4
- Calories: 529 Calories
- Tags: sous vide sirloin, sous vide beef sirloin, beef sirloin, beef, sous vide, easy, simple
- For the Sirloin Steak
- 2 pounds sirloin steak
- 1 to 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoons spice rub or herbs (optional)
- To Assemble
- Sides (optional)
- Sauces (optional)
- Garnishes (optional)
Preheat the Sous Vide Machine: Set your sous vide machine to 131°F (55.0°C) for medium rare or 141°F (60.5°C) for medium.
Prepare the Sirloin Steak: Trim off any fat and cut into portions if desired. Salt the sirloin and add any seasoning rub or herbs you prefer.
Seal the Meat: Place the sirloin steak in a sous vide bag and seal it. You can use a silicon bag, Ziploc-brand freezer bag, or a heat safe vacuum bag or zip top bag.
Sous Vide the Sirloin Steak: Place the sous vide bag in the water bath and cook the sirloin steak until heated through, which is based on the thickness, about an hour for a 1" steak.
Thoroughly Dry the Beef: Once the sirloin is ready, remove it from the sous vide machine and take it out of the bag. Pat it dry with paper towels or a dish cloth so you can get a good sear on it.
To Sear the Food: Quickly sear the beef for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until just browned, then remove it from the heat.
Plating: Place the meat onto a plate with any salads or sides then serve.
About Sirloin Steak
Between the short loin section and the round section lies the sirloin or hip section of a cow. There are many different muscles in this section which produce many kinds of different dishes.
When the bones are removed from this cut, three types of cuts are produced according to the name of its muscles: top sirloin, tenderloin and bottom sirloin.
- The top sirloin is part of the tender top loin muscle of the short loin.
- The tenderloin is the tenderest among the three; it is part of the short loin.
- The bottom sirloin is the toughest one among the three and is the part of the sirloin tip muscle found in the round section.
Sirloin is an ideal cut of beef to cook sous vide. The steak becomes very tender while it remains moist during this cooking method.
Some of the sirloin muscles can be cut into flavorful roasts and those that are not suited for roasts and steaks can be used in stews and hamburgers. Compared to the short loin and rib section, sirloin is much cheaper. On the internet, many websites claim that sirloin got its name from King Henry VIII of England, who dubbed the sirloin steak as "Sir Loin". According to Snopes Fact Checking Site however, this rumor is completely false.
Sirloin is a lean dining option with which an individual can experiment with and expand his or her menu with items such as steaks, kabobs, sandwiches, roasts and many more. Many individuals prefer the sirloin for a steak. Do note that sirloin cuts used for steaks often have a bit of the bone attached to it. This adds more flavor in the steak.
This article is by me, Jason Logsdon. I'm an adventurous home cook and professional blogger who loves to try new things, especially when it comes to cooking. I've explored everything from sous vide and whipping siphons to pressure cookers and blow torches; created foams, gels and spheres; made barrel aged cocktails and brewed beer. I have also written 10 cookbooks on modernist cooking and sous vide and I run the AmazingFoodMadeEasy.com website.
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