Most people know that filet mignon is the heavyweight of steaks, and is often considered the tastiest and most requested. But is it always the best choice, or do other cuts of steak fare better in certain situations?
One of the best alternatives to filet is sirloin, for those not in the know, each cut of steak requires a different type of care and attention, and not all mistakes are created (or cooked) equally.
Today will pick these two steak contenders against one another and see which one has the advantage. You never know: you might end up changing your opinion on your favorite part of steak after reading this!
All About Filet
The filet is a cut from a part of the short loin, commonly known as the tenderloin. It’s situated just beneath the spine and is the most tender steak available, which is why it is such a popular choice amongst foodies and casual steak lovers.
However, there are some downsides to this cut of meat that go beyond its tenderness.
One drawback is that it doesn’t actually have that much beef flavor, and oftentimes people prefer other steaks for their flavor.
Another downside is that some people find it a bit too soft, and those that like to enjoy a tough steak experience will find that they struggle to get a bite out of a filet. As some people prefer a more primal experience with their steak, they are to avoid the filet.
Certain cooking methods can make this steak a little tougher; for example, cooking it over a charcoal fire, but it will still be slightly too tender for some people.
But what about applying a marinade or using a mixture of herbs and spices to add flavor?
Whilst in theory this seems like a good notion; it’s not a good idea as a good filet needs to be seasoned with a high-quality salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Less is more with this cut of meat and you don’t want to ruin the flavor by adding too many ingredients.
You can add a high-quality grass-fed butter or drizzle a high-quality source like bearnaise; ultimately this cut of steak needs to be left to its flavor.
One final tip for cooking the perfect filet is that it is best prepared at either rare or medium-rare levels, and definitely avoid overcooking.
Avoid letting the temperature go past 145 degrees Fahrenheit, or 62 degrees Celsius, as this is a guaranteed way to cook a steak so that it tastes like dried-up leftover turkey meat.
All About Sirloin
Contrary to popular belief; sirloin is an umbrella term that can describe a wide variety of cuts from the rear portion by the loin primal.
For those that prefer a leaner cut of meat, whether you’re watching your waistline or prefer less fatty cuts, this is the best choice for you as this cut of the cow does not get as much love and attention as other parts.
The obvious drawback with this cut of steak is that it is going to be a lot tougher and like the tenderness of the filet. But this lack of tenderness is more than made up for in its flavor.
However, if you are looking for a tender cut of sirloin; we recommend you go with the top sirloin as this is a naturally leaner, and thicker cut That has that bold taste of beef.
And if that wasn’t enough; it’s much higher in protein which from a practical perspective, can help you stay fuller for longer and help those that are trying to consume a higher protein intake.
We recommend that you cook a sirloin steak to around 145 degrees Fahrenheit, or 62 degrees celsius, and just like a filet, you should avoid overcooking it as it will become too tough to enjoy.
So Which Cut Is Best?
As you can see, there are some clear differences between the two cuts of steak, and the short answer is that whilst both are great choices for grilling, a filet will be the best choice for those that love a steak that melts in the mouth, and sirloin will be ideal for those that desire flavor over anything else.
If you’re someone that doesn’t like to take a lot of time to prepare the steak, then you should choose a filet as you will not be marinating this and will only be using salt and pepper.
But for those that like to go the extra mile, you should choose a sirloin because there are many ways to marinate it to intensify the flavor.
Which Is Better For Grilling?
In shorts; the better option for grilling is the top Sirloin or any tenderloin steak, which also includes a filet. They do not need to be marinated and have minimal seasoning, I mean that there’s less fussing and we’ll grill as soon as your fire is prepped.
And because they are both enjoyed at either rare or medium-rare if your stomach is grumbling and you’re impatient to get tasting, then it’s not going to take long to cook and you’ll be enjoying these sensational cuts in no time at all.
Ultimately it comes down to if you prefer tender steaks or if you prefer them to have a bite to them, and sometimes there are no differences and it will depend on the move that you’re in.
Are There Any Other Cuts Worth Recommending?
Whilst we’ve taken the time to review two of the most popular choices of steak, there are still a number of alternatives that offer a great taste and steak eating experience.
Here are our favorite alternatives to the filet or sirloin.
For those that won the ultimate in flavor, a really good alternative is the ribeye as it contains lots of fat known as marbling.
You should be able to spot it due to its strip of fat that runs through the center of the cut, which isn’t just for decoration as it allows for both flavor and moisture to remain.
You can marinate a ribeye steak, although you wouldn’t be remiss if you were just two to keep it minimalistic and only go with a high-quality seasoned salt.
If you do wish to marinate it, avoid waiting longer than 5 hours, and you want to avoid serving it with side dishes like salads or sandwiches as it can make them go soggy due to the fat content.
Whilst this New York strip technically falls under the category of sirloin, it has many different qualities that separate it from a top sirloin and is worth considering as a strong alternative to it.
Something that a lot of people don’t know is that a T-Bone for Porterhouse steak with the bone phone and piece of tenderloin attached are still technically New York strip steaks.
The only difference is that there is a bigger portion of tenderloin with The Porterhouse, whereas a T-bone will typically have less.
It has a fat cap running along one side, and just like the ribeye, has visible marbling in the steak. Because of this, it has a juicy flavor and phenomenal texture once cooked through.
This is a long thin muscle cut from the belly and its plate section and is reserved for those that love a tough but connective tissue. If cooked well; you will experience a juicy and tender steak that often goes overlooked in comparison to some of the other popular steaks.
You can marinate this one with spices like red pepper or onions, at least 30 minutes before cooking, and make sure that you cut the skirt against the grain which will avoid any chewy bits.
So who wins the cook-off between Sirloin or filet? The honest answer is that there is no winner, that both cuts of steak can be enjoyed for their differences in Tenderness and flavor, and that they can be enjoyed in different situations.
However one rule of thumb is that if you prefer your steaks to be minimally seasoned, then we recommend you go with the filet, however, if you prefer to add a little TLC to your meals and enjoy getting experimental with herbs and spices, the then the short answer is you will likely prefer to try your hands at a sirloin.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Are Similar Cuts Of Meat Called Tenderloin Steak Or Filet Mignon?
Filet mignon only refers to cuts of meat that are taken from the smaller end of the piece, even though any steak cut from the tenderloin has this particular classification.
What Are Some Of The Herbs And Spices You recommend?
As a general rule of thumb, we recommend keeping things as simple as possible and going with a minimalist approach, and you can’t go wrong with classic cracked black pepper and kosher salt.
However, chopped herbs such as time, sage, and rosemary work well. You can also add onion powder, paprika, chili powder, or cumin for a slightly spicier cut.