Picture this: you’re next in line at the butcher store, but you’re completely overwhelmed by the choice of meat there is on offer.
If you’re not an expert in cuts of meat, specifically beef, then all the names can blur into one.
Surely there’s a way to differentiate certain cuts of meat that look and taste similar, right?
For example, New York strip and sirloin are often hard to tell apart.
In some cases, the names are used interchangeably, even though they are two separate cuts of meat.
So, what’s the difference between New York strip and sirloin?
Here’s everything you need to know to tell the difference between New York strip and sirloin!
What Is New York Strip?
New York strip (also known as ambassador steak, Kansas City strip, club steak, and the Omaha strip) is a popular steak cut from the short loin subprimal, also known as sirloin.
The short loin subprimal is part of the loin primal, which is the home to some of the most popular cuts of meat, including the filet mignon when the tenderloin is removed.
In most cases, the New York strip is a boneless cut of meat, although it sometimes comes with the bone attached.
The subprimal yields around 11 to 14 steaks, making it a popular cut in a butcher store.
When the tenderloin remains, the short loin can transform into porterhouse and T-bone steaks.
New York strip steaks come with a notoriously beefy flavor.
It’s not a tender texture, but that’s why it’s so popular among foodies who want a really meaty steak, filled with beefy notes and a good bite.
The longer the steak is aged, the more tender it becomes.
For those who prefer a juicy steak, butchers will leave the bone running through the middle.
When the bone is left inside the steak, the New York strip is then renamed the Kansas City strip.
What Is Sirloin?
Sirloin steak is one of the most common types of steak sold everywhere in the world, from restaurants to grocery stores.
This steak is a cut from the subprimal loin, which is situated from the 13th rib down to the hip bone.
This is where the cow gets the most exercise, providing the leanest cuts of meat.
That’s right – sirloin is a huge cut of meat that includes the New York strip. The whole sirloin area can be cut into two sections.
While the top section is more tender, and therefore more expensive, the bottom section is larger and tougher, which is where the most affordable meat comes from.
So, technically speaking, sirloin doesn’t actually refer to a type of steak.
If you order a sirloin steak from a restaurant, it’s going to be from either the top or bottom section depending on what the restaurant has to offer.
What’s The Difference?
So, the key difference between New York strip and sirloin is that sirloin refers to a large cut of meat that contains several types of steak.
One of the types of steak that is a sirloin cut is the New York strip. Confused?
Try to think of it like this – sirloin is a general term for a large area of beef, while New York strip is a steak cut within the sirloin.
Let’s take a look at the differences between New York strip and sirloin in more detail.
New York strip and sirloin actually differ quite a lot in their flavor.
While sirloin can have various tastes depending on what cut of sirloin you’re eating (top or bottom), New York strip has a notoriously beefy taste.
The reason why New York strip is beefier is because of marbling, which refers to the white flecks of fat in beef.
There is more marbling in New York strip steaks compared to sirloin steaks, making the former richer in taste.
Sirloin has less marbling, which is why it lacks flavor. As New York strip steaks are so flavorsome, they are ideal for grilling.
While you can grill a sirloin, the lean meat would need marinating first to give it some flavor.
Unfortunately, sirloin is a fairly flavorless steak without proper marinating and seasoning.
The texture of both sirloin and New York strips differs because of the placement of the meat on the body.
Sirloin is cut from an area that is highly exercised, meaning the meat is most lean here thanks to the build-up of muscle.
New York strip, on the other hand, comes from a part of the sirloin that doesn’t receive much exercise.
The lack of muscle mass means these steaks are far more tender than regular sirloin.
Its juicy texture is exemplified with the fat cap (a thick line of fat running at the top of the steak), which sirloin steaks lack.
Top sirloin cuts are definitely the most expensive of the sirloin steaks, so you can expect to pay up to (or over) $10 per steak depending on where you buy it from.
New York strip, as it’s far more tender and flavorsome than sirloin, is almost always more expensive than sirloin, ranging at around $15 per pound.
Cooking And Versatility
If you’re just looking for a classic steak to have with fries and sauce, then sirloin will do the trick.
However, if you’re a passionate foodie who enjoys the finer things in life, then the New York strip takes the cake.
The New York strip is delicious enough on its own, so you don’t need to spend time marinating it before cooking.
It goes beautifully with vegetables, scrambled eggs for a fancy brunch, and even in rolled meat dishes.
Sirloin is still versatile, but for the more informal meals like a steak sandwich, cut into stir-fries, topped on a salad, or even ground and made into hamburgers.
Just remember that sirloin is leaner than regular ground beef, so it’s going to be tougher.
Fortunately, both sirloin steaks and New York strip steaks are easy to cook.
New York strips can be fried, but to make the most of the juicy flavors, they’re best served grilled.
Sirloin can also be grilled, but they don’t really taste any different to being fried.
Cook them for several minutes either side depending on how you take your steak.
So, there you have it. To summarize, sirloin refers to a large cut of beef, which includes the New York strip.
New York strip steaks are far more flavorsome and tender than sirloin steaks, but sirloin is generally more affordable.
Both are popular cuts in their own right, so it all depends on whether you want a steak that’s more juicy and flavorsome, or one that’s cheaper.