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Best sirloin steak 2019

By Martin Pratt

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We tasted premium sirloins from the UK's top supermarkets so you know where to shop for the best flavour, texture and aroma.

Rump, chuck, ribeye, flank; there are no shortage of cuts of beef to fry up at home, but when browsing your local supermarket, it's the sirloin that often gets top billing and a price to match.

To find which supermarket steaks were best we sampled 11 premium range sirloins from supermarkets including Asda, Sainbury's, Tesco and Waitrose for the June 2019 issue of Which? magazine. 

Discover:

The best sirloin steak 

Only logged in Which? members can view the results and tasting notes in the table below. If you're not a member, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the steaks we tested. To get instant access join Which?.
 
Aldi Specially Selected 36 Day Aged Sirloin steak
Aldi SpeciallySelectedSteak table Price per Kg Tasting notes Overall score
£19.78 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Aldi’s steaks are aged for 36 days, that's more time than any other steak we tasted. 21 of those days are spent aging on the bone and Aldi says that makes the steak ‘rich, meaty and tender’. 

Do those extra days of ageing make all the difference? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Asda Extra Special Aberdeen Angus Sirloin Steak 30 Day Matured
AsdaExtraSpecialSteak table Price per Kg Tasting notes Overall score
£17.62 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

At just £17.62 per Kg, Asda Specially Selected sirloins are the cheapest we tested. They still get 21 days of ageing on the bone and another nine maturing for succulence and fuller flavour.

Can a steak close to half the price of some we tested hope to compete when it comes to taste? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Co-op Irresistible 28-Day Matured Hereford Beef Sirloin Steak
CoopSteak-table Price per Kg Tasting notes Overall score
£25 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

It’s always a brave move to call a steak irresistible, but the Co-op feels confident that its premium 28 day aged sirloin is worthy of the adjective. 

Is this prime cut of Hereford beef impossible to resist, or were our experts glad to see the back of it? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

M&S Salt Dry Aged Sirloin Steak
M&SSteak-table Price per Kg Tasting notes Overall score
£34 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Being comfortably one of the priciest supermarket sirloins on offer means expectations are high for M&S’s prime cut. It’s also one of the few steaks that has been salt aged. 

Does this unusual ageing process have any impact on flavour? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Morrisons The Best British Beef Shorthorn Sirloin Steak
Price per Kg Tasting notes Overall score
£22 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Aberdeen Angus and Hereford breeds are a common choice for supermarket sirloins, but Shorthorn isn’t. It’s a breed famed for its rich flavour and tender marbled meat. 

Did our experts agree that Morrisons’ sirloins made the most of this potential? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Ocado Gold 2 Angus Beef Sirloin Steaks
OcadoGoldSteak table Price per Kg Tasting notes Overall score
£22 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Ocado says that the 28 days of maturing its sirloins go through ensures the steaks are ‘tender, lean and full of flavour’. Our experts thought a good crown of fat and marbling was essential to a good sirloin. 

Did they reckon Ocado’s finest were too lean? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Sainsbury's Taste The Difference 30 Day Matured Sirloin Steak
SainsburySteak table Price per Kg Tasting notes Overall score
£23.33 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

30 days seems to be the magic number when it comes to ageing and Sainsbury’s sirloins spend 21 days on the bone and another nine maturing to seal in freshness and flavour.

Does Sainsbury’s classic approach to ageing do enough to separate it from the rest? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Tesco Finest Dry Aged Sirloin Steak
Tesco Finest Aberdeen Angus Dry Aged Sirloin-table Price per Kg Tasting notes Overall score
£34 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Tesco’s sirloins spend a total of 32 days maturing before skilled butchers hand trim the cuts so that only the most succulent parts remain.

Our experts felt that butchery was haphazard at times, has Tesco been careless with its steaks? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Waitrose 1 30 Dry Aged Hereford Beef Sirloin Steak
WaitroseSteak table Price per Kg Tasting notes Overall score
£32.99 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Meltingly tender and exceptional flavour are just some of the descriptions Waitrose gives its luxury sirloins. They are also some of the priciest. 

Did you experts find the Waitrose sirloins to be meltingly tender and tasty? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Prices correct as of May 2019



 

What to look for when choosing sirloin steak

  • Thickness - a good sirloin should be thick and even throughout.

The last thing you want is one that's thin on one side and thick on the other, otherwise you'll end up with a steak that's rare on one end and overdone on the other.

If the steak you buy is too thin then the edges will curl during cooking, which doesn't look good on the plate and again makes them tough to cook evenly.

  • Fat - a good sirloin needs a healthy wedge of fat across the top.

This key strip of flavour was sadly lacking on some of the steaks we sampled.

Look for marbling, too. These thin ribbons of fat should run through the meat adding delicious flavour throughout.

  • Colour - you shouldn't go for a pale cut, instead find the steaks that are a delicious deep red.

The colour is all to do with the amount of myoglobin in the meat. Without steering (no pun intended) too far into a biology lesson, more myoglobin means the meat came from an older, more active cow.

How to cook the perfect steak 

You've chosen a prime cut of beef and now it's time to do it justice in the kitchen.

Follow these five steps and you will get mouthwatering steak every time.

1. Don't cook cold meat – take your steaks out of the fridge roughly 20 minutes before you want to start cooking. This will give them time to get up to room temperature.
2. Get your pan piping hot – don't let your pricey sirloin anywhere near your pan until as hot as your hob can handle.
3. Season well – liberally oil both sides of your steak and get some salt on there too.
4. Add to the pan – if the metal's hot enough you'll hear that satisfying sizzle, if instead you're greeted with silence then remove the steak and let your pan get hotter.
5. Cook to order – the oval muscle below your thumb has the same density as steak. Relax it and touch the tip of your thumb the tip of your little finger and prod the muscle. A well done steak will feel the same. Your ring finger matches a medium steak, middle finger for medium rare and your forefinger if you want it rare.
6. Take it off slightly early – the heat inside meat continues to cook it even while resting, so take the steak off the hob a little early to stop becoming overdone.
7. Let it rest – take your steak off the heat and let it rest for six minutes. You don't need to cover it, but you can if you're worried about it getting cold. The next 360 seconds are vital as it gives the muscle time to relax and keep it all those tasty juices.

How much attention should you pay to ageing? 

Dry-aged, matured, salt-aged are just some of the descriptions you'll see on the packet.

If a steak you're eyeing up has been matured for 30 days then that could mean it's been sat in its sealed vacuum pack for that long, or it could've been hung for a week before being sealed for the remaining 23 days.

That's not say that ageing in the packaging is bad. This process locks in moisture and helps oxygenate the meat, which gives it that rich red colour.

If meat says it's been dry-aged for a certain length of time then that's how long it has been hung on the bone for. Interestingly, this doesn't necessarily affect flavour, but it does improve texture.

Ultimately, you shouldn't be beholden to how the meat has been aged. Don't assume that a steak that's gone through a fancy ageing process will taste any better than ones that haven't.

How we test steak 

We used five experts, ranging from butchers to chefs, well versed in all things beef to sample our choice sirloins by viewing one raw steak and rating its appearance and aroma before each getting a separate cooked one prepared with oil, salt and fried in a pan until medium rare.

We chose to pan fry them since that’s how most people prepare them throughout the year, but our top choice steaks will cook just as well on a barbecue. They rated the cooked steaks for taste, juiciness, tenderness, aroma, appearance and texture.

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