You don't have to spend a lot of money to cook a delicious steak dinner. Petite sirloin steaks are less expensive than many other cuts, but still give you a tender, beefy bite. Keep an eye on the time when you’re pan-frying the steak, though; overcooked sirloin ends up being tough and chewy. The process is simple -- all you need is a screaming hot pan and a little seasoning. Beyond that, successful pan-fried steaks only need to be timed carefully and cut against the grain to prevent chewiness.
Season the steak with kosher salt at least 40 minutes before cooking. This is the minimum amount of time that the salt needs to do its job of breaking down some of the meat's muscle tissue and allowing the juices and salt to be absorbed into the meat.
Remove the steak from the refrigerator roughly 30 minutes before cooking and let it sit at room temperature; this ensures even cooking. Pat it with paper towels to make sure it's dry. If there's too much moisture on the steak's surface, it won't sear properly.
Rub a little olive oil, or your favorite cooking oil, on both sides of the petite sirloin before seasoning it with a sprinkle of salt and black pepper.
Turn the stove on to medium-high heat. Place a cast-iron skillet or a heavy-bottomed stainless steel pan onto the stove's burner. Avoid using a nonstick pan, since it won't get hot enough and shouldn't be used at the high temperature you need to sear the steak.Once you can feel the heat when you hold your hand above the pan, add cooking oil to the pan.
Add the sirloin steak to the pan and let it cook for two to three minutes before flipping the steak with tongs. Allow the steak to cook for another two to three minutes before removing it from the pan and transferring it to a cutting board.
Cover the sirloin with foil and let it rest for about 10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute before you serve it.
- Check the steak for doneness with an instant-read thermometer. According to the USDA, for safety's sake, it should be at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit -- for medium-rare steak -- when it's inserted in the thickest part of the meat. If you prefer a medium steak, wait until the thermometer reads 160 degrees F to remove it.
- Confessions of a Butcher: Eat Steak on a Hamburger Budget and Save; John E. Smith
- Smitten Foodie: Pan Cooking the Perfect Steak
- The Hungry Mouse: Steakhouse-Style Pan-Roasted Sirloin Steaks
- Serious Eats: The Food Lab's Complete Guide to Pan-Seared Steaks
- Fine Cooking: Four Ways to Cook in a Cast-Iron Skillet
- Cannuli's Quality Meats and Poultry: How Do Determine Doneness
- John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images