Determining which cut of meat is better -- the rib eye or the sirloin -- isn’t so cut and dried. The flavor that results from the marbling of fat in the rib eye is appealing to some, whereas the leaner cuts provided by sirloin are preferred by others. Rib eyes and sirloins are each available in a variety of cuts, as well as a range of tenderness levels. Which cut is better ultimately depends on factors like personal preference and how the meat will be prepared.
The sirloin is located between the tender short loin and the tougher round. Cuts near the short loin, like the prized top sirloin, are more tender than those closer to the round, like the bottom sirloin. Similarly, bone-in steaks like the pinbone are more tender as they are closer to the short loin than the tougher wedge bone cut near the round. Unlike the rib eye whose fat content contributes flavor and tenderness, fat should be avoided on the sirloin as it tends to be gristly.
Rich Rib Eye
Both rib eye steaks and roasts come from the rib section between the short loin and the chuck. The most prized cut of roast is the rib eye roast which is boneless and cut from the most tender portion of the rib section. Rib eye steaks are available either bone-in or out, the latter of which is extremely tender in comparison. The marbling of fat that runs through rib eye contributes to its flavor and tenderness, but also makes it higher in calories.
Cooking Sirloin And Rib Eye
While personal preference factors heavily as far as which cut a person deems superior, how it is going to be prepared is also a significant consideration. Quality cuts like the tender top sirloin and savory boneless rib eye are best prepared by grilling, broiling or pan-frying. While all rib eye cuts are fairly tender, sirloin cuts can be tough, especially if they are cut from near the round. If you intend to slow roast, tougher cuts like that of wedge bone or round bone sirloin steaks are better options as slow roasting tenderizes the meat.
The tenderest cuts are the most expensive, so you can expect to pay a premium on quality cuts like top sirloin and boneless rib eye. Marbling also ups the price, making well-marbled steaks like rib eyes more expensive. Tougher cuts like those of the bottom sirloin and wedge bone steaks are the least expensive.
- The Deluxe Food Lover’s Companion: Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst
- Short List: The Ultimate Steak Manual
Christina Kalinowski is a writer from the Twin Cities who began her career in 2011. She contributes food and drink related articles to The Daily Meal. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from Purdue University.