Top Sirloin vs Filet Mignon – What’s The Difference?

A lot of guys may ask: is top sirloin the same as filet mignon? Well, the answer is clear. Top sirloin and filet mignon are two famous cuts that excite a fair amount of debate amongst enthusiasts. Filet mignon likes to be called the king of steaks, but top sirloin might not necessarily agree. While cooking enthusiasts could debate to no end on top sirloin vs filet mignon, we can all agree these are different cuts and need a different approach in cooking.

Let’s do a full comparison and see what separates these famous cuts.

Top Sirloin And Filet Mignon – The Basics And Differences

These are both delicious and well-known cuts that are quite similar and often make people wonder if top sirloin is the same as filet mignon. Well, it’s not! 

There are tangible differences here and we’re going to take a closer, better look at both of them to see what their key attributes are. 

The Origin – Where Does The Meat Come From?

Sirloin is a term used to represent meat from a cow’s loin primal. At a glance, the term would represent a part around the buttocks of the animal, but that’s not true. Sirloin is the part that comes before the round of the back. To put it crudely, sirloin is located just before the hind legs of the cow but doesn’t include the belly.

Top Sirloin vs Filet Mignon

Several cuts are part of the sirloin. Top sirloin is true to its name and comes from the top cut of the sirloin region. Since this area gets a lot of exercise, the meat is very lean and can also be tough, though it’s generally on the tender side, at least for its category. Its texture makes top sirloin very desirable.

Filet Mignon has a different origin, though it’s very close to the top sirloin. Filet mignon comes from the tenderloin, which is located right above the top sirloin, but is wider. In that way, filet mignon isn’t right on top of the top sirloin, it’s available at the tip of the width of the tenderloin, in the short loin region

Filet Mignon

Nestled just beneath the spine, filet mignon is very tender and often considered the most tender steak. 

As we just noted, filet mignon is a part of the tenderloin. However, filet mignon can only be cut from the small side of the tenderloin, which is the part that extends to the short loin. This particular muscle group gets a lot less exercise compared to the top sirloin, but still manages to be a lean steak.

Top Sirloin’s New York Strip And Kansas City Strip

In some regions, top sirloin is simply known as the New York strip or Kansas City Strip. However, others might define it all differently. 

The New York strip has a layer of fat running on one side of the cut and visible marbling on the meat. If the cut still includes the bone, it becomes the Kansas City strip. It’s worth noting that these are basic definitions and can vary depending on region.

Marinating And Spice Rubs

If it’s steak you’re going to barbecue, it makes sense to add a meat rub or marinate it, right? In the case of top sirloin, absolutely! It holds seasonings and marinades remarkably well and gets a wonderful taste going.

Filet mignon has a very mild, though not a weak flavor. Either way, it’s not really built for being marinated and it’s preferable to only lightly season this meat. Generally, it’s advisable to serve this with a compound butter or a rich sauce.

The Cost Equation

Top Sirloin is a popular and very common steak, while filet mignon is usually reserved for special occasions. Filet mignon is a very small part of the beef and it is very much in demand. So, it tends to be more expensive. Top sirloin is a reliable cut that’s cooked relatively more commonly. 

It wouldn’t be right to call either of these cuts cheap, so we’ll just say filet mignon is the more expensive one!

The Cooking Methods

As we know, filet mignon is a lean meat without much fat content. To overcome this and keep the flavor intact, it is usually braised with butter while cooking. This is a very tender meat that pretty much melts in your mouth! Since it is so delicate, filet mignon is usually served medium-rare. Going any higher than that might cause the meat to dry up and ruin its texture.

Top sirloin is way more reliable and forgiving. Marinate it, add a meat rub, and cook it whatever way you want it! The fat content helps keep the steak juicy and delicious.

In either case, the internal temperature of the meat must reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit for safe cooking.

FAQ And More Information On These Cuts

Is Filet Mignon Lean Cut?

Filet mignon is a lean cut with a relatively low fat content. It’s rich in proteins and full of vitamins. Generally speaking, this lean cut can be a healthier choice than most other cuts.

Is Top Sirloin Tender?

Top sirloin is a bit chewy, but it is a fairly tender cut. Or at least, it is tender for its category. It is firmer than filet mignon, but the cut works fabulously with marinades or meat rubs, which help make it juicier and more tender.

Is Sirloin Steak Good?

Sirloin steak is one of the more popular cuts and is indeed considered a delicacy. While the cooking process and the cook’s skill will be a part of the equation, a sirloin steak is generally considered to be good and delicious.

Quick Ranking Of Steak Cuts, From Best to Worst

Here’s a quick ranking of the various cuts of steak, from best to worse. Of course, as with all such rankings, there is a factor of subjectivity involved and opinions vary. But, it’s a fairly good representation of preferences:

  1. Ribeye Steak
  2. Tenderloin Steak (including Filet Mignon)
  3. Porterhouse Steak
  4. T-Bone Steak
  5. Top Sirloin

Enjoying Your Cut Of Steak

A comparison of top sirloin vs filet mignon makes it clear that these are very different cuts, even though they come from the same general region. They’re both lean cuts, though filet mignon is leaner. Interestingly, filet mignon is also the more expensive cut, though both these cuts are prized.

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