If you spent time reading this recent 1,500-word piece highlighting the top sirloin complex, give yourself a pat on the back for being a certified, bonafide meat nerd.
That said, 1,500 words didn’t quite cover all the magnificent meaty possibilities that exist inside the ‘top butt,’ especially one golden nugget that’s dying to get polished up and put on display during the holiday season.
Without making too many assumptions, if you’re still reading at this point, you’ve probably heard of a beef-forward dish called the Châteaubriand.
While food historians have varied accounts of how this dish came into being—and from what cut it originated—the Châteaubriand to most people these days is a barrel-cut tenderloin roast, often carved tableside for guests.
But some early accounts suggest this classical French dish was made from—you guessed it—top sirloin.
If you’ll remember in our previous novel about the good tidings that come from properly fabricating the top sirloin, the center-cut (the piece you get after removing the coulotte and the mouse) has a thick seam of connective tissue that needs to be detached.
But once split, you’re left with two large hunks of beef begging to be rubbed, seasoned and dry roasted to your heart’s content.
This, friends, is the sirloin château.
This begs the question: why would one choose a sirloin château over a classic tenderloin Châteaubriand? There are a couple answers.
The first, and probably the easiest, comes down to economics. The tenderloin, while being the most tender cut of beef there is (it’s not just a clever name), also generally tends to be the most expensive, as well.
The sirloin, by comparison, is always more affordable—even if you upgrade to something uber exclusive like Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime, so why not?
The second, and probably the reason most hardcore food folk would consider it, is because of the intramuscular fat, or marbling, found inside the sirloin. Remember that fat equals flavor.
While tender, the tenderloin is also exceptionally lean. It’s rare to find any visible marbling in a tenderloin below the upper echelons of the Prime grade, which is why many times a filet mignon is lacking in overall beefiness.
The sirloin—especially a Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime sirloin—is abundantly marbled. It may come out slightly less tender, but the beefy richness will be worth the trade off.
As the holiday season approaches and demand for middle meats, like rib, tenderloin and strip, increase, take a flier on the sirloin as your tableside Châteaubriand. Pair it with a starch, top with a Châteaubriand sauce—usually made with shallots, stock, white wine, tarragon and butter—and think nice thoughts about us when you feast.