Pork, beef, and chicken meat are one of the most used meats all over the world.
And if you are a pork lover this is the right article for you because we are going to reveal the key difference between two popular cuts of pork, pork sirloin, and pork loin.
Pork is a special protein that has a perfect balance between fat and meat.
Therefore, it is used in many different dishes and prepared in various ways. You can grill, braise, fry, broil, or sauté it and at the end, you will still get a juicy and delicious piece of meat.
However, finding the right cut of pork today is a challenge. There are many cuts of pork that are sold under different names and can easily confuse you.
There are 4 cuts of pork knowns as primal cuts. Pork shoulder, pork loin, pork leg, and pork belly, which are divided into other specific cuts.
Pork loin is the area between the back legs and the shoulder of the animal. It is the most tender and leanest pork cut which can be sold with or without bones. Pork sirloin is a cut from the back of the pork loin and is usually sold as a whole piece. But it can be also sliced into steaks.
3 Parts of Pork Loin
Pork loin is divided into three sections including:
- Blade end-close to the shoulder and fatty
- Sirloin end -close to the rump and bony
- The center portion – in the middle is tender, lean, and expensive.
Pork loin is wide cut and has a mild flavor with a fat cap which makes it even more tender, juicy and flavorful.
How to Cook Pork Sirloin and Pork Loin?
You can roast the entire pork loin which is usually tied up, or you can cut it into chops or cutlets.
Pork loin is usually grilled over medium heat or roasted. However, it can be also seared to get a nice and crispy crust and then finished in the oven.
Pork loin can have an even better taste if it is brined, or rubbed with herbs and spices and then cooked. But it should not be overcooked because it will turn dry and tough.
Pork sirloin steaks that are near the hip bone have tough muscles, connective tissue, and bones. They can become tough and dry if they are not cooked properly. Therefore, they should be cooked over low heat, so the meat can be more tender and juicier.
You can grill, broil, pan-fry or roast them over low heat for 25-30 minutes depending on how thick they are. Or until they reach 145° F internal temperature and rest for 3 minutes.
Are Sirloin and Loin the Same Thing?
Sirloin and loin are not the same things.
The loin is the cut of meat between the back legs and the shoulder of the animal. Sirloin, on the other hand, is the cut of meat from the back of the loin close to the hip bone.
Can I Substitute Pork Sirloin for Pork Loin?
You can substitute boneless pork sirloin for pork loin.
However, have in mind that pork sirloin is tougher than pork loin. You can use some of the tips in this article to make it more tender, and juicer.
Which is Better Pork Loin or Pork Tenderloin?
Pork tenderloin is a smaller cut of meat that is more tender than the pork loin. It is placed under the backbone and is known as a very lean cut of meat. Pork tenderloin is covered with a thin layer of fat called silverskin which is removed easily before cooking.
The best way to prepare pork tenderloin is to grill, roast, or sear it in a pan. But be careful not to overcook it. Because if it is overcooked it will become tough and dry.
On the other hand, pork loin is a bigger and wider cut of pork meat than pork tenderloin. It is also a lean cut of meat, which is often sold with a cap of fat on top which will render during the cooking and make the meat tender and juicy.
The best way to cook pork loin is to grill or slow roast it. They are both good cuts of pork but pork tenderloin is leaner and expensive than pork loin.
What is the Best Cut of Pork for Pork?
The best cut of pork for pork is the cuts from the loin. They are the most tender and leanest pork cuts, especially the pork tenderloin.
Which is Better Top Sirloin or Sirloin Tip?
Top sirloin is located at the top of the sirloin cut, and the sirloin tip is on the top back of the pig, next to the sirloin, it is leaner and less tender than top sirloin.
They are both sold as roast and as steaks. However, since the sirloin tip is a lean cut, you have to prepare it to be tender. They are both delicious and affordable. But top sirloin is fattier and more tender.
Pork Loin vs Pork Shoulder for Carnitas
Carnitas is a Mexican dish made by simmering or braising pork meat in oil or lard for 3-4 hours.
The best meat for carnitas is the pork shoulder because it has high-fat content that makes the meat tender and juicy.
Pork loin is a lean cut of pork. Therefore, if you want to use it to make carnitas, you need to add 2-3 tablespoons of oil or lard and ¼ cup of chicken broth. Or lemon juice to get the same juicy and tender meat as when you are using the pork shoulder.
Pork loin is the healthier choice for carnitas because it is more nutritional than pork shoulder.
10 Tips for Cooking Pork Sirloin Steak
If you want the pork sirloin steaks to be cooked in the right way, and become tender and juicy you can also follow the next tips.
Buy a bone-in pork sirloin steak
The bone will prevent the steak from drying and provide a better flavor. The bone is slowing the transfer of the heat to the steak, and the steak will retain its juiciness and moisture.
Marinate the pork sirloin steak
Use a marinade made of lemon juice, salt, black pepper, oil, and spices. The marinade helps the meat to be more tender and gives a new beautiful flavor.
Pay attention to the temperature
Bring the pork sirloin steak to room temperature one hour before cooking, to help it cooked evenly.
Cook the pork sirloin steaks evenly
You can sear the pork sirloin steaks for 6-8 minutes on each side before, you put them in the oven, to create a nice brown crust.
Add a small amount of chicken stock or broth
If you are preparing the pork sirloin steaks in the oven you can add a small amount of chicken stock or broth in the pan where you are going to cook the steaks. This will give more moisture to the steaks, and prevent them to dry.
Always put the steak on a very hot cooking surface
The cooking surface is not hot enough the steak will start to steam and all the juices and flavor will run out inside of the steak.
Never pierce the steak
Don’t pierce the steak while flipping or to see if it is cooked because all the juices will leach out from the steak, and it will become dry.
Give it time to rest
USDA recommends cooking the pork steak until it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F(62,8°C), and allow it to rest for 3 minutes.
After the pork sirloin steak is cooked let it rest for about 10 minutes so all the juices can get back into the center of the steak. Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt and serve.
You can also apply these useful tips for pork loin steaks even if they are not so tough like pork sirloin steaks.
Now we know that pork loin and pork sirloin are not the same things. They are different because they a cut from different parts of the loin, and they don’t have the same texture and flavor.
The pork sirloin is tougher with more connective tissue, tough muscles, and bones (pieces close to the hip bone). Pork loin, on the other hand, is a lean, tender, and juicy cut of pork used to make many delicious dishes.
Pork sirloin and pork loin are two beautiful and flavorful cuts of pork even if they are not the same. So, next time when you are buying pork you will know the difference between the pork loin and pork sirloin and buy the one you think is the best for you.