Nothing beats getting dressed up to go to a swanky steak restaurant for your birthday or an equally special occasion. You get to enjoy a good meal with family or friends in a nice outfit and you maybe have a few cocktails if you're of age. But while those few bites of tender steak are one of the best things you've eaten all year, there's a reason we don't dine at upscale steak places every week—namely, it's crazy expensive. $40+ on one cut of meat? No, thanks.

Instead of dropping that much money on one meal, save some cash and learn how to cook different cuts of steak at home. Two of the most popular types of steak are ribeye and sirloin, but there a few key differences to keep in mind when choosing which to cook at home. So before your next visit to the butcher counter, read up on the differences between sirloin vs ribeye so you know which cut to purchase.

Appearance & Flavor of Sirloin vs Ribeye

A sirloin steak is taken from the rear back section of a cow between the short loin and tougher round. However, 'sirloin' actually refers to a larger cut of meat that's then cut into smaller types of steak (kind of confusing, I know). Sirloin steaks are fairly tender no matter which cut you buy, so it's okay to buy whichever cut of sirloin is on sale. With a bit of connective tissue and not much fat, sirloin is a lean and firm cut, which makes it a little less flavorful than a ribeye steak. When buying sirloin at the store, choose a steak that's uniformly red in color and has very little fat on it (the fat in sirloin can be gristly, or tough). 

#SpoonTip: Top sirloin is one of the most popular sirloin cuts.

On the other hand, a ribeye is taken from the rib section (hence RIBeye) between the short loin and chuck and can be bone-in or boneless. Ribeye steaks are fattier than sirloin, making them juicier and richer in flavor. When choosing between cuts of steak at the store, go for a ribeye steak with lots of marbling (aka a good amount of fat showing throughout). 

Which Steak Is Healthier? 

Steak Dinner photo by Eduardo Roda Lopes (@eduroda) on Unsplash

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Both steaks are high in protein, fat, and several vitamins (especially vitamin B12 and B6) and minerals, such as phosphorus, zinc, iron, and selenium. However, sirloin cuts are often leaner, meaning they have less fat and therefore contain less cholesterol. According to SFGate, a 3-ounce sirloin steak has 8 grams of fat and 180 calories, and Men's Health reports that a 3-ounce ribeye has 12 grams of fat and 207 calories. So if you're trying to decide between sirloin vs ribeye steaks based on their nutritional values alone, the sirloin is a healthier choice.

How to Cook Sirloin vs Ribeye

Meat skewers on a tray photo by pan xiaozhen (@zhenhappy) on Unsplash

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Sirloin is often used for grilling, but usually requires a marinade to tenderize the meat. If grilling an entire steak makes you nervous, cut the sirloin into chunks and skewer them with vegetables to make some bomb kabobs

Ribeye isn't as good for grilling, because the fat in the steak can cause flare-ups on your grill (think: high flames and possibly burnt meat). Instead, cook ribeye steaks quickly by pan-searing them in a cast iron skillet. However, if you really want to grill a ribeye, have a pan lid handy to cover the flames. 

Which Should You Buy?

The choice isn’t so cut and dried. Some people prefer the leaner top sirloin, whereas the luscious marbling in a ribeye draws in others. Both cuts are definitely cheaper than going to your favorite steak place (although ribeyes are generally more expensive than sirloins). Which cut is better ultimately depends on personal preference: how much you want to spend and how the meat will be prepared.