Burger recipes can range from classic favorites to radical culinary experiments.
And no other ingredient gives you as much opportunity to try out new things like the choice of meat.
While ground beef may be the easiest choice for some, prime cuts are also favored by many.
And choosing from a prime rib vs. sirloin burgers option is gradually becoming a popular consideration. Today, we’ll set the argument to rest.
When you’re trying to pick between prime rib and sirloin, it’s essential to first understand what works in burgers.
As far as your burger’s taste and flavor go, the meat’s quality is more important than the specific cut.
So, you can pick either the prime rib or sirloin and still get a delicious burger if you do things right.
The prime rib will offer more fat and flavor, while the sirloin is cheaper yet still nice and tender. So, ultimately the choice of cut comes down to your preference.
However, both these cuts of meat have their time and place. And to make the right choice, you’ll need to know what makes them better (or worse) for specific situations.
The Prime Rib
Meat and cut
The prime rib is a cut that’s known for being tender, juicy, and rich in fats. It comes from the cow’s forequarter.
The normal understanding is that it separates from what we call the beef chuck around the fifth rib (sometimes sixth).
And at the back, it’s separated from the loin around the 12th rib (or 13th). So, this cut includes about six or seven ribs between the sixth and 12th rib.
Technically, for any of these rib cuts to qualify as prime rib, the USDA assigns grades depending on their quality.
The conditions for qualifying as a prime rib may include the amount of edible meat, the ratio of fat, and even the age of the meat (cow).
The prime rib usually comes from a part of the cow that doesn’t experience a lot of physical activity. As a result, this cut is incredibly juicy and tenderer than most other cuts.
Also, the rich marbling in a primal cut gives it a more intense flavor that makes it an absolute culinary treat.
However, these premium flavors and tastes also make it the most expensive cut/portions of the cow.
So, while it’s great for, say, a nice steak, it’s usually not the most common choice for burgers. That’s why you normally don’t see diners and fast-food chains offering prime ribs in their burgers.
Most commercial establishments will opt for cheaper ground beef for their burgers. But that’s more of a cost-effective solution that makes good business sense.
So, if you’re making a homemade burger and you have portions of prime rib lying around, there’s no reason why you can’t add it to your burger.
In fact, the prime cut will give you a juicier and more intense taste if you cook it right.
One thing to remember here is that you may lose some of the fat and juices if you grill a prime rib.
So, burger-enthusiasts will usually prefer cooking it on a skillet or cast iron surface.
But the cast-iron isn’t really a hard and fast rule. So, you’re still free to try it out based on how you like your burgers.
Meat and cut
The sirloin comes from what butchers would call the beef loin primal cut. It’s closer to the rear leg than the front.
It usually comes in two parts – the top sirloin and the bottom sirloin. The separation usually happens from the natural fleshy seam between the top and bottom sirloins.
The top sirloin can come as a boneless cut or as smaller trimmed pieces. And it’s tender compared to its bottom counterpart.
That’s also the reason why it’s the cheaper cut between the two. On the other hand, the bottom sirloin is located closer to the rear hind legs.
So, the meat in this section is normally tougher than the top portion. Both varieties can easily be available in a triangular muscle that makes decent steaks.
The sirloin may also contain a portion called the butt tender. This cut is essentially the rear section of the original tenderloin. It’s wider and comes with a more even thickness.
The sirloin comes with its own special flavor. But you’ll find that it’s more chewy and tough compared to, say, a prime rib.
Unlike the prime rib, the sirloin can easily go through grilling in high heat. Also, slow grilling at high temperatures is recommended by a lot of cooks too, when it comes to the sirloin.
For your burgers, you can grill or cook them on cast iron. But you’ll have to be careful not to overcook the meat because you’ll lose some of the juices.
The sirloin doesn’t come with as many fats and flavors as the prime rib. And that explains why it’s usually cheaper. But if cooked correctly, it makes a delicious patty for your burger.
Consider a custom blend.
Most burger connoisseurs will agree that a customized blend of different cuts can give you the best meat mix.
Of course, this means buying more cuts and spending more money. But it’s worth a try if you can source them from your local butcher.
You can go for a blend of prime ribs and sirloin. But for enhanced flavors, you can throw in portions of brisket and short rib.
Some people even add bacon to the mix for that extra fat and flavor.
The prime rib vs. sirloin burger debate will continue as long as people experiment with burgers. And to be honest, there’s no clear winner here.
Both cuts bring unique elements to your recipe, and each has its own time. The prime rib is more expensive but comes with richer flavors and more fats. On the other hand, the sirloin delivers both taste and texture.
But it’s a leaner cut that has less fat and richness. So, you can go for either one depending on your mood or try out a blend of both cuts to get even more enhanced flavors.