Sirloin Medallions- Poor Man’s Filet?

Sirloin Medallions

You might call this a poor man’s filet, and I’d let you. As long as you stipulated that it was a poor man with a better palate than a rich man. I’ve probably said this before, but I’m not a big a fan of filet mignon. At those prices, I much prefer meatier cuts of beef like rib eye. Just like filet, rib eye is a pricy cut of cow. There are other options however. Sirloin is a good flavorful piece of meat, and it’s about half the price of filet. So go ahead and call my Sirloin Medallions with Charred Figs and Gorgonzola a Poor Man’s Filet with Fancy Stuff on the Side.

As far as I can tell, the main attraction for filet lovers is the soft, tender texture of the meat. Filet comes from a little used muscle and that accounts for the buttery texture. Top sirloin has a similar texture, so it’s easy to make the comparison with filet. Another thing I like about filet is its size (4 or 5 oz). Sometimes just a bit of tender, juicy red meat is enough to satisfy the carnivore in me.

Typically sirloin steaks are cut to 8 oz portions (rib eyes can be much larger). Which may be more meat than you really want to eat. Sirloin medallions, also called petite sirloins, differ from their full-size counterparts in comparable size. Like filet, they come in 4 or 5 oz portions. Most sirloin medallions are about 1½-inch thick and 3 to 4 inches wide, again similar to filet.

The sirloin and top sirloin are located just below and just above the tenderloin (which is home to the filet). Medallions are taken from the fore end of the top sirloin, close to the pointed end of the tenderloin. In other words not to far from filet mignon territory. Sirloin medallions are best cooked fast and hot, so they don’t have time to toughen. Grilling, pan-frying, and roasting are the best ways to handle this lean cut of beef. Like its famous neighbor, sirloin medallions have a tender bite, and remain juicy as long as you don’t cook them past medium. So you can see why it’s fine by me if you call these sirloin medallions Poor Man’s Filet.

Wine Pairing

2011 Qupé Central Coast Syrah 

Qupé Central Coast Syrah
Qupé Central Coast Syrah. When Greg asked me to come up with a wine pairing for his delicious Grilled Sirloin Medallions with Charred Figs and Gorgonzola, I happily agreed. You see, as a “wine guy” I’m asked to pair food and wine frequently, but strangely, I’m rarely asked to pair wine with steaks. That’s probably because everybody knows […]
Grant Henry

Price $18

Pairs well with barbecue, cheese, duck, mushrooms, pork, sausage.

Sirloin Medallions with Charred Figs and Gorgonzola, Poor Man’s Filet.

Poor Man’s this and Poor Man’s that. From tacos to crab cakes my mom had a recipe for every poor man under the sun. Which is kinda funny. We weren’t poor (nor were we rich). I guess anyone who’s not rich thinks that they’re poor. Heck, maybe rich people think that they’re poor too. I don’t know.

Which may explain why my mom even called me a Poor Man’s Oscar Wilde once. To this day Poor Man’s anything will always remind me of my mom. But Oscar Wilde? Whatever could she have meant by that?

Naturally any mom who reads Oscar Wilde must have served her own version of Poor Man’s Filet. Maybe yours did too.

My mom’s Poor Man’s Filet wasn’t sirloin medallions however. In my house Poor Man’s Filet was simply an extra thick hamburger patty wrapped in bacon. I’m not sure how ground beef compares to filet mignon, but I sure loved it as a kid.

Wow. Who knew Sirloin Medallions with Charred Figs and Gorgonzola could be such a trip down memory lane. It’s been a pleasant journey though, so I think I have to get my brother involved. My mom called him a Poor Man’s Alfred E. Newman. Which is even harder to understand than Oscar Wilde.

Anyway, Alfred (err I mean Grant) has some Poor Man’s Tips for pairing steak with wine. Because the one thing I know about steak is this: any man or woman (women can be poor too) who spends good money on any cut of steak– deserves a really good wine. GREG

raw figsfigs for roastingsirloin medallions with charred figsgrilled

Grilled Sirloin Medallions with Charred Figs and Gorgonzola 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Published


  • 15 ripe but still firm figs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (or more to taste)
  • 4 (4 to 5 oz) sirloin medallions (well-seasoned with salt and pepper on both sides)
  • crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (as needed)


Place the oven rack in the top position. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Gently wash and dry the figs. Slice off the stem end and cut them in half. Place the cleaned and cut figs into a large bowl. Add the olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper; toss to combine.

Pour the mixture onto a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Spread them around in a single layer. Place them so some are facing cut side up and some are facing cut side down. The cut side down figs will weep out some sweet juice while roasting, creating a nearly black caramelized candy-like crunch.

Roast the figs for about 30 minutes, turning the sheet halfway through cooking. Watch them very closely as the water content in figs can vary greatly. When the figs are well-browned, blistered in places with crisp edges, they should be finished cooking. Don’t be afraid to let them get right up to the edge of burnt. This creates the char that gives these figs their sweet and savory allure.

Meanwhile grill the sirloin medallions: For a charcoal grill, place the meat on the oiled grill rack directly over medium hot coals; grill uncovered turning once. 

For a gas grill, preheat the grill; reduce the heat to medium. Place the filet on the oil grill rack over the heat. Cover the grill. Turn once during cooking.

For a 1‑inch cut, grill 3 to 4 minutes per side for rare (122 degrees F) to 5 to 6 minutes for medium rare (130 degrees F) or longer for medium (140 degrees F).

For a 1‑½-inch cut, grill 4 to 5 minutes per side for rare (122 degrees F) to 6 to 7 minutes for medium rare (130 degrees F) or longer for medium (140 degrees F).

Transfer the meat to a platter. Cover the meat loosely with foil and allow it to stand for 5 minutes before serving each steak with some of the charred figs and a sprinkling of crumbled Gorgonzola.