The Royal History Of How Sirloin Steak Got Its Name

sirloin steak on board
sirloin steak on board - Asim's_bg/Shutterstock

Sometimes a dish is so good it prompts expletives. In the case of sirloin steak, however, one extra juicy slab of meat is rumored to have prompted an actual knighting ceremony from a royal. According to culinary lore dating back to the 17th century, Sir Richard De Hoghton of Hoghton Tower in Lancashire, England, invited King James I to his hilltop estate. The baron pulled out all the stops for the royal's visit, including covering his driveway with red velvet, organizing hunting excursions, and planning exquisite dinners with dukes, knights, and earls. At one of the banquets, the visiting king was served a cut of beef loin so large that he was prompted to knight the steak and grant it an official title: Sir Loin.

Though the actual king responsible for the knighting honor comes with a bit of discrepancy -- some sources point to King Charles II while others tag Henry VIII as the naming monarch -- the legend has become cemented enough that Hoghton Tower holds occasional celebrations to honor the historical event. The original aristocratic visit might have bankrupted the baron, but the name of the steak lives on, and a copy of the legendary 400-year-old menu served at the dinner has been auctioned.

Read more: Your Guide To The Different Cuts Of Steak

The Piece Of Meat That Has Claimed History

cut sirloin steak on board
cut sirloin steak on board - Zoya Miller SVG/Shutterstock

The name sirloin has also been linked to the French word surlonge, meaning the upper part of the loin, but since life is rarely simple and beef cuts can vary from country to country, the place from which the sirloin is taken can cause confusion among European and American buyers. Nevertheless, lean cuts of top sirloin make for versatile slices of meat that can be seasoned and prepared to your palate's content, whether or not you've had a crown on your head or stepped foot inside a palace.

Though we may not engage in a similar theatrical proclamation when presented with a juicy plate of steak, we'd like to imagine a sword was involved in the tableside naming ceremony. Back in 2017, an extravaganza was put on in Lancashire to mark 400 years since the knighting of the meat. If you visit today, you should find a restaurant to cook a good sirloin steak in honor of the tale, but don't head for the 17th-century Sirloin Pub in Hoghton, as it burned down in 2019. You can visit the well-kept castle-like Hoghton Tower, however. If you can't make it to England, draw your imaginary sword and knight the dish on the table in front of you the next time you are served a tender sirloin steak.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.