Election Night Sirloin Steak

Election Night Sirloin Steak

Every four years, when the polls close, I cook a steak. I don’t know why I started the tradition…maybe sometimes I need a visceral reminder of why this country is so freakin’ awesome and no victual sums up that self-evident truth like steak.

This year I’m going with a top sirloin because this election has been tough on all of us and if you’re not careful, sirloin can be tough. In fact, you could choke on it if you’re not careful.

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty much done with spin, so I’m keeping this elemental: steak, kosher salt and a crap ton of heat. That’s right…no oil no butter…that would make things slippery and I think we’ve had enough of that for now.

America…eat well and sleep well. Tomorrow is a new day…one way or another.


Election Night Sirloin Steak

  • One sirloin steak (1.5 inches thick, one pound five ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon of kosher salt
  1. Take steak out of fridge 30 minutes before cooking. I like dry sides so I keep mine unwrapped on a rack for air flow.
  2. The cast iron goes over the heaviest heat you’ve got for 5 full minutes.
  3. Either crank your hood, open a window or take the batteries out of your smoke detector because there will be smoke, and if there isn’t you ain’t doin’ it right.
  4. Liberally salt the pan…how liberally? I use one tablespoon. That’s right because if I can survive the last few months of TV salt won’t kill me in a night. Besides most of it will be staying in the pan. That’s right we’re actually cooking on salt. Why not? It’s a rock aint it? And I like my steaks crusty and salt will pull out proteins lending my sear actual crunch.
  5. The room temp steak goes into a pan hotter than the engines on a presidential candidate’s jet. Do not interrupt the steak for one minute. Sure it’ll feel like a long time because…never mind.
  6. Flip the steak and cook for another minute. Uninterrupted.
  7. Turn the steak up on one long edge and cook 30 seconds.
  8. Turn the steak onto the opposite long edge and cook another 30 seconds.
  9. Remove the steak and wrap tightly in foil for 3 minutes.
  10. Regardless of who wins, someone’s going to have to take some bitter medicine. Luckily I like medicine, and that’s why I drink Coke and Fernet Branca, a medicinal, bitter liqueur from Italy…but that’s just me.
  11. The steak goes back in the pan one minute, then flip and repeat, flip and repeat, flip and repeat. That’s a total of four minutes, two on each side…trust me on this.
  12. Re-wrap in foil and rest 5 more minutes.
  13. Slice on the bias and consume with your hands…because, after all, this has been a gloves-off kind of election.

Alton Brown's Election Night Steak Recipe


Add yours
  1. 4

    I arrived at my store late, the butchers had gone home. They only had one inch cut sirloin and London Broil. As the broil was $4.99 lb and the sirloin was $8.99 lb the choice was easy. I heated the cast iron for seven minutes on blast. I seared the London Broil for one minute each side and thirty seconds on the two edges. Rested in foil for three minute. Then 45 seconds each side. Then 5 minutes back into foil. Cut on a bias, the steak ended up barely a medium rare. Thank you sir for a great recipe — very tasty.

  2. 6

    Mr. Brown – As Hurricane Irma bears down on us, I hope you’ll allow me to co-opt this recipe. I need a Hurricane Steak and this fits the bill. It’s been a tough few days. Some folks will suffer, others will be better off, but no one knows what
    will happen. We’re all going to be happy when it’s over– then the real work begins. It’s election night without the
    bravado, just the impending doom. Still, there’s nothing like lighting a grill in the wind.

    Disaster can bring family together or tear it apart. Tonight, family was together, and I believe I’ll make this steak every hurricane to come.

    Hope you and yours are safe.

  3. 10

    Made this last night exactly as written and WOAH. Pretty killer steak! Outstanding char/smoky/salty/beefiness flavors going on. While my husband begrudgingly admitted it was worth smoking the kitchen out, we’ll take the cast iron skillet outdoors on the grill next time we do this. Definitely a recipe to try camping!

    • 12

      Just get thinner steaks. I just posted my review. I used 1″ steaks where Alton used 1.5″ steaks. Mine came out right at medium following the timing exactly as written

  4. 17

    Just finished polishing off the election steak! That was absolutely awesome! Thank you Mr. Brown! My hubby said it was worth the smoke!! Great flavor! This is one application I will definitely be making again!

  5. 22

    Did this last Sunday using my Weber Kettle, a flat Lodge cast iron griddle and chunk charcoal. The fire was hot hot hot. The results were amazing. I like rare so it was simple. My guests prefer med. well so be patient and follow the steps and you will be happy with your efforts.

  6. 23
    Mike James

    I need to try this! I’ve been wanting to try sous vide for cooking a steak but it looks like this technique could work just as well. @tk I think the science of this high and quick heat then wrapping it helps bring the residual heat all the way through the meat without over heating it to the point of making it tough.

  7. 24
    Roxanne Stickler

    My husband would’ve like that rare steak; me – not so much – needs to be a lot less red! (unlike the election results… 😉 )

  8. 25

    Could you please explain the science behind taking the steak off, putting it in foil and putting it back in the pan? Are you simply bringing the pan back up to a super hot temperature for a better sear?

    • 26

      wrapping in foil allows you to bring the temperature up for steak without further searing moving the steak towards med rare to med and longer foil times for closer to well.

  9. 27
    Susanne Edwards

    Good evening to you, sir, and I can see why you like a good steak on election night. As crazy as an election season can be – and this one’s only further reminded me to look to the Heavens and watch – ya gotta have something hardcore to get through the next four years. And a steak such as yours, win or lose, right or wrong, is just that damn hardcore.

  10. 28

    This… This is why I very much like you as a chef and person. Thanks for a fantastic idea/way to cook and eat a steak for such an occasion. Also thanks for the laugh, courtesy of your creativity of course.


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