Cooking a tri tip really well is just step one in delivering a delicious, tender cut of beef. How you cut a trip makes a big difference in the finished meat. Learn how to cut tri tip steak like a pro using my simple guide to perfectly sliced tri tip.
What is a Tri Tip?
The tri tip cut is a triangular piece of beef cut from the bottom sirloin. The roasts are lean and range in size from 1.5-3 pounds. They are sometimes called Triangle Roasts, Bottom Sirloin Tip, or California Cut and are great for grilling or oven roasting.
What is the Trick to Perfectly sliced Tri tip?
The trick to cutting a tri tip is not so secret. Cut tri tip against the grain and you will have nice tender slices. However, those tri tip roasts don’t like to make life easy by having one grain direction. A tri tip has two different grain directions and needs to be sliced part of the way one direction and part of the way another.
How to Cut a Tri Tip
Rest the tri tip roast before carving. No matter how you prepare your meat, it is best to let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
- Identify the Grain
If the tri tip has a nice crust or fat cap still intact, it can be hard to see the grain on the top of the meat. Turn the roast over and look at the underside to see really clear grain lines.
- Slice the Meat
Start at one end of the tri tip and cut against (perpendicular) to the grain until you reach the end of that grain pattern. Then turn the roast so that you can again line up your cuts against the grain and finish cutting the remainder of the meat.
If you are cutting with the grain, the long lines of the grain will be visible in each slice.
If you are cutting against the grain, the lines on the slices will be very short and look a little like a series of squares across the slice.
The picture below shows improper cutting (with the grain) on the left and correct cutting (against the grain) on the right.
Tri tip pieces are typically served fairly thin. An ideal slice is around ¼ of an inch.
If you want to use the meat for sandwiches, the thinner the better. It can be difficult to cut really thin pieces from a hot roast without a meat slicer. Chilling the roast and slicing it cold makes it much easier to get really thin slices by hand. Reheat tri tip sliced for sandwiches in hot beef broth.
Perfect medium is 140° at the thickest part of the meat. The thinner ends will be a bit more done. Because of the varied thickness, a tri tip can accommodate different tastes in doneness. See temperature chart below to find the perfect temperature for you.
How to Cook Tri Tip
Tri Tip Recipes
Tri Tip Temperature Guide
The temperature of the meat will rise a few degrees while resting. It is best to pull the meat when it is approximately five degrees from the desired temperature.
Remember that the thinner end pieces will be a full 5-10° higher than the thick center.
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