The Perfect Guide to Cutting Tri Tip Like a Pro

The Perfect Guide to Cutting Tri Tip Like a Pro

Welcome to our article on how to cut tri tip! If you’re a meat lover, you’re in for a treat. Tri tip is a flavorful and tender cut of beef that is perfect for grilling or roasting. However, cutting it can be a bit tricky if you’re not familiar with the proper technique. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of cutting tri tip, so you can enjoy perfectly sliced pieces every time.

If you’ve ever wondered how to get the most out of your tri tip, you’ve come to the right place. Cutting tri tip is an art that requires precision and practice. Whether you’re planning a backyard barbecue or a special dinner, knowing how to properly slice this delicious cut of meat is essential. In this article, we’ll share our expert tips and tricks on how to cut tri tip like a pro. So grab your cutting board and let’s get started!

What is Tri Tip?

If you’re a barbecue enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of tri tip. It’s a delicious and versatile cut of beef that can take your grilling game to the next level. But what exactly is tri tip?

Tri tip is a triangular muscle that comes from the bottom sirloin of the cow. It’s known for its rich flavor, tender texture, and beautiful marbling. This cut is popular in California, where it’s often grilled to perfection and served as a main dish.

The name “tri tip” comes from its unique shape. It’s triangular in appearance, with a thick end and a tapered tip. This shape makes it ideal for slicing into individual portions or cutting into steaks.

One of the reasons why tri tip is so beloved by grill masters is its versatility. It can be grilled, roasted, or even smoked, allowing you to experiment with different cooking techniques and flavors. Whether you prefer a smoky and charred exterior or a juicy and tender center, tri tip can deliver.

When it comes to flavor, tri tip doesn’t disappoint. Its natural marbling adds a depth of richness to every bite. Plus, it’s a forgiving cut that’s less prone to drying out compared to other leaner cuts of beef.

Choosing the Right Tri Tip

When it comes to grilling tri tip, selecting the right cut of meat is crucial. As a grill master, you know that the quality of the tri tip can significantly impact the final result. Here are a few tips to help you choose the perfect tri tip for your next grilling session:

1. Look for Marbling: One of the key indicators of a high-quality tri tip is the presence of marbling. Marbling refers to the thin streaks of fat that are evenly distributed throughout the meat. These fat pockets not only add flavor but also keep the tri tip moist and tender during the cooking process. When selecting your tri tip, look for a good amount of marbling throughout the cut.

2. Opt for a Well-Trimmed Tri Tip: While marbling is desirable, excessive fat can make the meat greasy and result in flare-ups on the grill. Look for a tri tip that has been properly trimmed, with just the right amount of fat remaining. This will ensure a flavorful and juicy steak without excessive grease.

3. Consider the Size: Tri tip comes in various sizes, and choosing the right size for your grilling needs is important. If you’re grilling for a small group, a smaller tri tip will be sufficient. However, if you have a larger gathering or want leftovers, opt for a larger cut. Keep in mind that larger tri tips may require a longer cooking time, so plan accordingly.

Remember, the quality of your tri tip can make or break your grilling experience. Take the time to choose a well-marbled, well-trimmed cut that suits your needs. By doing so, you’ll be well on your way to grilling a delicious and flavorful tri tip that will impress your guests. So, let’s move on to the next step: preparing the tri tip for the grill.

Preparing the Tri Tip

Now that you have chosen the perfect tri tip, it’s time to prepare it for grilling. Preparing the tri tip properly is crucial for achieving that mouthwatering, tender result. Here are a few steps to follow:

  1. Trimming: Start by trimming any excess fat from the tri tip. While fat adds flavor, too much can cause flare-ups on the grill. Use a sharp knife to carefully remove any thick or excessive fat. Leave a thin layer to enhance the juiciness and flavor.
  2. Seasoning: Seasoning is key to enhancing the natural flavors of the tri tip. You can keep it simple with just salt and pepper, or get creative with your favorite dry rub or marinade. Make sure to generously coat all sides of the meat, allowing it to sit for at least 30 minutes to absorb the flavors.
  3. Resting: Before you start grilling, allow the seasoned tri tip to come to room temperature by letting it rest for about 30 minutes. This ensures even cooking and helps to retain the juiciness of the meat.
  4. Preheating: While the tri tip is resting, preheat your grill to medium-high heat. This will create the perfect sear on the outside while keeping the inside tender and juicy.
  5. Oil the Grill: To prevent the tri tip from sticking to the grill grates, it’s important to oil the grill. Use a pair of tongs to dip a folded paper towel into vegetable oil, and then rub it over the grates. This will create a non-stick surface and help achieve those beautiful grill marks.

And there you have it! Your tri tip is now prepared and ready to be grilled to perfection. Next, we’ll dive into the grilling process itself, so stay tuned for more tips and tricks to elevate your BBQ game.

Seasoning the Tri Tip

Now that you have prepared the tri tip by trimming excess fat and allowing it to rest, it’s time to move on to the next crucial step: seasoning. Seasoning plays a vital role in enhancing the flavor of the tri tip and creating a mouthwatering crust on the outside.

When it comes to seasoning, simplicity is key. You don’t want to overpower the natural flavor of the beef, but rather complement it. Here are a few tips to help you season your tri tip like a pro:

  1. Salt it well: The first step in seasoning is to generously sprinkle kosher salt on all sides of the tri tip. This will not only enhance the natural flavors but also help to tenderize the meat. Remember, don’t be afraid to be generous with the salt.
  2. Add some pepper: After salting, it’s time to give the tri tip a gentle dusting of freshly ground black pepper. This will add a subtle kick and balance out the flavors.
  3. Get creative with spices: While salt and pepper are the foundation of any good seasoning, feel free to experiment with other spices and herbs to add depth and complexity to your tri tip. Some popular choices include garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, and dried herbs like rosemary or thyme. Remember to be mindful of the quantity and balance of the spices you use.
  4. Give it a pat: Once you have seasoned the tri tip, use your hands to gently pat the seasonings onto the meat, ensuring that they adhere well. This will help to create a flavorful crust when grilled.

Remember, seasoning is all about personal preference, so don’t be afraid to adjust the amounts and types of seasonings to suit your taste. Once you have seasoned the tri tip to your liking, it’s time to move on to the next step: grilling.

Keep reading to learn how to grill the tri tip to perfection without drying it out. *

Cooking Methods for Tri Tip

Now that you’ve mastered the art of preparing and seasoning tri tip, it’s time to explore the various cooking methods that will take your grilling game to the next level. As a grill master, I’m here to guide you through the different techniques and help you achieve that perfect tri tip every time.


Grilling is the most popular cooking method for tri tip, and for good reason. It allows you to achieve that beautiful char on the outside while keeping the inside tender and juicy. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Place the seasoned tri tip directly on the grill grates.
  3. Cook for about 5-7 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches your desired level of doneness.
  4. Remember to use a meat thermometer to ensure accuracy.


Roasting is another fantastic way to cook tri tip, especially if you prefer a more hands-off approach. It allows for even cooking and a tender result. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. Place the seasoned tri tip on a roasting rack in a shallow pan.
  3. Cook for approximately 20-25 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches your desired level of doneness.
  4. Let the tri tip rest for a few minutes before slicing.


If you’re feeling adventurous and want to infuse your tri tip with a smoky flavor, smoking is the way to go. Here’s a basic guide to get you started:

  1. Preheat your smoker to 225°F (107°C) and add your preferred wood chips or chunks.
  2. Place the seasoned tri tip on the smoker grates.
  3. Smoke for about 1.5-2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches your desired level of doneness.
  4. Let the tri tip rest before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute.

Grilling Tri Tip

Now that you’ve prepared your tri tip, it’s time to fire up the grill and get cooking! Grilling tri tip is a fantastic way to bring out its rich flavor and achieve that perfect charred crust. As a grill master, I’m here to guide you through the process and help you become a pro at grilling tri tip.

Here are some tips to ensure your tri tip turns out tender, juicy, and full of flavor:

  1. Preheat the grill: Before placing the tri tip on the grill, make sure it’s properly preheated. Set the grill to medium-high heat to achieve those beautiful grill marks and a delicious sear.
  2. Create a two-zone fire: For more controlled cooking, create a two-zone fire by positioning the coals or turning on only half of the burners. This allows you to sear the tri tip over direct heat and then finish cooking it over indirect heat.
  3. Sear the tri tip: Place the tri tip directly over the hot coals or flames and let it sear for about 2-3 minutes per side. This will give it a nice crust and seal in the juices.
  4. Move to indirect heat: Once you’ve achieved that beautiful sear, move the tri tip to the cooler side of the grill or turn off the burners directly beneath it. Continue cooking with the lid closed to ensure even heat distribution and to prevent flare-ups.
  5. Use a meat thermometer: To achieve the perfect level of doneness, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the tri tip. For medium-rare, aim for an internal temperature of 130-135°F.
  6. Let it rest: After grilling, remove the tri tip from the heat and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and tender final product.

Roasting Tri Tip

Now that you’ve mastered the art of grilling tri tip, let’s move on to another delicious cooking method: roasting. Roasting tri tip in the oven is a fantastic option when the weather isn’t ideal for outdoor grilling or when you simply prefer a different flavor profile.

To roast tri tip, follow these simple steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F. It’s important to start with a hot oven to ensure that the tri tip cooks evenly and develops a beautiful crust.
  2. Season the tri tip with your favorite rub or marinade. Whether you prefer a classic blend of salt, pepper, and garlic or a more adventurous flavor profile, be sure to generously coat the tri tip on all sides.
  3. Place the tri tip on a wire rack set inside a roasting pan. Elevating the meat on a rack allows the heat to circulate evenly around the tri tip, resulting in a more even cook.
  4. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the tri tip, making sure that it doesn’t touch the bone or the pan. This will help you monitor the internal temperature and ensure that the tri tip reaches your desired level of doneness.
  5. Roast the tri tip in the preheated oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 135°F for medium-rare or 145°F for medium. This usually takes about 20-25 minutes per pound, but it’s always best to rely on the thermometer for accurate results.
  6. Once the tri tip reaches your desired temperature, remove it from the oven and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful tri tip.
  7. After resting, slice the tri tip against the grain for maximum tenderness. The grain refers to the natural fibers of the meat, and slicing against it ensures that each bite is tender and easy to chew.

Slicing and Serving Tri Tip

Once your tri tip has reached the perfect internal temperature and has rested, it’s time to slice and serve it. This is an important step to ensure that each slice is tender and juicy. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Slice Against the Grain: The first thing you need to know is the direction of the grain in the meat. Look closely at the tri tip and you’ll notice the long muscle fibers running in one direction. To achieve maximum tenderness, you’ll want to slice against the grain, which means cutting perpendicular to the direction of the fibers. This will result in shorter muscle fibers, making each bite more tender.
  2. Cutting Technique: Start by placing the tri tip on a cutting board and locate the point where the grain changes direction. This is usually where the muscle fibers meet in the center. Begin slicing from this point, cutting thin slices about 1/4 inch thick. Use a sharp knife and make clean, smooth cuts through the meat. Take your time and be mindful of the direction of the grain as you slice.
  3. Serving Suggestions: Tri tip is a versatile cut of meat that can be served in various ways. Here are a few serving suggestions to consider:
  • Sandwiches: Thinly sliced tri tip makes a delicious filling for sandwiches. Pair it with your favorite bread, add some cheese or toppings, and enjoy a flavorful sandwich.
  • Tacos: Slice the tri tip into strips and serve it in warm tortillas with your choice of toppings like salsa, avocado, and cheese. It’s a great way to create flavorful and satisfying tacos.
  • Steak Salad: Slice the tri tip into thin strips and use it as a topping for a refreshing and hearty steak salad. Combine it with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and your favorite dressing for a delicious and nutritious meal.


By following this step-by-step guide, you can become a pro at cutting tri tip. Remember to preheat your grill or oven, season the tri tip, and use a meat thermometer to ensure it’s cooked to perfection. Letting it rest after cooking will help retain its juices and flavors. When it comes to slicing, be sure to cut against the grain for maximum tenderness.

Once you’ve mastered the art of cutting tri tip, the possibilities are endless. You can enjoy it in sandwiches, tacos, or even as a topping for a steak salad. The tender and flavorful result will surely impress your family and friends.

So, go ahead and give it a try! With these tips, you’ll be able to enhance your culinary skills and create delicious tri tip dishes that everyone will love. Happy cooking!

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