Tri Tip Steak – What Is It and How To Cut It (2021)

Tri Tip Steak

Cutting beef is an art that takes some time to master. If you go to a butcher shop to get your cut of meat, you will love and admire their prowess as they divide it into parts. Each of the pieces has a role in the type of meal you’re preparing. Do you know that some people take tri tip steak or go on an excursion to a butcher shop to learn the art of cutting meat? Some don’t just go to learn but also know how clean the place is. This review is about Tri tip steak, and it focuses on all you need to know about it. No need to search any further!

Tri tip steak -Basics

What is a tri tip steak?

The tri tip is a triangular cut of beef from the bottom sirloin subprimal cut. It is taken from the sirloin area. It is a small triangular muscle, usually 1.5 to 2.5 lbs. (675 to 1,150g) per side of beef. Originally called California cut, the tri tip has become increasingly popular because of its superior flavor.

What does tri tip taste like?

Tri tip is a very flavorful cut of beef, having a pleasant beefy taste and tender chew. Although it is a lean cut of meat, it has a decent amount of fat, offering a bit of buttery taste. You need to marinade it nicely so that it will adopt the flavors of the ingredients.

How To Cut Tri Tip? How to cook tri tip?

It is recommended that you prepare the meat for at least 30 to 40 minutes. If you decide to go for the steaks, each steak can be cooked for 8 minutes, over a low to medium heat. Do not overcook it as it can dry out quickly. You can smoke the meat before cutting.

This beef cut is perfect for broiling, stove-top cooking, and using as a leaner mince. It has a lot of different uses and can take on a wide variety of flavors. Search popular recipes ideas on various sites for the best options.

Benefits of tri-tip steak

Tri tip is rich in protein; a 3-ounce serving has 23 grams, which is 41 percent of the daily recommended allowance for men and 50 percent for women. It is also dense with vitamin B, which supports the nervous and immune systems. It is also high in minerals, including selenium, which can reduce the risk of cancer.

Cutting tri tip – Techniques/tips to improve

A few things to know about tri tip

  • Most tri tips (there are two different ones per animal) weigh between 1.5 and 2.5 pounds and can serve 3 to 4 people or more if made as sandwiches.
  • You should buy grass-fed beef if you can, preferably Choice or Prime.
  • Like flank steak, this lean cut is best when cooked medium-rare (130-135 degrees). The thicker center and head will still be pinkish-red. However, its tapered shape means that the tail piece will be more done, and some people prefer their meat that way.
  • The whole tri tip can be cut into individual steaks before grilling. Sometimes, it is entirely packaged in some supermarkets; especially in some cities where tri tip is not well known.
  • The whole tri tip can be smoked, seared over high heat, and then grilled indirectly with or without smoke.
  • Always allow tri tip to rest for 5 minutes before carving so the juices might have the opportunity to redistribute themselves.

Simple tri tip recipes

  • In a large bowl, mix a quarter cup of soy sauce, a quarter cup of olive oil, two tablespoons of water, and two cloves of peeled and crushed garlic.
  • Placed your prepared piece of beef tri tip (cut into ½ inch slices) into the marinade, cover, and marinate in the fridge for at least four hours.
  • Set your grill to high heat and oil the grate with light olive oil.
  • Grill the marinated piece of beef for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, and put away the remaining marinade.
  • It is ready to serve with any side of your choice.

What BBQ tips should I follow when grilling tri tip?

  • Before seasoning your tri tip roast, pat it dry with a piece of paper towel. This helps create less steam during grilling and allows the meat to sear quickly and more evenly.
  • It is better to sear your tri tip on high heat first as this will help lock in the juices. After searing, flip it over and slow-cook it to your desired temperature.
  • Medium rare is recommended for tri tip. Remove the steak when it’s ready and then let it rest for about 5 minutes before slicing (until it reaches 145 degrees).

How to slice tri tip meat correctly after cooking?

People get confused about whether to cut the piece of beef before or after cooking. A lot of people find it easier cutting after cooking as it is easier to cut along the given grain direction. You can prepare the beef by rubbing it in salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you feel like adding. Below are a few tips on how to slice your tri-cut after cooking.

  • Remove it from the grill and allow it to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
  • Locate where the two grains intersect and cut vertically, splitting the roast roughly in half. Whether one side should be longer than the other is for you to decide.
  • Look at the grain of each piece, and slice perpendicular to the grain of each half.
  • For maximum tenderness, slice the tri-tip thinly.
  • When slicing, angle the knife slightly. This is called cutting “on a bias.”

Chad Ward, Traeger pitmaster, said that the tri-tip should be sliced directly against the grain as it has two grains. If you follow the tips correctly, every slice of your tri-tip will be perfectly tender.

Characteristics of the tri tip cut

  • Very tender, with a deep rich flavor.
  • Best served medium-rare
  • Sold by only specialized butchers
  • Lower in fat than other more popular cuts
  • A small, triangular-shaped cut of beef
  • Has two different grain directions of the beef fibers

Storing tri-tip

If you don’t feel like cooking your tri-tip immediately after purchase, you can store it in the refrigerator for about 3 to 5 days. To keep it longer, rewrap the meat in plastic and make sure that there is no air between the steak and wrapping. Place it in the freezer after wrapping until you are ready to cook it.

Tri-tip cutting -Correcting Common Problems

Not letting the tri-tip steaks rest before slicing

This is one of the biggest mistakes people make when grilling tri-tip. If you cut it immediately after removing it from the grill, all the tasty juices will escape. So to be on the safe side, allow it to rest and finish cooking (it will continue to cook on the plate once it is removed from the grill) before slicing into it.

Tri-tip steak – Best Practices in the Industry

  • Proper livestock handling helps preserve animal well-being.
  • The first three months of a cow’s life are critical. The growth rate achieved in this period will affect the lifetime performance of the animal.
  • Optimizing nutrition and minimizing morbidity is essential to ensure the calf has the best possible chance of achieving its full genetic potential for growth and feed conversion efficiency.
  • Calf rearing systems need to recognize that early life events have a long term effect on the performance of the calf and capitalize on them.
  • You need to have a shed in a confined area to accommodate the calves.
  • For segregation, there should be 1.5 cubic meters per calf
  • Keep calves in groups according to size away from adults

Tri tip cut – Tools you can use

You need some tools to enable you to have a clean tri-tip cut. Below are some of them.

  • Sharpened knife and fork
  • Cutting board with grooves
  • Platter for serving
  • Honing steel
  • Meat thermometer
  • Jaccard tenderizer
  • Cast iron pan
  • Oil

Tri tip cuts – FAQS

Is tri-tip a good cut of meat?

Tri-tip is cut from a tri-tip roast, which is a small, triangular cut from the sirloin. It is also known as a triangular steak, bottom sirloin butt, or Santa Maria steak. Tri-tip is a good cut of meat because of its rich beef flavor, tender texture, as well as the cheaper price tag than similar steak cuts.

Is there another name for the tri-tip?

It is also known as a triangular steak, bottom sirloin steak, or Santa Maria steak.

Do you cut tri-tip with the grain or against the grain?

Bottom sirloin steak is a juicy, tender cut of meat as long as it is not overcooked and cut the right way. Cutting it the right way is by slicing it against the grain. The grain of tri-tip runs radially from the corner opposite the crook in the meat.

How do you cut up fresh tri-tip?

Draw a black line in between your raw tri-tip. The grain is different on each black line, so you have to slice across the grains. It is essential to understand the direction that the grain is running. To the right of the black line, you will find that the grain is running vertically (up and down).

On the left side, the grains are running in an angle and towards the tip. Then, it is curving back to the right. Cut it half back down the black line, and then cut the two pieces separately. Carve the right piece across the grains by the right and the same way with the left.

What is tri-tip best for?

In the top sirloin, you’ll find steaks great for grilling, while the bottom sirloin provides cuts like Tri-tip and sirloin Bavette, which you’ll find are suitable for roasting or grilling. You can search for popular recipes online.

Slicing tri tip – Conclusion 

Whatever decision you take, tri-tip is a versatile and delicious cut of meat that you’ll find can be used in a variety of recipes. Talk to your butcher to learn more about the cut, and if possible, he may teach you some tricks to cut the meat to perfection.