How to Cut Tri Tip? Learn All You Needed to Know! | Smoke Gears

How to Cut Tri-Tip? Learn Step-By-Step All You Needed to Know!

Who doesn’t love tri-tip steaks?

We all do.

Tri-tip is one of the best parts of the cow, which is flavored and ideal for steak

Now, as this specific muscle is different, you are going to have to handle it in a unique way, rather than dealing with like regular cuts.

Remember that, for every different part of the cow, there is a specific way to cut it so that its taste and quality remain intact. 

In this article, you will get detailed guidance on how to cut tri tip properly.


What Is the Tri-Tip?

There are several different types of cuts when it comes to cow meat; 13 to be specific, and the tri-tip is one of those. It is shaped a bit like a triangle, and you could also say it resembles a boomerang in a way. A weird looking one at least. Its triangular shape is what has given this cut the 'tri' part of the name.

It is acquired from under part of the Sirloin cut of the beef. When you lay it down flat in front of you, one side is going to be shorter than the other, while the other hand will have a small extension to it at the end. The meat of this specific piece runs in three different directions, so you have to be careful with the cuts.

Also, it is more of a complicated steak to cut, as you will also notice some fat on the bottom of the meat, from which will also see how the grains go in different directions from each other.

The amount of fat on this may be right for the flavor, but you will have to be careful while cooking as the fat might have a rubbery texture.

It might seem intimidating to cut this piece for the very first time, so you should consider taking someone's help or seek out trusted online sites and tutorials to help you out with your task. This will make the work a bit easier for you.

Why Is It Important to Cut in a Particular Way?

As I have mentioned earlier, it’s totally different than other cuts. For the tri-tip to have the best texture, tenderness, and taste, it is essential to cut it in a certain way.

If you don’t follow the proper method, you might find yourself trying to chew very tough bits of meat that can't be swallowed.

Cutting across the grain is what you should be aiming toward, that would result in the ideal cuts and 100% preservation of the taste. If you are able to do this right, you are gonna savor the steak immensely.

What Do These Grains Mean?

Your understanding of the grains of the beef is what will make or break the final product and its taste. Understanding of the grain is not just important for the tri-tip; you should pay attention to the grain for all cuts of meat.

How to cut tri tip into steaks

You need to make all the cuts right across the grains and not against them. It will make it easier to slice up the meat and to chew.

Tri-Tip is a piece that has grains running in different directions, which intersect at the top.

When you place the cut on a chopping board and have the top part of it pointed towards you, the shorter side should have grains running vertically. At this point, you should start imagining vertical lines going across the grains.

Now, for the longer side of the meat, the grains have a more angular direction. So, for that, you have to imagine angular lines gong across the grains for this. If you are unable to find the grains, then you could look up a few videos on youtube.

Should You Cut the Tri-Tip Raw or Cooked?

A common question among people who are new to cooking a steak is when should they cut the meat, before or after it has been prepared.

Both methods are excellent, and you could cut them raw or cooked according to your preference.

However, I’d suggest that you slice tri-tip up after it has been cooked. You can grill it in the most natural way using just salt, pepper, and some garlic. You could also opt for adding more herbs and spices to enhance the flavors of the steak.

Most people prefer to eat their steak cooked to medium-rare so that it is soft and a little pink in the middle. But, with this piece, as one side is thicker than the other, the thinner side will be better done, while the thicker end will be cooked to medium-rare. Nevertheless, the taste should be equally good on all sides.

By choosing to slice the meat once it has been cooked, the moisture will stay intact inside of the steak, which means it will be juicier and tender to eat.

One thing you should keep in mind is, you need to let the cooked steak rest for 15 minutes before you start cutting it. If you slice it up too quickly, then all the juices will run out, leaving you with a slice of dried meat.

Smoked Tri-Tip

What are the Things You Will Need?

There are tools you will need when you want to slice up tri-tip. All of these are things you should have at your house. If you don't, then you should invest some money in it as it will be useful in the future too.

On average, tri-tip weighs around 1.5 to 2.5 pounds and should serve about four people.

Things you need:

  • A cutting board
  • A sharp knife and fork
  • A serving plate

Remember to wet the bottom part of the cutting board before you start your work so that it does not move around while you are using the knife. Otherwise, it might lead to an accident.

A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Cut a Tri-Tip

Cutting tri-tip is not all difficult, but it might seem like a lot when it’s your first time. A bit of guidance will help you achieve what you want.

  • At the very beginning, start by cutting the excess fat off the meat. Some amount of it is good as it adds flavor, but the fat cap has to go.
  • Now, you should lay down the roast on the board with the top part pointing towards you.
  • At this point, you should separate the top part from the longer side. Make the separation along the lines of the grain, it will make the work more comfortable, and the cut will look better.
  • The longer half of the meat should be placed in front of you at about a 30-degree angle.
  • Start making cuts across the meat, which are perpendicular to the cut you made to divide the tri-tip. You should keep making thin slices till you’re done with one side of the roast.
  • Now, depending on your dominant hand place the other half on the board with the pointed end on either the right or the left.
  • For this piece, you have to cut against the grain, and the cuts should be made perpendicular to the initial cut you made. Keep going until this side is done, as well.

When you are done, assess if all the pieces look right or not. Each of the slices should be around half an inch, unless you want to use the roast to make a sandwich, in that case, the slices should be much thinner.

You can put it back on the grill to cook it a bit more if you would like something a bit better done.

And with that, your work is complete.



Conclusion: At the beginning cutting tri-tip might seem to be very difficult, but once you get to learn the method and understand why they are done in a certain way, it will not feel daunting.

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Theresa Lori

Hi, I'm Theresa. My passion for grilling delicacy gradually built during the time I was living with my parents. My family members especially my mother was a great fan of grilled dishes to and from the love of food. I started preparing smoked food with my mom. This bonding helped me to know more and more about to smoke, grill what always I share on So, in two words you can call me a BBQ lover.

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