The Art of Mastering The Tri-Tip Cut – A Butcher’s Guide

how to cut a tri tip


The tri-tip, a triangular cut of beef from the bottom sirloin, is a versatile and flavorful piece of meat that has gained popularity among grill enthusiasts and home chefs. However, to fully enjoy this cut, it’s essential to know how to cut and prepare it properly. In this article, we’ll delve into the art of cutting a tri-tip to ensure a tender, juicy, and mouthwatering outcome.

Understanding the Tri-Tip Cut

Before diving into the cutting process, it’s crucial to understand the tri-tip’s anatomy. The tri-tip is a triangular muscle found at the bottom of the sirloin. This cut is known for its marbling, which contributes to its rich flavor and juiciness. When prepared correctly, it’s a real treat for beef lovers.

Tools You’ll Need

1. A sharp chef’s knife or a boning knife

2. A cutting board

3. Butcher’s twine (optional)

4. Meat thermometer

Trimming and Preparing the Tri-Tip

1. Begin by examining your tri-tip. It may come with some excess fat or silverskin on the surface. Use your knife to trim off any visible fat or tough connective tissue.

2. If you notice any uneven thickness on the tri-tip, you can use your knife to make slight adjustments. The goal is to create a uniform thickness, which will help ensure even cooking.

3. If desired, you can season the tri-tip with your favourite rub or marinade. Make sure to rub it in thoroughly and allow the meat to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or even overnight for a more robust flavor.

Cutting the Tri-Tip

Now that your tri-tip is prepared, it’s time to make the essential cuts to achieve that perfect tri-tip experience.

The Center Cut

   a. Place the tri-tip on your cutting board with the pointed end facing to your right (if you’re right-handed) or left (if you’re left-handed).

   b. Starting at the thicker end, make a horizontal cut through the center of the tri-tip, creating two roughly equal pieces. This will give you two smaller, more manageable pieces for cooking.


   a. Once you’ve made the center cut, it’s time to slice the tri-tip for serving. Slice against the grain, which means cutting perpendicular to the muscle fibres. This will ensure that each bite is tender and easy to chew.

   b. You can aim for slices that are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, depending on your preference. Thinner slices will be more tender, while thicker slices will be more substantial.

Cooking the Tri-Tip

The way you cook your tri-tip can greatly impact its flavor and tenderness. Here are two popular methods for cooking tri-tip


   a. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (around 400-450°F).

   b. Place the tri-tip directly on the grill grates.

   c. Cook for about 5-7 minutes per side, depending on the thickness and your desired doneness. Use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature. For medium-rare, aim for 130-135°F, while medium is around 140-145°F.

   d. Let the tri-tip rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a juicy result.

Oven Roasting

   a. Preheat your oven to 400°F.

   b. Heat an oven-safe skillet on the stovetop over high heat with a bit of oil.

   c. Sear the tri-tip on all sides until it develops a nice crust.

   d. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and roast for about 15-20 minutes, or until it reaches your desired internal temperature.

   e. Let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.


How long should a tri-tip rest before cutting?

Allow the roast to rest for 15 minutes before slicing against the grain and serving. The grain changes in a tri tip, so I always start at the smallest point and angle my knife as needed to keep my slices going against the grain.

How long should a tri-tip take?

For a 11 ⁄ 2- to 2-pound tri-tip roast: Grill 35 to 40 minutes for medium rare (135°F) and 40 to 45 minutes for medium (150°F). Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness. Remove meat from the grill. Cover meat with foil; let stand for 15 minutes.


Cutting a tri-tip is an essential skill for any home chef or grill enthusiast. By following these steps, you can ensure that this flavorful cut of beef is prepared to perfection. Whether you’re grilling it outdoors or roasting it in the oven, a well-cut and well-cooked tri-tip is sure to impress your guests and satisfy your taste buds. So, sharpen your knives and get ready to master the art of the tri-tip cut.

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