How to Cut Tri Tip in 3 Quick Steps

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Last updatedLast updated: April 29, 2021
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Tri-tip also called a California cut, is a three-sided cut of meat sliced from the lower part of the sirloin. The meat gets its name from its triangular shape that features a tapered tip. Tri tip steaks date back to the 19th century when it was ground up to make hamburgers.

In the 1950s Bob Schutz, decided to shake things up and served the cut of meat as a steak. It was so popular that it’s still a favorite on Californian menus today. Once cooked, the tender sirloin has a smokey, barbeque flavor and melts in your mouth.

Be very careful when cutting the tri tip. One wrong slice and your meat goes from tender and juicy to tough and rubbery. Tri tip is so difficult to slice because it has two different grain patterns. One running vertically, and one horizontally. In this article, we will learn the step-by-step process of how to slice tri tip correctly.

When to cut a tri tip

How to Cut Tri Tip in 3 Quick StepsIt’s important to know how to carve tri-tip, but it’s just as vital to know when to cut into the meat. Remove it from the grill and allow the meat to rest for at least 10 minutes before making the first slice.

Allowing the meat to rest, allows the juices to settle, resulting in a mouthwatering, titillating piece of meat. If you skip this crucial step, the juices will escape as you slice, and the meat will be dry and unappetizing.

For best results, use a charcoal smoker that is surprisingly simple to operate. It’s easily portable, and perfect for events like barbeques and Sunday lunches.

If you’re cooking for a large group of people, use an extra-large pellet hopper with an automatic pellet feed system. For example, the Cuisinart CPG-6000 allows for up to 15 hours of smoke time. The easy-to-use digital controller allows you to time your meat to perfection, so there is no risk of you burning it.

And here’s a thorough recipe for a tri-tip to try:

What you’ll need

  • A very sharp knife
  • Cutting board (with grooves to catch the juices)
  • Platter or serving dish
  • Wet towel to stop the board from slipping

A chef is only as good as the tools he uses. Get yourself a very sharp knife, such as the Wusthof CLASSIC Carving Knife that features a longer, narrower blade than a cook’s knife. This allows the knife to efficiently slice through meats with ease. The pointed tip is designed to help guide meat away from the bone.

Or check out this handy knife guide. It’s always impressive when a chef can serve meat cut to perfection.

To keep your knife as sharp as possible, use the honing steel. This fantastic tool will ensure that your knife stays sharp longer and keep you safe in the kitchen.

The main trick to slicing the perfect cut of meat is understanding how the grain pattern works.

  • Cutting with the grain: This means cutting the meat by following the direction that the grain runs. This does not separate the muscle tissue and makes the meat taste gamey and tough.
  • Cutting against the grain: Separates the muscles, so the meat is tender and juicy.

How to cut tri tip

Although you can prepare the meat before you cook it, you will preserve the flavor and tenderness if you cut it up after it has been cooked. Smoking it whole will help the meat maintain its integrity, and hold in the juices for a succulent cut of beef steak.

Once your meat has been well rested for at least 10 minutes. Follow this step-by-step guide on how to trim tri tip to precision.

How to Cut Tri Tip in 3 Quick Steps

Step 1

Place the wet towel under the cutting board to prevent the board from slipping. If the board slips while you are cutting, you could injure yourself.

Locate the fat trap, and gently remove it using a sharp knife. Arrange the meat on the cutting board, so that the triangle part is closest to you. Find the center of the meat, and then slice it in half along the seam.

If you cut the entire piece of meat in the same direction, half of the slices will be sliced incorrectly, in other words, with the grain. That’s why cutting it in half is such a crucial step of the process. You need to see exactly how to cut each piece.

Step 2

Slice the roast directly down the middle from the top to the bottom. Take the longer half of the meat and turn it so it faces in your direction. Look for the grain pattern and try to see where the angle of the muscle strings change.

Start at the end that hasn’t been cut and slice the meat against the grain.

Keep slicing into thin strips as desired. The best cuts for this steak are the width of a pencil. If you’re making meat for sandwiches, you will need to know how to cut tri tip thin. This is to hold its flavor and fit perfectly between the bread.

Top tip: Freeze your meat slightly so that it’s harder, but not completely frozen solid. This will make cutting thin strips for sandwiches so much easier.

When wondering how to cut tri tip roast, always cut against the grain to preserve the meat.

Step 3

Take the remaining piece of meat and locate the grain pattern. Turn the meat and cut against the grain. Keep cutting into thin slices until the meat is prepared and ready to serve.

Top tip on how to cut tri tip against the grain: cutting against the grain of meat means separating the muscle and unraveling the bundles of fiber. If you cut with the grain, the fibers won’t separate and the meat will be very hard to chew.

How to Cut Tri Tip in 3 Quick Steps

Final thoughts

Cutting tri tip can be tricky if you don’t pay attention to which way the grain is running. Properly slicing the meat will ensure that every bite is decadent, and will do wonders for the flavor of the meat.

So, now you know how to cut tri tip by following this simple guide. Why not invite your family over for a barbeque?

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