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What is tri tip
The tri-tip roast is a beef cut of meat from the bottom sirloin butt that is shaped like an odd triangle. It gained its notoriety in Santa Maria, California.
This cut doesn’t have a lot of marbling like a ribeye, but it is still quite tender and is great smoked or grilled.
You can grill or smoke the triangle roast whole and slice it into pieces, or you can slice the roast into steaks before grilling it.
Next time you’re at the meat counter, consider choosing the tri-tip cut to create a new delicious meal.
How to trim a tri tip
When you purchase a tri tip roast in the store, most of the connective tissue and fat should be removed, so it doesn’t require a lot of trimming.
Occasionally though, I’ll get a tri tip with a little fat or silver skin. To remove it, insert the tip of your knife under the layer of fat and slide it down the meat. Be sure to trim both sides, if needed.
How to cook tri tip on a gas grill
This how-to will provide instructions for grilling a tri tip on a gas grill. Check out my other article to learn to cook a Santa Maria-style tri-tip on a charcoal grill.
This tri tip will be cooked using the reverse sear method, which means you’ll start by cooking it over indirect heat. Then, just before it has reached the desired level of doneness, you’ll move it over the direct heat to sear.
PRO TIP: To set your propane grill up with an indirect heat zone, turn one burner on to medium and leave the other burner(s) off. Close the lid and monitor the thermometer. You want it to read 350F degrees. If it’s too low, turn the burner up. If it’s too high, turn the burner down.
- STEP ONE: After trimming your tri tip, season both sides with a couple pinches of kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper. Then, add a thin layer of brisket rub or tri tip seasoning to both sides. Let the roast rest on the counter at room temperature while you preheat the grill to 350F degrees with an indirect heat zone.
- STEP TWO: Once your grill has reached 350F degrees, place the seasoned tri tip on the grill over the indirect heat, which is the area of the grill where the burner is turned off. Close the lid and let it cook to an internal temperature of around 100F degrees. This will take around 30 minutes.
- STEP THREE: As the tri tip starts to cook, the color will change and a subtle crust will start forming on the outside of the meat. Once it reaches an internal temperature of 100F degrees, move it over direct heat to the grill grate where the burner is turned on.
- STEP FOUR: Cook it for 5-7 minutes per side, flipping once.
- STEP FIVE: Once the internal temperature reaches about 130F degrees, or your desired temperature, remove it from the grill. Place it on a sheet pan and cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes. The final temperature will rise slightly as it rests.
How to slice a tri tip
Once it has rested, you can slice the tri tip. For the most tender bite, it’s important to slice the meat against the grain.
Look at the picture below, you should be able to see the grain or cracks in the meat (identified with the thick arrows). They travel in different directions for this triangular cut of beef.
You want your slices to go in the opposite direction than those thick arrows.
Using this example, I would start slicing the right side. Then, once I got to the middle, I would slice the left side.
How to serve grilled tri tip
Grilled tri tip is great for lunch or dinner. It’s delicious with a simple drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt. Or you can dress it with chimichurri, which is a blend of fresh herbs, garlic, vinegar and olive oil. I really enjoy the chimichurri recipe from Girl Carnivore.
You can store leftover tri tip sliced or unsliced. Just place it in an airtight container. You can keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Unfortunately, when you reheat tri tip in the microwave, toaster oven or skillet, it will continue to cook, which is why I really enjoy eating it cold or working it into recipes like my Champion Chili Recipe with Smoked Tri-Tip.
You can also layer thin slices on a hoagie roll with horseradish sauce or use chunks or strips in tacos.
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Frequently Asked Questions
You can reheat tri tip in the microwave for 60-90 seconds. You can also place it on a small sheet pan and place it in a 300F-degree oven. Or, you can place a skillet over medium heat on the stove and add the slices in a single layer.
How well a steak is cooked comes down to personal preference. The best way to tell if a tri tip is cooked to your desired level of doneness is to insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the meat from the side. If you cook it to 130-135F degrees, it will be medium rare.
Whether you smoke or grill a tri tip depends on if you want the meat to have a smoky flavor to it. If you’d like to add smoke to this recipe, which is cooked on a gas grill, use a Foil Pouch with wood chips. Hickory or oak chips are great with tri tip.
If you grill a tri tip at around 350F degrees using the reverse sear method, it will take about 45 minutes to cook to medium rare; 30 minutes over indirect heat and 10-15 minutes over direct heat. Your cook time will fluctuate, depending on how often you open the lid open.
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Grilled Tri Tip on a Gas Grill
- 1 tri tip roast
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp Christie Vanover's Brisket Rub
- Trim: If the meat has any silver skin or excess fat, use a filet knife to remove it (see instructions above).
- Season: Sprinkle salt, pepper and brisket rub* on both sides.
- Heat Grill: Turn one of the gas grill burners on and leave the other burner(s) off. Close the lid and adjust the burner level until the grill thermometer reads around 350F degrees.
- Grill: Place the tri tip on the grill grate over indirect heat, which is the burner that's turned off. Close the lid. Grill to an internal temperature of 100F degrees, which will take around 30 minutes.
- Sear: Move the tri tip to the direct heat side of the grill, which is the side with the burner turned on. Grill for about 5-7 minutes per side to an internal temperature of 130F degrees.
- Rest: Remove from the grill. Cover loosely with foil. Let rest for 15 minutes. Slice against the grain (see instructions above).
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.