How To Cut Tri Tip is reader supported. We may earn a small commission from purchases made through links on this site at no extra cost to you. This helps us to keep providing great free content for people to enjoy.

Tri tip has become a popular cut of beef over the past few years. While it was once a niche piece of meat only available in places that sold specialty steak, you can now purchase it from the local grocery store or butcher shop.

There is a good reason for this: it is a delicious and tender piece of meat. If it has been cut right, then it will enhance any dish with its look and flavor.

It is quite a thick piece of beef however, and often people are not quite sure how to cut it correctly to make the most of this part of the cow. A sure fire way to cut tri tip is to cut it against the grain.


What Is Tri Tip?

Tri tip is easily recognizable due to its triangular shape. It is taken from the bottom sirloin which is found at the rear side of the cow.

It often weighs up to 5 pounds, but this all depends on the size of the cow it was taken from. It can also measure to around 3 inches in thickness. This makes it a delicious piece of beef to serve as smaller slices.

You may find that the tri tip you want to buy has a fat cap on it. More often than not, this is trimmed away before being put out for sale, but if it is not, you can usually ask a butcher to trim it for you – or you can do it yourself.

No doubt that over time you will be able to recognize a tri tip due to its unique triangular shape.

What’s The Best Way To Cut Tri Tip?

More often than not, as an at-home chef, we do not often think about the way we cut meat. It is normally a – cut it into slices and that will do – sort of thing. Well, we hear ya.

However, while that is okay for some meats, when it comes to tri tip, you will want to cut it correctly to make the most of this wonderful cut of beef. Making sure to cut it correctly will actually add to its tenderness.

Often, there are two different grains on a tri tip steak. They connect, yet are perpendicular towards one another. This can make the next step a little tricky because you will need to find the point where the grain lines meet.

So, let’s take a look at a step-by-step guide on how to cut tri tip steak.

Step-By-Step: Cutting Tri Tip

  • Firstly, make sure the tri tip has been made the way you want it to be. It can be smoked, grilled or cooked. Once it is ready, place it on a cutting board.
  • You need to look carefully at the tri tip to see where the two different grains are. Often you will find that the grains meet at a 45 degree angle. Once you have found this connection, cut the tri tip into two pieces. This will separate the two grains.
  • For each piece, take a look at which way the grain is facing, and then put your knife perpendicular to the grains and cut the tri tip into smaller slices ready to eat.

How To Cut Tri Tip

What Is Meat Grain?

To really understand meat grain, you have to know what it is. Fortunately, it is actually really simple. All grain means is the direction of which the muscle fibers have grown when the animal was alive.

Often you may find that there are different grain directions. This is because the muscles have their own purpose, and this can affect the direction of growth and how the grain looks.

This also means that cows will often have two different grains within a tri tip steak, because they were a part of muscles that worked alongside each other with their own strengths and targets.

Also, you may find that no cut of tri tip is identical to each other.

Once you have a tri tip steak ready to eat, take a moment to have a look at the two different grains on it. You will soon learn where the grains meet and find it easier to cut every time.

Why Is Tri Tip Cut Against The Grain?

When it comes to any slice of beef, you will want to cut against the grain. Doing so will allow the meat to be extra tender and delicious. This not only makes it more tasty, but it may even be easier to eat.

Once you work against those different fibers, you will find that the meat is more delicate and juicy. Doing the opposite will cause the beef to appear tougher and, well, just not as nice.

Where Did Tri Tip Come From?

In the 1950s, a man named Bob Schultz worked at Safeway, a supermarket in Santa Maria, California.

During this time he was the manager, and all of a sudden there was an influx of tri tip.

It was often a cut of the beef that was ground and put into hamburgers, so it was fairly unknown to the majority of people.

To make use of this steak, he seasoned it with some garlic, pepper and salt, and placed it on a rotisserie.

It became such a popular cut of beef that he began to market it as such, and it was soon known as the tri tip.

To this day it is still an enjoyed cut of beef that when cut correctly is tender and delicious.

Final Thoughts

While tri tip is best served cut against the grain, you will want to do this with all pieces of beef. You will find that the beef is much easier to eat and chew, and the overall finish will be tender and juicy.

Leave a Comment