Tri Tip

Enjoyed a grilled Tri Tip at friends home, but felt I could make it better cooking sous vide. Has anyone cooked this cut of meat? And what was your experience?

Rita, was it too chewy?

Tri-Tip is flavourful, moist, and very tender when cooked at 131F for 12 hours. Finish it in a hot pan or on the grill.

Tri-Tip Sous Vide is OUTSTANDING! Here’s my recipe and slicing directions.

Tim’s Sous Vide Tri-Tip recipe:

I use a typical size (2-2.5 lbs) Tri-Tip from Costco.

BBQ University rub: - Classic Santa Maria spice combo

1/2 tbl each salt and pepper
1 tbl garlic powder
1 tsp oregano (dried)
1 tsp thyme (dried)

Combine spices in bowl and stir; apply to TT and rub all over the meat. Insert meat into bag. Seal the bag using the water immersion technique or a vacuum sealer. Let sit in refrigerator for 60 mins.

Place in the water bath at 131F and set the timer for 5-6 hours. (I use 5 hours and it comes out GREAT) - This produces classic medium rare result.


DRY meat off well after removing from bag

Sear 50 secs /side on screaming HOT cast iron pan with a little avocado oil

After resting for a few minutes, cut the tri-tip in two pieces, because each section has a different grain pattern, to make slicing each section (Cross-Grain) easier. By cutting the meat cross-grain you eliminate a chewy result.

Here’s a YouTube video on how to cut the tri-tip in two for best results

Good luck and happy dining!

Not really too chewy, but I think it could have been less so, if cooked sous vide. I’m going to purchase one and give it a try. Thanks for your reply!

Thanks for the tips and the You Tube link! I’m anxious to try this!


I have done many SV cooks with tri-tip. A favorite temp/time combo:

134 degrees F for 24 hours.

Season the tri tip as your palette desires. I have done this for myself and for large groups.


Mr. Timmy, Are Santa Maria tri-tips typically smoked? That’s how I’ve done them and enjoyed them. Do you like the SV flavor better than the smoked? I’m wondering if I couldn’t smoke for 2 hours and SV for the final 3 or should I do that in reverse? Anyone have thoughts? Guess I can experiment! Thanks for the recipe.

I love tri-tip Sous vide for a few hours (seasoned with Santa Maria seasoning) and then put on my Big Green Egg to finish. If I’m not mistaken I’ve done 130 for 2 hours in Sous vide and then finished with some hickory in the egg for less than an hour low and slow at 275-ish. I probably should write this stuff down sometimes. I remember it being super tender and flavorful but not over cooked.

That’s awesome! Thank you for clarifying the order. Was thinking it my be too wet if I smoked first. Dry heat is probably good to finish. I’ll try that!

I like your thinking, Kbec.

It’s true my Sous Vide Tri-Tip recipe doesn’t replicate the original Santa Maria Tri-Tip result, even though it’s yummy to me.

I’m in a 2nd floor apartment and the fire marshal restricts charcoal or wood burning grills / smokers to ground floor apartments in multi unit housing. My gas grill doesn’t do it for me on Tri-Tip, probably since I don’t practice enough since I discovered Sous Vide.

The original classic Santa Maria method grills the Tri-Tip over red oak, covered, to gain that coveted red layer just below the crust while adding a tasty smoke flavor.

Steven Raichlen, the grill and smoker authority, as part of his reverse sear process, does an initial smoke of the Tri-Tip at lower temp (225F? for :45 to :60) before raising the temp (400F) and searing to finish. – I suppose you could pre-smoke and then Sous Vide. Might be tres tasty.

Maybe I’ll add a few drops of liquid smoke (actual smoke) to my next Tri-Tip Sous Vide cook and see if I like the result.

I look fwd to your pre-smoke (reverse searing) experience. Let us know how it comes out!

Tim, I would love to try your recipe, but forgive me, I don’t like any recipe that starts out with “take a typical size…” I am many miles from the nearest Costco and wouldn’t know a typical size Tri-Tip from a typical size chuck roast. Would you be able to provide the weight, at least in a range.

Sorry. 2 to 2 1/2 lbs, usually on the higher side.

Hope you do it this weekend. What joy! :wink:


Thanks, Tim!

You’re welcome. – You guys been talking about Tri-Tip so much I had to snag a package (2 each) at my local Costco today.

Here’s a pic of the label. (assuming my pic attachment skills are working)

If my feed store math is correct each is about 2.415 lbs. So not far off the 2.5 lb estimate.


for a Santa Maria-like (not exactly) tri-tip definitely sous vide as recommended above. I think I did 5 hrs at about 135, dried it, oiled it then seasoned heavily with Montreal steak seasoning (mostly salt/pepper/garlic), then grilled couple minutes each side and it was freakin’ inhaled by my guests. Be sure to cut across the grain AND note there are two muscles running different directions when doing so. Enjoy!

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Yep, as of Monday night the recipe still works. And leftovers for me too! :yum:


I cook tri-tip steaks (about 150g, 2.5 inches all around - almost a cube of meat) for 2 hours at 51.5-52.5 °C, then sear with avocado oil. It is tender, while also having a nice chewiness without being overly tough.

I just picked up a 2 3/4 lb. tri-tip from Winco for Sunday dinner tomorrow. Thanks for the “tri” tips! I have your setup - smoker, sous vide, and grill grates, so will work on making mine look as good as yours. Great job! This will be my first tri-tip Q-vide.