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A tri tip steak comes from the bottom sirloin. It is a triangular-shaped steak with a well-marble network that renders it flavorful. Pitmasters consider it a perfect choice for grilling as it cooks evenly and fast. However, it would help to understand how to cut a tri tip well for a delicious meal.

To cut the tri tip steak well, you must understand the meat grain. The meat grain refers to the direction of the muscle fibers in the meat. So, to make the meat soft and easy to chew, you need to cut it against the grain for shorter and tender pieces of meat.

The good thing about cutting the tri tip steak is that the meat’s grain is visible, so you are the one to decide how you want to cut it. Read on for more insights about cutting the tri tip for a delicious and tender meal.

cut a tri tip

How To Cut Tri Tip

The best way to cut the tri tip steak is to cut it against the grain. But why is this important? When you cut the tri tip against the grain, you are simply reducing the more rigid fibers of the meat so that you do not have to spend a lot of effort chewing the meat.

Moreover, cutting against the grain plays a significant role in helping to retain the juices of the meat, making it even more delicious. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to cut the tri tip steak against the grain.

  1. If your tri tip steak has a thick layer of fat, you need to start by trimming off the excess fat. This is important as it will promote evenly cooking of the steak while preventing the fat from making it greasy.
  2. Lay the steak on a cutting board and ensure that the top point is closest to you, allowing easy and clean cuts.
  3. Cut the steak into two parts along the seam to the other hand to get more manageable pieces to work on.
  4. Take one half of the two and identify the grain of the meat so that you can align it in such a way that you will easily cut it in the right way.
  5. After identifying the grain of the meat, start cutting the meat from the uncut end and work your way across the grain until you are done.
  6. Take the other half and repeat the same process until you cut every piece against the meat’s grain.

The key point is to take some time to study and analyze the grain of the tri tip steak before you start cutting. Once you have a good understanding of the grain of the meat, there is no way you are going to make a mistake in slicing the meat. Also, the thickness of the meat depends on your preference and how you want to serve the meat.

How To Slice Tri Tip

Slicing the tri tip steak is never a complex task as long as you understand the grain of the meat. To perfectly slice your tri tip steak, here are the essentials to bear in mind.

Identify The Direction Of The Grain

If you fail to identify the grain of the meat correctly, the chances are that you will get it wrong. Most people find it hard to slice the tri tip steak because they cannot correctly identify the grain of the meat.

To identify the meat’s grain, you must trim the fat cap off the tri tip. Typically, the grain starts on the outer corner before spreading like a fan, and this should not be hard for you to see, even if you are not a grilling expert.

Start At Point End

When slicing your tri tip steak, one of the essentials you need to remember is that you must slice against the grain to achieve the desired tenderness. Starting at the pointed end and slicing until you reach the inner corner will quickly help you achieve this. Further, keeping your slices about ¼” thick is vital as this gives you a more tender cut.

Slice The Remaining Part

Once you are done slicing the point part, it is time to move to the other part and slice it against the grain. Remember that the grain of the meat can change direction. Therefore ensure that you slice against the grain by being cautious throughout the process to notice any slight changes.

How To Cut A Tri Tip Steak – Cooked

So, how do you cut a tri tip steak after it is cooked to the level of doneness? The concept is still the same; you must remember to cut against the grain to make it juicier and tender. Here are some of the essential tips to follow when looking to cut cooked tri tip steak correctly.

  • Remove the cooked tri tip steak from the grill and let it rest for about 5 five minutes. Allowing the steak to rest for five minutes is necessary as it allows it to reabsorb most of its juices.
  • The next step is to locate the grain of the meat. Start by locating where the two grains of meat intersect and cut it vertically, dividing the tri tip steak into two sections.
  • Inspect the grain of each of the two pieces before you start slicing against the grain
  • For maximum tenderness, consider cutting the steak into tiny slices.

How To Cut A Tri Tip Roast

While it is possible to cut the tri tip while raw, depending on your cooking method, many people find it easier to cut it after roasting. One advantage of letting the whole steak cook before cutting it is that it helps retain most of its juices.

As we have stated before, the first secret to correctly cutting a tri tip steak, whether roasted or raw, is identifying the meat’s grain. When cutting roasted tri tip, you need to divide it into two parts with the point as one of the parts. Identify the grain of the meat and start slicing it against the grain.

In summary, to correctly cut the roasted tri tip steak, you need to do the following;

  • Find the center point where the grains of the meat meet
  • Cut the steak in half vertically at the point where the two grains meet
  • Slice each half against the grain of the meat

Cut Tri Tip Against The Grain

Pitmasters will always tell you that cutting the tri tip steak is necessary against the grain. But why is it essential to cut the steak against the grain?

Cutting against the grain is necessary because it significantly ensures the end product is tender. Besides cutting the tri tip steak against the grain, you also need to ensure that the slices are tiny to eliminate any possibility of making it chewy.

tri tip smoke

Why is My Tri Tip Tough?

The tri tip steak is one of the most delicious cuts of beef. However, there are some instances where you might realize that the steak is quite tough. There could only be a few explanations for this phenomenon.

First, it could be because you did not cook the tri tip well enough to soften it. Failing to cook the trip steak well happens because the cut is thick and hence requires a long duration to cook it well. Cut the steak into thin slices to ensure that it cooks well and fast enough.

The second explanation is that you may not have stored or refrigerated the steak well before cooking. If the meat is warm when cooking, then it is likely that you will find it tough. Therefore it is prudent to refrigerate the steak before cooking.

Lastly, if you overcook the tri tip steak, it is likely to be tough. For this reason, always ensure that you have a meat thermometer to help you monitor the temperature of the steak when cooking it.


The best way to cut the tri tip steak is against the meat’s grain. With this knowledge, nothing should make it hard to slice the steak correctly. Besides slicing the steak correctly, ensure that you cook it well to achieve the desired tenderness and juiciness.