Perfect Whole Beef Tri-Tip in the Oven

by Clara P. Triane, M.D. and Sol Ta Triane


       Tri-tip is a piece from the bottom sirloin which is highly prized in the western United States. When done right, you get a combination of well-done and more rare, bloody tastes. Tri-tip should be juicy, so we’re going to cook it ‘low and slow’ and finish by broiling the fat cap to a lovely brown. You also can try this same recipe with pretty much any small beef roasts that are two or three inches thick. 
       When you purchase tri-tips make sure they are untrimmed and fatty. Untrimmed means the delicious, nutritious fat has not been removed on the one side. You will need about one tri-tip for every two servings for serious meat-eaters. For example, three tri-tips will serve six people.
       This recipe is for roasting a whole tri-tip in the oven, whether small or large. Like all meats, the tri-tips should be salted and kept in the refrigerator on wire racks, then removed at least two hours before cooking. 
       Tri-tips can be cooked on a raised wire rack over a large drip pan or a very large frying pan. Dry the meat thoroughly with a cotton or paper towel. Alternatively, you can put it directly on the bottom of a large frying pan or casserole dish. The former style of recipe using a wire rack will give you a drier crust.
       Score the fat on the fatty side of the tri-tip with a very sharp knife about 1/8-inch deep. Score the fat cap from two directions to form a cross-hatch pattern. We like to take 1/2 teaspoon of coarse pink salt and then stick it into the cross-hatches. Additionally, salt over the entire fat cap with fine salt, to taste. 
       Place the meat on a wire rack over an oven-proof pan with the fat side up. Put 1 1/2 cups water in the bottom of the pan. This will allow you to make broth from the meat drippings and keep the pan drippings from burning.
       We are going to do a reverse sear, which takes longer but gives a fantastic, reliable result. 
       Place the meat in a 250° oven for 80-90 minutes depending on the size of the tri-tip. This should give a medium-rare result. The thin tips of the tri-tip will be more well-done—that is a wonderful thing about tri-tip—that you get varied doneness. 
       Finally, make sure the oven rack is adjusted so the roast is up near the broiler but not touching. When the cooking time is complete, broil at 350° for six minutes with the door of the oven half open.
       Remove the meat to a cutting board, and let the tri-tip sit for five minutes.
       Slice the meat with a sharp knife, against the grain, into 1/4-inch thick pieces or as you like.
       Heat the drippings in the pan on top of the stove. Add water if needed, and stir with a wooden spoon. Place the sliced tri-tip onto plates, dump the broth on top and serve. 
       (Carnivores need to eat a lot of meat. You might want to cook two or even three tri-tips at a time, which should work fine. Just be sure to add about 10-20 minutes to your cooking time.)


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Lean Side of an Uncooked, Refrigerator-Aged Beef Tri-Tip

Lean Side of an Uncooked, Refrigerator-Aged Beef Tri-Tip

Tri-Tip Broiled on the Fat Side Only, Resting

Tri-Tip Broiled on the Fat Side Only, Resting

Cutting Cross-Hatches Prior to Cooking

Cutting Cross Hatches Prior to Cooking

Sliced Tri-Tip with Pan Juices, Ready to Eat

Sliced Tri-Tip with Pan Juices, Ready to Eat

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