Tri-Tip, it’s what’s for dinner! #NonDairyCarrie Project Post #4


What are you making for dinner this weekend? I am really looking forward to trying out these tips. Get it? Tips? Tri-Tips… I slay me! Tri-tip is a somewhat foreign beef cut to us Midwestern types. Once you get off the “What is Tri-tip? How do I cook a Tri-Tip” braintrain, you’ll love adding this beef cut to your menu rotation.

Lisa Fink is another person that I have never met in real life. In fact before the #NonDairyCarrie Project I had no idea who she was. However thanks to great people in the #AgChat Community embracing my idea and sharing it with friends I was introduced to Lisa. I am loving her series on cocktails and mocktails for Christmas! Be sure to check out her blog for some great recipes! 


Hello! I am Lisa Storm Fink. I post my favorite recipes over at Fink_Girl’s Cookbook. I grew up in Northern Illinois, came to college at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign – and never left! I now live in Philo, IL with my two daughters, Kelsey and Kaitlyn. I work with teachers through the National Council of Teachers of English and I teach at my alma mater, the University of Illinois.

I have always loved food – eating it, cooking it, baking it, even shopping for it! Cooking and baking was a huge part of growing up for me. When I was old enough to join 4H, I knew that I had to take foods for my projects. I was able to take Microwave Cooking the very first year it was offered! I was selected to take several food projects to the Illinois State Fair and I learned there how to keep a pie crust protected for a five hour drive. I won a small scholarship for college from the Lamb Producers by competing in a live cooking demonstration when I was a senior in high school. When knew I was going to attend the University of Illinois, living at 4H House was the obvious choice for me. Here we, all 55 of us, helped with cooking and cleaning. I still make some of my favorite recipes from the 4H House Cookbook like Texas Sheet Cake and Friendship Tea. My love of all things food has passed on to my daughters. They have both participated in numerous projects related to food in their 4H Club. My youngest was also part of a Cooking SPIN Club this summer. She now wants to tackle cake decorating.

Speaking of food, like many of you, we are getting ready to host our family holiday celebration. While planning the menu, we threw around many different options: appetizers and desserts; soups and salads; big, traditional dinner. We went with the big traditional dinner. My husband likes to experiment with different cuts of meat and knew that he wanted to do something with beef. He settled on a tri-tip. What is that? I wasn’t sure myself! When I was asked to be part of the The #NonDairyCarrie Project, I knew exactly what I was going to write about.

According to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a tri-tip is a roast is a boneless cut from the bottom sirloin. It can be used as a roast or it can be cut into steaks. The tri-tip roast is also known as the “Triangle Roast” as it is a triangular-shaped cut. This cut of meat was popular in California in the 1950s and so it’s also sometimes called the “California Cut”. The tri-tip has a nice marbling and so it is very tender and flavorful. How do you cook a tri-tip? It’s perfect for roasting, a combination of stove-top and oven cooking, or grilling. We have ordered our tri-tip from the butcher shop buy I was also able to get one at Sam’s Club – and for cheaper than the butcher too! They typically come in 3-4 pound roasts.

Tri-Tip Recipe

Tri-tip waiting for your ideas &recipes! It’s not just for Californians any more!

Here are some recipes for the tri-tip, keep in mind that this is a lower fat cut and can overcook quickly!

Roasting Tri-Tip

  1. Place the tri-tip roast, fat side up, in a shallow roasting pan with rack.
  2. Season the roast with the herbs and spices of your choosing.
  3. Place the roast, uncovered, in a preheated 425 degree Fahrenheit oven.
  4. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes for rare meat and 40 to 45 minutes for medium.
    Hint: Overcooking a tri-tip roast can cause it to be dry and tough, cooking the roast to rare or medium insures a juicy, tender roast.
  5. Remove the roast from the oven and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Allow the roast to rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest portion of the roast. Serve when the roast reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit for rare or 160 for medium.

Combination Cooking a Tri-Tip

  1. An hour before cooking, remove the tri -tip roast from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and set the rack to the lower middle position.
  3. Take a heavy bottomed roasting pan or cast iron skillet, set on stove top and heat the pan or skillet to medium-high. Once the pan is hot sear the roast on all sides 1½-2 minutes per side for about 6-8 minutes total time.
  4. Carefully remove the roast, set a wire rack in center of the roasting pan and place roast fat side up on the rack.
  5. Season.
    Hint: Cloves of garlic may be used cut in half lengthwise and with a small knife cut small slits into the top of the tri tip roast and insert the garlic clove halves into the roast.
  6. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook, uncovered until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast registers 130-140 degrees. This will take about 1-2 hours depending on size and shape. Check the temperature 45 minutes to 1 hour after entering the oven.
  7. Remove the tri-tip roast from oven and tent with foil. Let it rest at least 15-20 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute themselves evenly throughout the roast.
  8. Cut across the grain into thin slices.

We grill ours after it crusting it using Paula Deen’s House Seasoning.

Grilling a Tri-Tip

  1. Preheat the grill. If using a gas grill, turn it on high.
  2. Place the roast on the grill over a high fire (or high heat) for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn and cook 5 more minutes.
  4. Reduce the fire to a medium-low fire or reduce the temperature to medium-low.
  5.  Close the grill cover and let cook for 10 minutes.
  6. After 10 minutes, turn over the roast.
  7. Close the cover and cook for 10 more minutes.
    Hint: My husband says this whole process lasts as long as two Jack and Diet Cokes.
  8. Remove the roast and let it sit for 5 minutes before carving.

I’d love to know what you think or how you cook your tri-tip or any other food! You can see my other recipes at, by email at, or on Twitter @fink_girl.

Thanks again to Dairy Carrie for this opportunity!


Again, I am so incredibly thankful for everyone who has volunteered to guest post. Thank you Lisa for taking the time to share. I am tickled at all the different directions this is going. From farm stories to food stories to recipes we all have a connection to the land where farmers produce our food. 

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5 Comments on Tri-Tip, it’s what’s for dinner! #NonDairyCarrie Project Post #4

  1. Eric Danzeisen
    December 15, 2011 at 6:53 am (8 years ago)

    I Love Tri-Tip! And Easy too! Being from Cali it was normal at any house or function growing up. I grill it 20 min and 20 min. Your best tip is to make sure you cut into slices against the grain! Cutting it the wrong way can make it a bad chewy piece of meat, but cutting it against the grain make it easy to chew and tastier in my opinion! Thanks for posting Lisa!

    • Lisa Fink
      December 15, 2011 at 9:58 am (8 years ago)

      You are exactly right about cutting it correctly. Thanks for the feedback 🙂

  2. Robi
    December 20, 2011 at 8:10 pm (8 years ago)

    Yum! Made some tonight. I grilled it but with a nice easy homemade rub – 1 Tsp garlic powder and 1 Tsp brown sugar with 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper and 1/4 each of salt and pepper. I served it over a ranch salad.