Tri-tip is a flavorful triangular cut of beef cut from the bottom sirloin that is super popular in California for its rich, beefy flavor. While tri-tip is traditionally grilled or smoked, this sous vide version version tenderizes it to succulent perfection unlike other preparations, and uses just 4 ingredients. Add some herbs to infuse the meat while it cooks for 3 to 6-hours in the water bath, followed by a quick sear to develop the most tender texture and amazing flavor.
Sous vide cooking removes the guesswork of traditional cooking methods for incredibly easy, foolproof tri-tip. The precise temperature control essentially “cheats” the system, eliminating overcooking. The meat cooks evenly edge-to-edge, so when sliced, you’re assured the perfect temperature for juicy medium-rare doneness every time. If you can seal a bag, you can make better than restaurant-quality tri-tip easily at home with ease.
Why You'll Love It
- Incredibly tender and flavorful
- So easy to make and almost completely hands-off
- Meal prep friendly - make it ahead and enjoy it when you want it
- Great for entertaining
- You choose the doneness
- Perfect edge-to-edge doneness
What You'll Need
Times & Temps
Once it's up to temperature in about 2 hours, depending on the thickness of the meat, it only gets more tender, and not more "done." While it is technically "cooked" in just 2 hours, a cut like tri-tip benefits from about 5 hours in the water bath at 133° F, but really doesn't need any longer.
Water Bath Temperature: 131-134°F (55-56°C) for medium rare recommended. Learn more about additional steak temperatures.
Cook time: 2 to 6 hours (I prefer 5 hours)
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Tips for The Best Results
- Salt ahead of time (dry brine) at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours before cooking for maximum flavor.
- Slice the tri-tip across the grain for maximum tenderness.
- After the tri-tip is cooked sous vide, you can chill it and refrigerate it right in the bag for up to 5 days, or even freeze it to warm up and sear when you are ready.
- Skip adding butter to the sous vide bag, as it will draw flavor away from the beef.
Tri-tip pairs perfectly with traditional barbecue sides like baked beans, grilled broccolini, or a fresh arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette to brighten everything up. Chimichurri sauce is excellent for drizzling over the steak, doubling down on herb flavor while cutting through the rich meat. Buttery sous vide potatoes and garlic green beans utilize the water bath for easy vegetable sides. Get more delicious veggie side dish ideas.
Sous Vide Tri-Tip Recipe
- 1 tri-tip steak (2-5 lbs)
- kosher salt
- herbs such as rosemary and thyme springs
- ground black pepper
- avocado oil tallow, etc for searing
- Prep. Trim excess fat if necessary (often isn't needed), drizzle with a little oil and season generously with kosher salt on all sides. Add herbs to both sides of the steak in the bag.
- Preheat the water bath to 131-134°F (55-56°C) for medium-rare.
- Vacuum seal the steak or use the water displacement method with a ziplock freezer bag, removing as much air from the bag as possible for maximum contact with the water.
- Cook sous vide. Place the vacuum-sealed tri-tip in the water bath and cook sous vide for 3 to 6 hours. The longer it cooks, the more tender it will get.
- Remove from the water bath and cool slightly on the counter. (at this point, you can either sear to serve, refrigerate for up to a week or freeze to use later)
- Remove the tri-tip from the bag, discard the liquid and pat both sides of the steak dry with paper towels. Season with some black pepper (and additional salt if desired) and any desired seasonings (be aware some can burn during the sear).
- Sear. Preheat a heavy-bottom skillet over high heat with your range exhaust fan on high, or a grill until it starts to smoke. If using a skillet, add 1 tablespoon of avocado oil, grapeseed oil, beef tallow, or other high smoke point oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Sear each side for about 60 to 90 seconds per side, until browned.
- There's no need to rest the meat, just slice against the grain into ¼" slices (or the desired thickness and serve with a sprinkle of finishing salt and your favorite sides.
- For maximum flavor, season the tri-tip at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours prior to cooking.