This reverse seared tri tip recipe flips the way you traditionally cook a steak by searing it at the end after a longer low and slow cooking process. The reverse sear locks in flavor, creates a wonderful crispy crust and results in a tender, juicy steak that’s unbeatable!
Tri tip has become one of my favorite cuts of beef lately. They’re tender and juicy (if cooked properly!) and very similar to flank steak or skirt steak, two other personal favorites.
Once it’s been cooked and sliced, tri tip is wonderful as the main course with some vegetables and a starch or lends itself well to things like steak bowls, nachos (you could definitely use it in carne asada nachos), tacos and fajitas (swap it out for sirloin in these steak and shrimp fajitas).
Like brisket, tri tip is also commonly smoked and served in BBQ dishes.
To be honest, I’ll eat it any which way but my absolute favorite way to prepare this cut of meat is by reverse searing and enjoying it as a steak.
A reverse sear tri tip is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of searing the meat first like you normally do when grilling or cooking in the oven, the steak is cooked low and slow to start and then seared at the end to lock in the flavor and juices.
It takes a little longer than simply throwing the steak on the grill but it’s worth the extra 30 minutes or so if you have the time.
HOW TO REVERSE SEAR TRI TIP
The theory behind reverse searing meat is that it’s cooked low and slow first then seared on a high heat at the end of cooking to lock in the juices.
This approach helps tenderize the meat more than quickly cooking at a high temperature the whole time would.
To reverse sear tri tip, first make sure the steak is at room temperature.
Season liberally with good quality salt (kosher salt or sea salt are best) and place the meat on a rack situated on top of a heavy duty baking sheet.
Transfer the tri tip into an oven preheated to 250°F.
Cooking time will vary greatly depending on how big and thick the tri tip is so you’ll need an instant read digital thermometer for best results.
Cook the steak until the internal temperature is 10-15°F below the desired doneness.
If you like a medium-rare steak as the pictures show, this would be 110°F-115°F. See the note section in the recipe card below for more details.
This allows the steak room to cook while it’s being seared without overcooking.
Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat to the point where it’s almost but not quite smoking.
Once hot, add butter (or ghee), smashed garlic cloves and a few rosemary sprigs.
Place the steak into the skillet and sear for 1-2 minutes until golden and crispy. As the tri tip sears, spoon the butter mixture over top of the steak to really deepen the flavor.
Flip the steak over, repeat on the other side.
Once seared on both sides, transfer the tri tip to a cutting board. Tent loosely with foil and let the steak rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing allowing the juices to redistribute.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO REVERSE SEAR TRI TIP?
This is a common question but unfortunately not one with a straightforward answer.
The time it takes to reverse sear tri tip will vary greatly on the size of the steak or roast, the thickness and the appliance you choose for cooking.
Because of this, it’s imperative to cook according to internal temperature rather than by time. It’s the only way to guarantee a properly cooked tri tip in the end.
SLICING TRI TIP
Knowing how to cut tri tip is probably even more important than how to cook it. Tri tip can be tricky as there are two grains running in different directions within the piece of meat.
It must be sliced against the grain so knowing where the two grains intersect is important.
Once rested, tri tip should be cut against the grain, thinly and on the bias for the most tender results.
CAN I REVERSE SEAR TRI TIP ON THE GRILL?
Absolutely. The method of reverse searing can be done in the oven/on the stove, on the grill or in a smoker.
If you prefer to make a grilled or smoked reverse seared tri tip, you’ll want to grill the steak over an indirect low flame (about 200-250°F) and follow the same methodology of grilling until just under the desired doneness.
Once ready to reverse sear, remove the steak from the grill or smoker, crank up the flame on the grill until at least 450°F then sear for a few minutes on each side.
While the grilling/smoking method is great for warmer months, this oven/stove-top method is a tried and true all-year round recipe with tons of flavor thanks to the butter and herbs.
CHOOSING A TRI TIP ROAST
Tri tip is becoming more and more popular and now often found in regular grocery stores. Roasts are typically between 1.5-3 pounds and usually sold trimmed.
If your tri tip is not trimmed of the fat cap, however, you’ll need to do that before reverse searing.
Simply cut away most of the fat so that there’s 1/4″ thick (or less) fat remaining on the roast. If you choose to leave some fat on the roast, scoring it (much like this pan-seared duck recipe) before seasoning and cooking helps it render during the cooking process.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS REVERSE SEARED TRI TIP RECIPE
- The reverse sear method gives you much more control over the temperature of the meat resulting in less overcooked steaks.
- The low and slow cooking process results in a more uniform internal color of the finished steak.
- Great for larger cuts of beef to ensure consistency.
- Results in a wonderful crispy crust on the steak’s surface.
MORE TRI TIP RECIPES TO ENJOY:
Slow cooker tri tip is another way altogether to enjoy this cut of meat.
Cooked low and slow in the crockpot then shredded, it can be enjoyed in sandwiches with an au jus on the side or served atop your favorite mashed carb like mashed yuca or mashed rutabaga for an exceptionally cozy meal.
Making sous vide tri tip is another way to really tenderize the meat and lock in flavor.
Reverse Sear Tri Tip
This popular cut of beef is great for grilling, smoking or baking in the oven just make sure to lock in the flavor with this simple reverse sear method.
- 1 1/2 pound tri tip roast or steak, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon salt (kosher or sea salt is best)
- 2 tablespoons ghee or unsalted grass-fed butter
- 3 large cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Preheat oven to 250°F.
- Place tri tip on a rack atop a large baking sheet. Season generously with salt.
- Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and cook the tri tip until the internal temperature is 10-15°F below your desired doneness. *See notes section. You will need a reliable digital instant read thermometer for best results.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot/almost smoking.
- Add the butter or ghee and swirl it around the pan.
- Place the smashed garlic, rosemary sprigs and tri tip into the pan.
- Sear the steak for 1-2 minutes until golden brown and crispy on the bottom. Tilt the skillet while it cooks and spoon the butter, garlic and rosemary over top of the tri tip.
- Flip the steak over and sear on the other side for another 1-2 minutes continuing to spoon the butter mixture over top.
- Remove the tri tip from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for at least 5 minutes, preferably 10.
- Slice thinly against the grain on the bias and serve as desired.
For medium-rare steak as shown, remove the tri tip from the oven at 110-115°F.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 598Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 219mgSodium: 671mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 59g
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Tuesday 14th of March 2023
Thank you so much! The flavors are perfect and I can’t wait to try this recipe!
Monday 13th of March 2023
This is the BEST way to make a steak!
Tuesday 7th of March 2023
We love tri-tip and I usually grill it, but tried the reverse sear and it came out better than the grilled meat. Great tips to get this right.
Tuesday 7th of March 2023
My husband had a barbecue this weekend and followed all your instructions. It was a great success. Thanks
Tuesday 7th of March 2023
I hadn’t tried a reverse sear before this recipe - it came out just perfect! Thank you, I’ll definitely be trying this method again!