This juicy and flavorful tri-tip roast is coated in a mixture of spices and then cooked in the oven to a perfect medium rare.
It's an inexpensive cut that produces impressive results. The leftovers keep well for several days and can be enjoyed cold or reheated.
There's something about roasting a large piece of meat and carving it at the table. It makes for festive holiday dinners. Pork roast, ribeye roast, and tenderloin roast are big favorites. However, they are expensive.
I opt for cheaper cuts such as London broil and tri-tip roast for everyday meals. These cuts are not as tender but have a great beefy taste. When properly sliced against the grain, they are wonderfully flavorful!
Here's an overview of the ingredients needed to make this recipe. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below.
- Dry rub: You'll mix kosher salt, black pepper, and several spices to create a tasty dry rub that significantly enhances the flavor of the roast. I like to use garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper.
- Tri-tip roast: I get it at Costco or order it online at Wild Fork Foods. You can get two 2-pound roasts, cook them in the same pan, and get lots of tasty leftovers to last several days.
- Oil spray: This is only needed if the meat has been completely trimmed by the butcher and has no fat layer to keep it moist and juicy as it cooks.
The best way to vary this recipe is to experiment with different spices and herbs. Spices that I tried and liked include dried thyme and dried oregano. I sometimes add a teaspoon of either of them to the spice mixture.
Tri-Tip Roast Instructions
The detailed instructions for making this recipe are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of the steps:
Your first step is to mix salt, black pepper, and spices.
Rub the spice mixture all over the roast, massaging it in. Place the roast on a greased wire rack fitted into a rimmed roasting pan and insert an oven-safe meat thermometer into its thickest part.
Cook the roast briefly in a 500°F oven for 15 minutes. This is instead of sauteing it on the stovetop. It's much easier and achieves the same goal - browning the meat.
Turn the oven temperature down to 350°F and keep cooking the roast until the thermometer indicates it reaches 135°F for medium-rare or 145°F for medium. Let the meat rest for 20 minutes before slicing it.
It's best to cook this cut to medium rare or medium. This ensures a tender roast. It will be tough and chewy if you cook it to medium well.
The USDA says we should cook whole roasts to 145ºF with a three-minute rest time. This is medium doneness.
Since this is a fairly tough, fibrous cut of meat, you should cut it against the grain. Cutting against the grain means slicing it in a way that breaks the meat fibers, making chewing easier.
The challenge is that this cut has two parts, and the muscle fibers run in a different direction in each.
So you'll want to identify that direction before cooking, cut the roast into two parts, and slice each of them against the grain of that particular part.
This beef cut comes from the sirloin. The sirloin is separated by butchers into top sirloin and bottom sirloin.
The top sirloin can be cut into steaks. I use it in several recipes, including steak stir-fry, beef stroganoff, Korean beef, beef kabobs, beef and broccoli, steak salad, and steak fajitas.
The bottom sirloin gives us the tri-tip, named after its triangular shape. It's also called Santa Maria Steak. It has a rich, beefy flavor and marbling that helps keep it juicy.
While it's a flavorful cut, it's also fairly tough, with many muscle fibers running throughout the meat.
That's why I recommend cutting it across the grain. Slicing across the grain severs those fibers, making chewing easier.
It's important to let the meat rest for at least 20 minutes after pulling it out of the oven.
This allows the juices to redistribute and settle, preventing them from escaping the meat as you cut it (although some juices will escape, and you can pour them back on top of the roast after slicing).
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to four days. Reheat them in the microwave, covered, at 50% power.
Sometimes, I slice the leftovers into strips and add them cold to a salad like this arugula salad.
If you want to use the leftovers in sandwiches or lettuce wraps, slice them thinly against the grain. Otherwise, they will be too chewy.
More Beef Recipes
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- 1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or ½ tablespoon of any other salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 whole tri-tips about 2 pounds each
- Oil spray I use avocado oil spray
- In a small bowl, use a fork to mix the kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, ground cumin, and cayenne pepper.
- If it hasn’t been trimmed by the butcher, trim the silver skin from the bottom of the roasts.
- Rub the spice mixture all over the meat, pressing to ensure it adheres.
- Place the meat, fat side up, on a greased rack in a roasting pan and allow it to get to room temperature, about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 500°F. If the meat is completely trimmed of fat, lightly spray it with oil.
- Insert an oven-safe meat thermometer into the thickest part of one of the roasts and set the thermometer to 135°F (medium-rare).
- Place the roasts in the 500°F oven and cook them for 15 minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Keep roasting the meat until the thermometer registers 135°F. For 2-pound roasts, this should take roughly 20 minutes (10 minutes per pound). But the only way to know for sure is to use a meat thermometer.
- Remove the roasts from the oven. Loosely cover them with foil and allow them to rest for 20-30 minutes before carving and serving hem.
- When carving the meat, slice it against the grain, as shown in the video above. Since the meat fibers in tri-tip run in two different directions, you'll need to cut each roast in half at the center point and then slice each half across the grain.
- It's best to cook this cut to medium rare or medium. This ensures a tender roast. It will be tough and chewy if you cook it to medium well. The USDA says we should cook whole beef roasts to 145ºF with a three-minute rest time. This is medium doneness.
- You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to four days. Reheat them gently in the microwave, covered, at 50% power. Sometimes, I slice the leftovers into strips, leave them cold, and add them to a salad.