Cooking a perfect tri tip doesn’t have to be intimidating. With the right level of heat and timing, you can turn this reasonably priced cut of beef into an incredibly delicious dish your family and friends will love. In this blog post, we’ll show you how long to cook a tri tip in the oven in order to achieve that beautiful medium-rare finish they’d expect from high-end steakhouse entrées. We’ll also provide some tips for seasoning along the way – because nothing beats homemade flavor when it comes to fine cooking.
Choosing the Right Tri-Tip Cut
When selecting a tri-tip roast for oven roasting, you can choose between untrimmed and pre-trimmed options. Untrimmed roasts have more external fat, which bastes the meat during cooking. However, pre-trimmed tri-tip allows you to monitor cooking times more precisely. For optimal oven roasting, look for a trim, evenly shaped roast that is 1.5-2.5 pounds. Avoid cuts with large pockets of hard fat throughout. The meat should be bright red and firm with some marbling visible.
Preparation Tips for Oven Roasting
If starting with an untrimmed tri-tip, you’ll need to remove some of the thick external fat cap. Leave about 1/4 inch of fat to help keep the meat tender and juicy.
Pat the roast dry with paper towels. Then rub it all over with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper or your favorite spice rub. You can also score the fat cap in a diamond pattern which helps render the fat.
Allow the meat to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes up to overnight if time permits. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before roasting.
Step-by-Step Oven Roasting Method
- Preheat your oven to 425°F. Heat an oven-safe pan or skillet over high heat. When very hot, add just enough oil to coat the bottom and sear the tri-tip for 3-4 minutes per side.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 15-25 minutes for medium rare doneness, depending on thickness. Use an instant-read thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 135°F.
- For a 1.5 pound roast, plan on around 20 minutes total cooking time. For a 2 pound tri-tip, cook for around 25 minutes. Increase time by 5 minutes per pound from there.
- Flip the roast halfway during cooking for even coverage. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing against the grain.
More information about tri tip and how to cook them:
|2 lb (example)
|400°F (high heat)
|325°F (low heat)
Desired internal temperature
|Seared and roasted
|10-15 minutes (high heat)
|20-25 minutes (low heat)
|Total (2 lb, high heat)
|Total (2 lb, low heat)
|Fat cap thickness
|Affects cooking time
|Starting meat temperature
|Affects cooking time
|Affects cooking time
|Use a meat thermometer
|Ensure desired internal temperature
|Let the meat rest
|Redistributes juices and improves tenderness
|Adds flavor and moisture
It’s crucial to let the tri-tip rest after oven roasting before slicing or serving. This allows the juices to redistribute evenly throughout the meat.
Tent foil loosely over the roast while it rests to keep it warm. Resting for 10-15 minutes results in a juicier, more tender finished dish.
Slice the tri-tip across the grain in thin slices. Be sure to pour any accumulated juices from the resting over the sliced meat.
Pairings and Serving Suggestions
Tri-tip pairs well with robust seasonings and toppings. Consider serving with:
- Chimichurri or parsley sauce
- Horseradish cream
- Compound butter
- Demi-glace or beef jus
Delicious side dishes include:
- Roasted potatoes or root vegetables
- Sauteed greens like kale or broccoli rabe
- Roasted brussels sprouts
- Creamy polenta or grits
Cooking Multiple Roasts
If cooking more than one tri-tip at a time, you’ll need to adjust accordingly. Place the roasts on a large rimmed baking sheet spaced apart.
It may not be possible to fit more than two average sized tri-tips in one standard oven. In that case, utilize a second oven or cook in batches.
Add a couple minutes per pound to the cooking time when roasting multiple tri-tips. Check each with a meat thermometer for doneness.
Stagger the placement so you can remove each roast as it finishes cooking. Let rest as noted above.
Additional Guidance for Oven Roasting
Using an instant-read thermometer is the best way to test tri-tip for finished cooking temperature. Insert into the thickest part without touching bone.
If the exterior seems to be overbrowning before the center is cooked, tent foil loosely over the roast to slow down browning.
Don’t be afraid to cook tri-tip beyond medium-rare if you prefer more well-done meat. Follow thermometer guidelines.
Let the meat rest sufficiently after cooking – at least 10-15 minutes or juices will run out when sliced.
Health and Nutrition
Tri-tip is one of the leaner beef cuts, with around 2.5 grams of saturated fat per 3 ounce serving. It is an excellent source of protein, providing over 30 grams in a 6 ounce portion.
Tri-tip also contains iron, zinc, and B vitamins. While red meat was once maligned for cardiovascular health, current research indicates lean cuts like tri-tip can be part of a healthy diet.
To make this recipe even healthier, accompany with a green salad and roasted vegetables instead of starchy potato sides.
Perfect Beverage Pairings
Rich red wines that can stand up to the hearty flavor of beef pair wonderfully with tri-tip. For roast tri-tip, try these full-bodied red varietals:
- Cabernet Sauvignon
Beer is another excellent pairing. Choose a hoppy IPA or robust porter. For non-alcoholic options, brewed iced tea or ginger beer make flavorful companions.
Elevate with Marinades and Rubs
Consider using a marinade or spice rub to add another layer of flavor to roasted tri-tip.
- Soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, garlic, and ginger make an Asian-inspired marinade.
- For Mexican flavors, use lime juice, chili powder, cumin, and oregano.
- Rosemary, garlic, and red wine vinegars add a Tuscan flair.
You can also coat the roast with bold spices and herbs. Cracked peppercorns, chili powder, paprika and cumin are all excellent complements to beef.
After Cook Care for Leftovers
Let leftover roasted tri-tip cool to room temperature before storing. Refrigerate in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Reheat gently in the oven or by simmering in broth or sauce to keep it moist.
Sliced tri-tip also makes wonderful sandwiches and tacos. It can be a tasty topping for salads as well.
More Full Flavored Meaty Mains
If you love oven roasted tri-tip, try these other satisfying dishes:
- Herb Crusted Prime Rib with Au Jus
- Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
- Crispy Carnitas with Tomatillo Salsa
- Rosemary Garlic Crusted Leg of Lamb
- Country-style Pork Ribs with BBQ Sauce
Oven roasting brings out delicious savory notes in hearty cuts of meat. Use an instant-read thermometer for perfect doneness. Let rest sufficiently before slicing.
Bobby Kelly is a bartender at Molly Magees, an Irish pub in Mountain View. He’s been working there for two years and has developed a following among the regulars. Bobby is known for his friendly demeanor and great drink specials. He loves interacting with customers and making them feel welcome. When he’s not at work, Bobby enjoys spending time with his friends and family.