Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced chef, cutting tri tip can be tricky. But it’s not as difficult as it may seem, especially if you know the right technique.
The best way to cut tri tip is to identify the grain pattern and then slice against it. This will maximize tenderness and make the meat easier to chew.
To cut tri tip correctly, it’s important to know the direction that the grain runs in the meat. This is because cutting against the grain makes it more tender and juicy.
Start by laying your tri tip on a cutting board and looking at the skinny part of the meat. You will see that all the muscle fibers run the same direction and then roughly 2/3 up the grain slightly changes directions.
Next, cut all the way through the roast to create two separate pieces. Identify the direction that the grain is running in each piece and then slice perpendicular to the grain.
Ideally, you want to get as thin and even slices as possible. This ensures that each piece of tri tip has a similar texture and flavor. Depending on your preferences, you can serve these slices with various side dishes. Popular options include roasted potatoes, grilled vegetables, steamed rice and macaroni and cheese.
Finding the Grain
When you are cutting any cut of meat, the direction that the muscle fibers – or ‘grain’ – are arranged in is important. By understanding this and cutting against it, you can achieve a much more tender and delicious result.
The grain of the meat is a series of long, parallel fibers that run across the surface of the meat. They are easy to see in high-end beef, where the intramuscular fat will run in between them.
In leaner cuts of meat, they are less visible and you will need to get a closer look. In a tri tip, you should be able to spot the grain by looking for a line that runs parallel to the fat seam midway through the steak.
This is the line that separates the two different grain directions. Once you have found it, dissect the tri tip and start slicing against that line. This will ensure that the cuts are thin and well-rounded.
Slicing Against the Grain
When cutting a steak or roast, the best way to achieve tenderness is by slicing against the grain. This will help the meat stay juicy, tender, and flavorful when cooked.
All meat has bundles of fibers that run along the cut in a specific direction, which is called the grain. Tough cuts, like flank steak and hanger steak, tend to have more prominent grain lines than lean cuts such as filet mignon and tenderloins.
The reason that slicing against the grain is so important is that by cutting across these muscle bundles, you shorten their length. This allows you to chew more easily without having to gnaw through long strands of muscle that are harder to break down.
In general, this is the recommended way to slice meat because it will make it easier for you to chew and digest. It’s also the way that butchers recommend to cook beef, veal, lamb, and other animal proteins because it will make them more tender and flavorful.
Slicing With the Grain
Tri tip is a delicious cut of meat that is often roasted, broiled or grilled. When cutting it, it is important to slice against the grain for maximum tenderness and flavor.
The grain in meat refers to the direction that the muscle fibers are arranged. It is easier to identify the grain in tougher cuts like flank steak, skirt steak or hanger steak as those muscles have thicker fibers.
When slicing any cut of meat, it is essential to find the grain. This is because slicing against the grain shortens the muscle fibers and makes the meat more tender.
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