Santa Maria Style Sous Vide Tri Tip nails the edge-to-edge perfection on this triangle shaped bottom sirloin cut, resulting in amazingly tender and flavorful steak. The tri-tip roast is cooked low and slow in sous vide water bath, and then seared quickly in the skillet for a peppery, garlic-y brown crust.
Filled with delicious flavors, this sous vide tri tip recipe is incredibly easy to prepare with 3 easy steps: season –> sous vide –> sear!
What is tri tip?
Tri Tip is a triangle-shaped cut of beef from the bottom sirloin. It’s also called “Santa Maria Steak” because the town of Santa Maria, California is home to the special barbecue grilled beef tri tip steak. This cut is usually about 2-inch thick, and weighs 2 to 3 pounds.
Why cooking tri tip sous vide?
Sous vide is a French cooking technique where the meat is first vacuum-sealed in a bag, and then cooked to a precise temperature in a warm water bath for a long time.
Tri tip is a lean and tender cut with excellent marbling. It’s very tender if you don’t overcook it. With traditional methods such as pan-searing, grilling, or baking, the meat can easily turn tough and chewy if you miss the small window of the perfect doneness. Sous vide technique eliminates this issue by controlling temp precisely and you can leave the beef in the water bath for a wide range of time. In addition, the meat is perfectly moist and tender from edge to edge. It’s completely a game changer!
How to make sous vide tri tip
I love this cut because it’s so tender and juicy when properly cooked. You can marinate it, or use a simple seasoning. We use a classic Santa Maria rub in this recipe.
Vacuum seal seasoned tri tip in a zip-top bag, and cook at 133°F (56°C) for 2 hours.
After the tri tip is sous vide cooked, let it cool down slightly and remove it from the bag. Pat dry with paper towels and add more dry rub. To finish up, you’re going to sear or grill it to caramelize the edges for the crispy and charred edges.
Sous vide tri tip seasoning ingredients:
This recipe uses a delicious homemade Santa Maria dry rub. All you need is:
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Dried oregano
- Salt and ground black pepper
- Dry or fresh rosemary
- Optional dry sage
Do I need to trim the tri tip?
There’s usually a lot of excess fat (up to 1/2-inch) on one side of the tri tip. Some recipes keep the layer of fat on, but I prefer to trim the fat off the roast when cooking it sous vide, as the fat won’t render properly in the water bath. I also like to remove the silver skin so that the seasoning can penetrate easily.
Sous vide tri tip temperature chart
Sous vide allows you to cook your tri tip roast to your desired doneness, with a wide range of cooking time. You will get different texture with different temperature settings. My favorite setting is 133°F / 56°C, which produces very tender and juicy steak with perfect rosy color.
If you’d like to try other temperatures, you can follow the chart below (Don’t cook it past medium doneness as it can become very chewy):
|133°F (56°C)||Medium Rare|
How long does it take to sous vide tri tip?
There is a wide range of cooking time, and I find cooking it at 133°F/56°C for 2 hours gives me the best result.
Can you overcook tri tip in a sous vide machine?
Although you cannot “overcook” a tri tip with sous vide method (it’s ok to leave the meat in a warm bath for an extra hour or two), the texture can become mushy if the steak is left in the water for too long.
Can you sous vide frozen tri tip?
Yes, you can sous vide cook steak straight from frozen. For this recipe, you’ll need to cook the frozen tri tip for 3 to 4 hours.
Tips for the best tri tip sous vide:
- Vacuum seal the bag without a vacuum sealer: If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, a regular zip-top bag works fine using the water displacement technique. Just place the steak in the bag, and seal all but one corner of the bag. Slowly place it into the cold water, and make sure everything below the zip-line is covered by water. Then seal the rest of the bag.
- Let it cool down slightly before searing. After sous vide cooking, it’s best to let the steak cool down in the refrigerator or ice bath before searing.
- It’s important to wipe off any extra moisture completely as it inhibits proper searing.
What to serve with sous vide tri tip?
Pro Tip: Slice the meat into 1/4-inch thick slices against the grain.
Tools needed to cook tri tip sous vide
- Sous Vide Immersion Circulator: Anova is a great brand and it’s quite reliable.
- Zip-loc Bag: If you don’t have a vacuum-sealer, you can use a zip-loc bag, and seal the bag with the “water displacement” technique.
- A Large Pot or Container: You’ll need to use a large pot or container to hold the water.
- Kitchen Tongs
More sous vide steak recipes you’ll love:
Tri Tip Sous Vide Santa Maria Style
- 2 ½ pounds tri-tip roast (It’s sometimes called triangle steak or bottom sirloin cut)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Santa Maria Rub
- 3/4 tablespoon garlic powder
- 3/4 tablespoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon minced rosemary or dry rosemary
- 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
- dry sage leaf optional
- Preheat the sous vide water bath by adding water to a large container or a pot, set the Sous Vide Precision Cooker to 133°F (56°C). This setting will cook your tri tip to medium-rare. If you’d like to cook them to different doneness, follow the guide in the post.
- Trim the excess fat from the tri tip.
- In a small bowl, mix together garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, dried oregano, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
- Rub half of the seasoning all over the steak.
- Place the seasoned tri tip into a large vacuum bag or zip-top bag, and add the optional bay leaf to the bag.
- If you use a zip-loc bag, seal it using the “water displacement” technique: Seal all but one corner of the bag, and slowly place it in the cold water. Make sure everything below the zip-line is covered by water. Then seal the rest of the bag. (If your tri-tip is too big for one bag, you can cut it into two pieces and use two bags.)
- When the water has reached the set temperature, lower the bag into the water bath. Make sure the meat is fully submerged in the water with the bag seams above the water.
- Sous vide cook for 2 hours.
- When the timer goes off, remove the tri tip from the bag and let it cool down slightly.
- Pat dry with paper towels. (Make sure to dry it completely)
- Rub the sous vide cooked tri-tip with the rest of the seasoning.
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Once hot, add tri tip, and cook 1 minute each side until it’s nicely browned.
- Slice the cooked tri tip thinly across the grain and serve with potatoes and veggies.