I picked up a Prime tri tip at Costco yesterday and it was a beauty!
Costco has this labeled as a “Beef Loin Tri Tip Roast” which is confusing as this cut does not come from the loin and most people cook this like a steak instead of as a roast. That’s okay though, this was USDA Prime and all that really matters is that it was delicious!
Is the Tri Tip at Costco a Good Cut of Beef?
A tri tip can be one of the best steaks you have ever had if you treat it right. They typically weigh between 2 and 3 pounds and, since there is almost no waste fat or gristle, will feed between 4-6 people.
The tri tip comes from the bottom of the Sirloin which makes it full of flavor. The ones sold at Costco are usually Prime grade which means great marbling and increased tenderness.
Costco usually prices this cut about 30% lower than their ribeyes which makes this a nice value.
If you look at the label for this steak you will see that Costco has “blade tenderized” the meat which is a double edged sword.
On the positive side, blade tenderization (which Costco also does with their flap steaks) basically involves punching it with a bunch of needles to break up the meat fibers. As a result you should expect this tri tip to be more tender than usual.
On the negative side, the process of punching the meat with needles has the potential to introduce bacteria into the meat which is why the minimum recommended internal temperature is 145F. I consider 145F to be over cooked as far as steaks are concerned.
Cooking a Costco Tri Tip by Sous Vide
The trick for cooking this cut is to cook it at low temperature for a long period of time. Sometimes I will smoke a tri tip on my pellet grill but for this cook I broke out the immersion heater and cooked it Sous Vide.
The reason I like to use either a smoker or an immersion heater is directly related to blade tenderization. There are two ways to make sure any bacteria that might have accidently been introduced during the blade tenderization process are eliminated:
- The first way is to follow the instruction on the label and cook the meat to a minimum temperature of 145F followed by a three minute rest.
- The second way is to cook it to a lower final temperature but hold it at that temperature for a much longer period of time.
Season and Vacuum Seal the Tri Tip
This tri tip got seasoned with Morton’s Season All and black pepper and then was sealed in a Foodsaver bag.
You can add more flavors into the bag if desired and include things like a few cloves of crushed garlic or some rosemary sprigs. I have also seen folks add pats of aromatic compound butter to the bag but that seems like overkill on a USDA Prime cut of beef.
Simmer and Sear the Tri Tip
The sealed tri tip went into a water bath that was maintained at 131 F using an Anova Sous Vide Immersion Heater and then was simmered at 131F for 3 hours.
It only takes about an hour for the steak to reach an internal temperature of 131F. The extra two hours it sat in the water bath helped make sure the roast was tender but mainly was to make sure any potential bacteria had time to get destroyed.
After the steak simmered for three hours I took it out of the bag, patted it dry with paper towels and seared it for 2 minutes per side with a cast iron skillet and rendered brisket fat. This is essentially a reverse seared tri tip without the smoking step.
This is very similar to how I cook Sous Vide Wagyu Ribeye Steak which comes out amazing beyond description.
Serving the Tri Tip
After the steak has been seared it looks great but it can be challenging to see the grain pattern. Before you start slicing into this bad boy take a minute to find the grain and make sure that you are slicing against it. Here is a detailed guide on How to Cut Tri Tip Against the Grain.
This steak was
- Prime Beef
- Blade Tenderized
- Cooked Low and Slow
- Sliced Against the Grain
It had no choice but to be “pull apart tender”!
We served this with some boiled shrimp from Costco as part of a Surf and Turf platter along with a few veggies and scalloped potatoes. Don’t worry, the broccoli is only in the picture just in case my mother reads this…we didn’t actually eat it.
We are talking about seriously delicious eats. Everything was extraordinarily great!
Sous Vide Tri Tip from Costco
- 2 pound Costco Tri Tip Roast
- 2 tbls Morton Season All
- 2 tbls black pepper
- 2 tbls rendered brisket fat substitute peanut oil if needed
- Season the tri tip liberally with the seasoned salt and black pepper.
- Place the meat into a Foodsaver bag and vacuum seal.
- Immerse the bag into a water bath maintained at 131F.
- Let the steak simmer for three hours.
- Remove the steak from the bag and pat dry with paper towels.
- Add the rendered brisket fat to a 12 inch cast iron skillet and heat until the fat just starts to smoke.
- Place the steak into the skillet and sear for two minutes per side.
- Slice the steak thinly across the grain and serve with your choice of sides.