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Wood Ranch famously roasts their Tri-Tip overnight and then finishes it off on the grill before serving.

Whenever I slow cook my tri-tip (in a smoker @225) it only takes about 4 hours. I don't think this qualifies as "overnight". And their tri-tip certainly has a different texture that tri-tip's I've cooked in this manner. I've looked all over the internet for a recipe or process to start from (oven-temps and cook times), but everything seems to max out at about 4 hours of cook time.

All I can think of is cooking the trip tip at an over temp around 190, but that seems quite low and I'm apprehensive to try it. Is this a viable method?

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You need to drop the temperature more for overnight. The 'danger zone' of food is between 5°C (40°F) and 60°C (140°F), you want to limit the time your tri-tip spends at that temperature range as that's where you get bacterial growth. Anything higher than that is safe from a bacteria perspective. So you could roast your tri-tip at 145°F or thereabouts (a little extra for safety) for as long as you want.

My big concern with tri-tip is drying it out, even with the temperature dropped you can't leave it in forever without it turning into a brick. I'd be tempted to wrap it in foil to seal the juices in, then try an 8 hour roast at 145°F. What the restaurant is probably doing is roasting overnight, then refrigerating the meat for the next day's service, this allows the meat to rest and keeps it safe. They then use charcoal to reheat it and give it some char. That's just one theory from previous food service experience.

Another thought is that they could be roasting the entire tri-tip primal cut as a whole piece overnight, then cutting steaks off of it and char-grilling them. Roasting the whole piece would take longer and it wouldn't dry out as quickly. You could do this at home too, provided you could get the whole piece of meat from a butcher.

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  • The definitely cut steaks off it and grill them before being served. I think I'll try wrapping it for 8 hours at 150ºF (That's as low as my oven goes) and see what happens. – noslenkwah Sep 4 '20 at 13:16
  • The recommendation here makes me a bit nervous. From personal experience, I can tell you that roasting anything in the oven at temperatures around 150F can take a LONG time to get above 130F (before bacterial growth will stop). And particularly if you're talking about roasting a larger cut (with a tritip, only a few pounds but still), you could very easily spend >4 hours in sub-130F range in the interior. Is it likely to cause illness? Probably not. But this is pushing the boundaries. I'd personally go with at least ~175F oven temp until interior goes over 130F, then turn down oven if desired. – Athanasius Sep 4 '20 at 19:07
  • @Athanasius I've wondered the same thing about sous vide, but it seems like it's somehow safe. – Kat Sep 5 '20 at 19:05
  • @Kat: sous vide is safer because the surrounding liquid medium increases heat transfer. Even a very thick cut of meat will often be completely up to temperature within a couple hours in a water bath. Air in an oven transfers heat a LOT slower -- even more slowly if the meat is wrapped in aluminum foil (which will tend to reflect radiant heat). – Athanasius Sep 8 '20 at 18:11

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