Just the tip – Sous Vide Tri-Tip

I hail from Santa Maria, CA and the one thing we are best known for (besides single mothers and teenage pregnancy) is the Santa Maria style tri-tip.  So what better idea, I thought,  than to master the art of  sous vide’ing a tri-tip! Unfortunately, it turns out I am still a mere Padawan.

A standard Santa Maria tri-tip is seasoned with garlic powder, salt and pepper then grilled over an oak flame.  This is an obvious over-simplification but this is a Sous Vide blog, not a Santa-Maria style tri-tip grilling techniques and best practices blog…  Anyway, here is how my experiment went and my opinion of the end result.


  1. Removed most of the fat blanket.
  2. Marinated the tip in Allegro Tenderizer & Marinade for 6 hours in the frig in a Ziploc Sous Vide bag.
  3. Before vacuum-sealing the bag, drained out about 75% of the marinade, leaving a little bit in for flava.
  4. Vacuum-sealed the bag and placed it in  SV contraption for 24 hours @ 133F.
  5. After the alloted time,  removed the tip, patted it down and seared it in a cast iron skillet for 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Slice and Serve.

Now, before I discuss the taste I’d like to talk about texture.  It was phenomenal!  Hands down, the most tender tri-tip I have ever had.  The temperature was just above med-rare and I could cut through it with a butter knife.

As for the flavor???  Decent.  That’s right, it was decent.  Not amazing, not horrible.  Just ‘pretty good’.  Now please know that I am not, by any means, comparing the flavor of the tip to the style of cooking.  I definitely think I could make a rockin’ tip Sous Vide style.  I just think that next time I will use the traditional dry rub and finish it on an oak pit!

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New Thermometer Purchase

Well, I decided to upgrade to a new thermometer for calibrating my Sous Vide Immersion Cooker. Previously, I had purchased the OXO Good Grips Digital Leave-in Meat Thermometer from Bed, Bath and Beyond, but had major concerns about its quality and accuracy. So, I took to the forums and started looking for recommendations on a relatively inexpensive alternative that was dependable and had decent accuracy.

What I came up with was a meter/probe from Thermoworks. I called the company’s customer service line and told the woman that answered the phone that I was looking for a thermometer that would work well for Sous Vide cooking. To my surprise, she knew exactly what I was talking about and transferred me to very knowledgeable gentleman that immediately start walking me through my various options. Basically, he recommended two options: the MTC Mini Handheld Thermocouple and the TW8060. Considering the price difference was only 16 dollars, I went for the higher-end TW8060. The advantages included a display that doesn’t auto shut-off and the ability to hook up two separate probes.

Speaking of probes, they are not included – you have to buy them separately. He recommended the Miniature Needle Probe. I chose the one with the 78″ cable since it was only an extra 6 bucks. The nice thing about the probe is that it is fully submersible, so you can simply let it sit it in your water bath without worries.

When it was all said and done, I had spent $122.40. I ordered it on Wednesday and it arrived two days later. Considering the quality and accuracy of this meter, I consider it money well spent.

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