For the best taste when reheating tri-tip, keep it juicy and avoid drying it out. This can be achieved either by grilling, oven cooking, or frying via the pan. You can also reheat using a microwave or an air fryer, or you could just eat it cold.
Keeping tri-tip moist largely comes down to reheating it at low heat, proper wrapping, storage, and adding or re-adding moisture such as gravy, BBQ sauce, or just a splash of water.
But before we get to the actual reheating, we should note that whether your tri-tip is frozen, frigerated, or simply left on the side will change your approach to reheating. If your meat is frozen it will first need to thaw, while if you’ve taken it from the fridge, for most methods, you will need to let it reach room temperature.
Do note that if frozen, it will be drier than if you had stored it in the fridge. Either way, your tri-tip should have been tightly packaged to keep moisture, safe from bacteria, and tasty.
If by ‘the best way’ you mean to say, ‘the quickest way,’ then you’ll be looking for a microwave.
As you’d probably expect, while it may deliver the fastest results, it doesn’t always give the tastiest results. Nevertheless, maybe you’re not in the mood to cook a ‘grand meal’ and just want to eat.
Fair play! Here’s what you need to know about reheating tri-tip in the microwave:
- Add moisture. Use water if you don’t time or appropriate sauces around you. Sometimes a light sprinkle is all you need. No need to soak the tri-tip, it’s not soup!
- Cook at a lower power. I almost always never think about this—my microwave is constantly left on max. Turn it down to medium or low—again, this is to prevent the tri-tip from drying out.
Alternative: skip the microwave altogether and eat it cold or at room temperature. The USDA recommends that meat shouldn’t be left at room temperature for more than two hours, so if you intend to eat it before then, it should be fine.
Preventing tri-tip from drying out is the top priority when reheating whichever method you prefer to use. Note that reheating tri-tip in the microwave will lead to drier results, but it can be mitigated to some degree.
Top tips to prevent tri-tip drying out while reheating:
- Before even thinking about reheating tri-tip, keep it properly wrapped up and stored in either the fridge or freezer. The tighter the better.
- Don’t slice the tri-tip into smaller pieces. Store it as one large piece, more moisture will be lost if you divide it.
- Add sauces, meat juices (preferably from the tri-tip itself), gravy, or water when you cook.
- Keep it covered while cooking to prevent moisture from evaporating.
- Cook at a low heat to prevent evaporation. (This may take longer, but it will improve the taste.)
If you originally cooked your tri-tip on the grill, you’ll probably want to repeat that experience, though you can of course do this with any tri-tip you cooked using another method.
Charlie of Simply Meat Smoking explains that when reheating tri-tip on the grill, you should wrap it in aluminum foil to “retain moisture,” and heating indirectly will stop your tri-tip from burning.
It’s pretty simple and you can take it off the grill as soon as it’s warm enough. Again, though, this method will be easier if you keep the tri-tip in one piece. Once it’s warm enough, slice it up and serve.
If you’re lucky enough to own an air fryer, this is another great way to easily reheat tri-tip—plus, you don’t have to worry much about losing precious moisture.
This is also a great option if your tri-tip is already sliced up as you can cook multiple parts at once and they will all get a crispy edge, as Laurel Randolph explains in an article for the Insider.
To properly reheat your tri-tip in an air fryer, you should preheat the air fryer first. Laurel recommends 350 °F (176 °C). Interestingly, it’s not necessary to wait for the meat to reach room temperature before adding it to the air fryer, though do make sure that each piece of tri-tip has enough space.
Flip the tri-tip to make sure it’s evenly cooked. Split the cooking time evenly—for example, if you’re cooking one side for six minutes, open the air fryer, flip the tri-tip and cook the other side for six minutes too. Be careful with thinner pieces as they will cook faster—be sure to remove them first.
When you’re done, Laurel recommends letting it rest in foil for a few minutes and then adding moisture. A great idea worth trying is garlic butter.
If you want to repeat your tri-tip’s succulent taste, you’ll probably want to skip the microwave and stick it in either the oven, grill, or pan.
For the tastiest reheated tri-tip, you should have stored it properly, it should be one large piece tightly wrapped and you have some gravy or meat juices left over you can re-add to replace any moisture that escaped and add flavor.
Before cooking, give the tri-tip time to warm up to room temperature first which can take between 10 to 30 minutes. This will help you cook it more evenly.
If cooking in the oven, Wood Ranch suggests adding either BBQ sauce, water, or beef broth before wrapping the tri-tip in two layers of aluminum foil. You can then expect your tri-tip to be ready in 30 to 45 minutes.
While the oven is often seen as the best way to reheat tri-tip, using a skillet also yields great results and will make it easier to add a nice sear at the end, which is something Laurel also recommends whichever way you cook. You can even roast the tri-tip in the oven or reheat it in the microwave and then sear it in the pan quickly before serving for the best of both worlds.
In the oven, grill, or skillet, most cooking experts agree that you should aim to cook your tri-tip at around 250 °F (121 °C), and the USDA recommends cooking beef to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F (62 °C).
If you’re feeling cautious, you can check this with a meat thermometer after cooking. For best results, tri-tip should be medium or medium rare which can be harder to achieve on reheating.
The meal you make the second time doesn’t have to be completely the same. Jenny of Happy Muncher lists 12 ideas to serve alongside tri-tip that could help you reinvent your meal. Some of the most intriguing side dishes include:
- Avocado Beet Salad.
- Butternut Squash with Onions and Pecans.
- Sweet Potato Fries.
- Green Beans and Mushrooms.
- Roasted Onion Salad.
And, if you’re not sure how to season tri-tip, Isabel Laessig of Best Beef Recipes notes some of the best herbs and spices you can use to enhance the flavor of tri-tip in their recipe for a tri-tip rub. They are salt, pepper, thyme, and granulated garlic.
Though these ingredients are meant for a dry rub, a sprinkle of each can work wonders on the meat. Alternatively, you can smear some garlic butter onto the tri-tip as mentioned above in the air fryer method.
However you plan to reheat your tri-tip—even in the microwave—one rule remains the same; if you want the best results, don’t rush it. Cook it slowly to retain moisture and it will retain its taste.