Tri Tip Vs Brisket – Differences You Should Know

Tri-tip and brisket are beef meat. Obviously, it means that they are cut from the same animal. The meat is extracted from beef cattle since it is the most common type of meat available in the USA. In this post, we will see the major differences between tri-tip vs brisket.

The major difference you should know between these two types of beef meat is that brisket is cut from the lower chest region of the beef cattle. Brisket can weigh anywhere from 12 – 20 lbs. Due to the prolonged smoking process, it has a better flavor. It contains two different muscles.

Tri-tip is taken from the back side of the animal. It is cut from the muscles called sirloin. Unlike brisket, tri-tip is cut from the same muscle, hence it is a clean cut. Since they are cut from different parts of the same beef cattle, different cooking procedures are involved. Let us see how they are prepared to taste delicious. It would weigh approximately 1 – 5 lbs.

Tri Tip Vs Brisket

How Are They Prepared?

As we have seen before, brisket has a mesmerizing smokey flavor. This is a result of being exposed to the smoke for 12 hours. It is a prolonged smoking process that flavors the brisket and gives it the caramelized beefy flavor.

On the other hand, tri-tip undergoes the smoking process for barely an hour. However, after the internal temperature exceeds 1300 F, it is taken out hot and fried quickly at a higher temperature on both sides. The frying process takes lasts only a minute. The seared tri-tip has a crispy outer crust.

What Is Brisket?

Brisket is taken from the chest or breast region of the cow. The meat is present between the first five ribs of the cattle. However, there are two different muscles in different grain directions that, are barely separated by a fat layer. So, brisket is often sold boneless as the point cut and the flat cut.

If the brisket isn’t sold individually, it is called texas–style brisket or the Packer’s cut. In this type, the meat will be untrimmed and will contain both points and flat.

When it comes to beef, brisket is the toughest meat from beef cattle. The front legs support most of the weight of the cattle. Cows don’t have collarbones to distribute the weight, so the most weight of the cow is put on the muscles in its chest region. The absence of the collarbone has forced these muscles to form numerous fibrous connective tissues which make it tough. These connective tissues make collagen which makes the meat even tougher.

Cooking it quickly under higher temperature will only make it much tougher which won’t be delightful when we taste it. That is the reason brisket is cooked or smoked slowly so that the fat and connective tissue can break down slowly. Only this way, we can have soft and tasty beef meat.

How to Prepare Brisket?

Finding the right brisket cut would finish half your work. Let us first learn how to pick the right piece of brisket. As we have discussed, brisket would have a large amount of fat in it. The fat on the brisket should be evenly marbled throughout the meat. The fat is necessary to moisten the meat when we are cooking.

The fat on top of the meat should be white in color. Don’t pick the meat with brown or gray fat. Fresh fat would be pale in color. Also, the color of the meat should read not be brown or gray. The fat is required to enhance the texture of the meat while we slow cook the meat at 220o F for several hours.

What Is Tri-Tip?

Tri-tip is the piece of meat taken from the rear side of the beef cattle. It is taken from the region called sirloin primal. It is also called a triangle roast because of its triangular shape. The tri-tip is 2 – 4 inches in thickness and weighs 2 – 5 lbs approximately.

It also has some fat, but it won’t matter as it is the most tender cut of the cow. It is soft and delicious and doesn’t need long and slow cooking. You can smoke it for an hour and start the searing process. The accumulated fat will be low so it won’t be a problem.

You can then add some soya sauce or any exclusive recipes that you want to try on. Brisket has so much fat in it that if you remove it you will be removing half the meat. But tri-tips are entirely composed of soft tissues making them tender and delicious.

How To Prepare Tri-tip?

When selecting a tri-trip, it is not important to pick one with fat because tri-tip is already a tender piece of meat. The presence of fat won’t produce any significant difference in the meat’s texture or taste. Like brisket, we will be slow cooking tri-tips too. So, the slow cooking and searing after that will make it soft and crispy.

Tri Tip Vs Brisket

How To Smoke Tri-tip?

After picking the right tri-tip, you have to remove the excessive fat. Now add the ingredients which you think might enhance the flavor. For beginners, you can go with salt, pepper, and garlic. You can keep it in the fridge so that the meat gets properly brined. Or you can move on to the next stage.

The best way to smoke it is by using advanced grills like Louisiana grills. These grills have a thermostat and display control so that we can control the temperature precisely. Now, ignite the wood pellets and close the lid. Let the smoke do its work for at least an hour. After the internal temperature reaches 135o F, you can take it out. After that, sear it for a minute. You will now have perfectly cooked tri-tip.