Making a dry seasoned tri-tip roast in your crockpot creates a tender meat that's full of flavor. It's an easy full meal with vegetables and potatoes added to the slow cooker or a great roast to slice and make sandwiches with.
Slow cooker tri-tip roast is a delicious and easy-to-make meal. You can make this recipe as a stand alone roast or add vegetables and potatoes to the slow cooker to make it a full meal. The meat is marinated in a flavorful dry rub made from a blend of spices, brown sugar, and finely ground coffee.
Wondering why coffee? Ground coffee acts a tenderizer for this lean cut of meat and turns it into a tender, mouth-watering roast that's great for barbecues, gatherings, sandwiches, and meal prepping. Roasts make great hands-off dinners for busy nights, holidays and gatherings. A slow cooked lamb roast and a traditional pot roast with carrots and potatoes are some of my favorites along with this tri tip recipe.
*For this recipe you can use a roast that weighs between 3 to 5 pounds, keeping in mind what will fit in your crockpot, without changing cook time.
What Is Beef Tri Tip?
Tri tip roast is a type of beef roast cut from the bottom sirloin section of the cow. It's a relatively lean triangular shaped cut of meat but is known for its tenderness and rich beefy flavor. It can be grilled, roasted, or smoked and is often served as a main dish at barbecues or other casual gatherings. In some regions of the United States, such as California, tri tip roast is a popular cut of meat and is sometimes referred to as "Santa Maria steak" after the city of Santa Maria where it is a local specialty.
The key to a delicious, tender tri-tip roast is to cook it low and slow, which makes it a great cut of meat for the crockpot.
- Beef tri tip: a boneless tri tip roast that has been trimmed of excess fat.
- Finely ground coffee: any brand works, so use whatever you make your morning coffee with! Coffee tenderizes lean cuts of meat and also adds a unique flavor.
- Brown sugar: light or dark both work.
- Minced garlic flakes: this is dried minced garlic that you can find in the seasoning aisle. You can also use granulated garlic.
- Cloves: use ground cloves.
- Cayenne pepper: will add some heat to the seasoning so use less for a mild roast and more for a spicier roast. For reference, ½ teaspoon of cayenne on a 5 pound roast produced a very mild taste.
- Salt and pepper
How To Cook A Tri Tip Roast In The Slow Cooker
STEP 1: In a small bowl, add the seasonings and coffee grinds to make the dry rub. With your hands, season the roast by rubbing each side with about 3 tablespoons of dry rub. Place in a sealed container or freezer bag for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.
STEP 2: To a large frying pan add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat on high. Remove the roast from the container and sear over medium high heat for 6 minutes on each side.
STEP 3: Turn off the heat and place the seared roast in the slow cooker, scraping the brown bits from the pan into the cooker. Add ½ cup of water or beef broth. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Note: You can add vegetables like carrots and potatoes to make a complete meal.
* Check the internal temperature of the roast with a meat thermometer around 4 hours. It should read 135-145°F for medium-rare to medium doneness. For well done, the thermometer should read 160°F. If the roast has reached these temperatures, turn off the slow cooker. If you prefer shredded meat, cook for the entire 6-8 hours.
STEP 4: Remove the roast from the slow cooker and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing against the grain. Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy.
What To Serve It With
Store in the fridge for up to 5 days in a covered container or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How To Make Tri Tip Sandwiches
Instead of serving the roast as a main dish, make a sandwich. Tri-tip sandwiches are a delicious and easy way to enjoy leftover tri-tip roast. To make them you'll need:
- Sandwich rolls, hamburger buns or Italian rolls (or other crusty bread)
- Mayonnaise, dijon mustard or another condiment.
- Cheese slices, such as provolone, swiss or pepper jack.
- Vegetable, like red onion, lettuce, and tomato.
Slice the bread or buns and place a slice of cheese on one side. On a baking sheet, add tri tip slices and the bread. Warm in a toaster, air fryer or oven for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese melts and the tri tip is heated through. Build your sandwich by adding condiments and vegetables, along with the leftover tri tip slices, to the toasted bread.
Yes and no. Tri-tip is a lean cut of beef and it can become tough if it's overcooked. However, when cooked properly, particularly at a low temperature and for a long duration, it can be very tender and juicy. The slow cooking method breaks down the connective tissue and makes the meat more tender. Marinating the meat before cooking will help to tenderize it, as will searing it at high heat prior to slow cooking.
For the best results, cook a tri-tip roast meant for slicing to medium-rare, which is an internal temperature of 130-135°F (54-57°C). If you'd like the meat to be shreddable, see below.
In the crockpot, tri tip becomes shreddable after about 6 hours on low (remember that time varies based on age and brand of your slow cooker). For extra juicy shredded meat, I recommend marinating the tri tip and covering most of it in a seasoned broth in addition to the dry rub that this recipe calls for.
While some people do put frozen roasts in a slow cooker, the FDA recommends against doing so. When you put frozen meat in a slow cooker, it takes longer to come up to a safe temperature, and this increases the risk of bacterial growth. It's best to thaw your roast in the refrigerator before putting it in the slow cooker.
I recommend searing the roast first. Doing so locks in flavor and juices that help to tenderize the meat and make it more flavorful. However, if you're short on time or don't want to take the extra step, feel free to simply add the marinated roast to the crock pot without searing.
Slow Cooker Tri Tip Roast
- To a small bowl, add the ground coffee, salt, minced garlic, brown sugar, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper to make the dry rub. With your hands, season the roast by rubbing each side with about 3 tablespoons of dry rub. Place in a sealed container or freezer bag for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.
- To a large frying pan add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat on high. Remove the roast from the container and sear over medium high heat for 6 minutes on each side.
- Turn off the heat and place the seared roast in the slow cooker, scraping the brown bits from the pan into the cooker. Add ½ cup of water or beef broth. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours (see notes regarding cook times). Note: You can add vegetables like carrots and potatoes to make a complete meal.
- Remove the roast from the slow cooker and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing against the grain. Serve with your favorite sides.