Tri Tip vs Brisket: Which Is the Better BBQ Meat?

Tri Tip vs Brisket: Which Is the Best BBQ Meat?

Tri Tip vs Brisket: Which Is the Best BBQ Meat?

Let’s take a closer look at tri tip vs brisket and see which comes out on top.

The best BBQ meat is tough to decide, but there are some deciding factors that might help you make up your mind. For instance, brisket has a lot of fat in it and as we know fat can be really good for barbecuing because it gives the meat flavor and moistness. Brisket also has more marbling than tri-tip, which means there will be more flavor.

On the other hand, tri-tip has less fat, so it’s a healthier option and it’s also easier to cook because it doesn’t take as long. So, if you’re looking for a healthy option that is still delicious, go with tri-tip. But if you want something that is full of flavor and juicy, go with brisket.

So, which is the best BBQ meat? It all depends on what you’re looking for.

What is Tri Tip?

What is Tri Tip?

Tri tip is a cut of beef that comes from the bottom sirloin. It’s a triangular-shaped muscle that is lean and has a small amount of fat. Tri tip is a popular choice for BBQ because it’s lean, so it doesn’t have a lot of fat to drip off and cause flare-ups. It’s also a relatively small cut of meat, so it’s easy to cook evenly.

What is Brisket?

What is Brisket?

Brisket is a cut of beef that comes from the chest of the cow. It’s a large muscle that is tough and has a lot of fat. Brisket is a popular choice for BBQ because the fat renders down and bastes the meat, keeping it moist. It’s a large cut of meat, so it’s good for feeding a crowd.

What are the Similarities?

Before we get into the differences, let’s take a look at what these two types of meat have in common.

  • They’re both cuts of beef: This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s the most important similarity. Both brisket and tri-tip are cuts of beef, so they’re going to have a similar flavor.
  • They’re both great for BBQ: Both of these meats are popular choices for BBQ because they’re delicious and relatively easy to cook.
  • They’re both lean: Both brisket and tri-tip are relatively lean, so they’re not going to have a lot of fat dripping off of them and causing flare-ups.

What are the Differences?

Now that we’ve covered the similarities, let’s take a look at the key differences between tri tip and brisket.

1. Cut of Meat

Tri Tip vs Brisket

The biggest difference between these two types of meat is the cut. Tri tip comes from the bottom sirloin, while brisket comes from the breast or lower chest area of the cow. This means that brisket is a tougher cut of meat since it’s constantly working as the cow moves around.

2. Fat Content

Another key difference is the fat content. Brisket has a lot more fat than tri tip, which gives it its signature flavor. However, this also means that brisket is less versatile when it comes to cooking.

3. Flavor

Due to the differences in fat content, brisket and tri tips also have different flavors. Tri tip is leaner, so it has a more delicate flavor. Brisket, on the other hand, is rich and hearty due to its high fat cap.

4. Texture

Tri tip is a bit tougher than brisket, but it’s still tender enough to be enjoyed without being chewy. Brisket, on the other hand, is very tender and can even be pulled apart with your hands.

5. Price

shopping, spend, money

Tri tip is generally less expensive than beef brisket since it’s not as popular. However, the price difference will vary depending on where you live and the quality of the meat.

6. Cook Time

Tri Tip vs Brisket - what are the differences

It only takes a few hours to cook tri tip cuts, while brisket can take up to 12 hours to cook wrapped in aluminum foil with an internal temperature of 225°F (about 107°C) on a grill. This is because brisket is a tougher cut of meat and needs to be cooked slowly to tenderize it. Whichever cut of beef, tri tips or brisket you choose you should always be checking the internal temperature. The best way to check internal temperature is with a meat thermometer.

7. Best Use

Tri tip is best suited for grilling or smoking, while the brisket is best cooked in the oven or smoker.

8. Availability

Brisket is more common in butcher shops, while tri-tip can be found at most supermarkets. However, the availability of both meats will vary depending on where you live. For instance, brisket is more common in Texas while tri-tip is more popular on the West Coast.

9. Healthier?

The whole tri tip has less fat than brisket, so it’s a healthier option. This is especially important if you’re trying to watch your fat intake. However, both meats are relatively lean, so they’re both good choices if you’re looking for a healthy option.

10. Best For Feeding a Crowd

brisket vs trip tip - which is better for serving a party?

Brisket is a large cut of meat, so it’s perfect for feeding a crowd. Tri tip is smaller, so it’s better suited for feeding a smaller group of people.

Which is Better? Tri tip or Brisket?

It really depends on your personal preferences. If you want a leaner, more delicate flavored meat, then go for tri tip. If you want a rich, hearty flavor, then go for properly smoked brisket. And if you’re looking for the most versatile meat, then go for brisket since it can be cooked in more ways. Whichever you choose, you can’t go wrong with either one!


Is tri tip more tender than brisket?

Tri tip is a rather lean cut and a more tender cut of meat than brisket. However, brisket is often cooked for longer periods of time, which can make it more tender. At the end of the day tri tip vs brisket comes down to personal preference and cooking method. Smoking brisket can result in some of the most tender meat imaginable but it also takes 12+ hours. If you have time for the slow cook the brisket can be more tender than tri tip.

Are tri tip and brisket the same?

Tri tip and brisket are not the same. Tri tip is a smaller, more triangular cut of meat, while the brisket is a large, flat cut of meat.

Can you smoke tri tip like brisket?

Yes, you can smoke tri tip cut like brisket. However, because tri tip is smaller and more tender, it will not need to be cooked for as long as brisket.

What is tri tip roast used for?

Grilled tri tip roast is good for grilling, smoking, or roasting. It can also be sliced and served as tri tip steak.

In conclusion

On the whole, tri tip vs brisket is a debate as old as time. What really is the deciding factor for tri tip vs brisket is the cooking process and personal preference. Smoking brisket is an all-day affair but if you have the time it can be really rewarding. Slow cooking any meat really brings out great flavors. Tri tip on the other hand is one of the most delicious cuts of steak you can buy. The meat has a unique buttery flavor that is unmatched for a lean cut of steak. We hope this comprehensive guide can help you decide what you will be cooking at your next BBQ!

Happy grilling!

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