Hey taco lovers! Ever find yourself with some leftover tri tip and wonder what to do with it? Let's transform that leftover tri tip into a ridiculously easy, flavorful taco filling for a fast and easy taco night. It's a great way to give a second life to your tri tip, turning it into a delicious meal that's perfect for those days when you want something quick but tasty. Plus, tacos are always a family favorite!
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Why You'll Love These Tacos:
- Quick and Easy: Using leftover tri tip makes this a super speedy option for a tasty meal.
- Flavorful: A simple spice blend brings new life to the tri tip, creating a delicious taco filling with minimal effort.
- Customizable: Like any good taco, you can top these with whatever your heart (and taste buds) desire!
Let's Get Started! Here's What You'll Need:
Leftover Tri Tip: About 8 oz, sliced, diced, or shredded.
Spices: Chili powder and cumin bring warmth and depth, while salt balances the flavors. You're not seeing garlic powder or black pepper here because I'm assuming the tri-tip roast was seasoned with them to start, but you can always add more to taste, or swap in a favorite dry rub or taco seasoning.
Water: This helps the spices evenly coat the meat. If you have some open you could use some beef broth if you prefer.
The main thing we need here is a small pot or medium pan to heat our meat and spice mixture in. You'll also want a cutting board and knife for the tri tip, and some measuring spoons for our spices.
How to Make Leftover Tri-tip Tacos:
Step 1: Prep the Tri Tip
Slice or shred your leftover tri tip – this will depend on how you like it but also how you cooked it initially. If you treated your tri tip like a steak and cooked it in a skillet or with sous vide, you'll want to dice it into small bites. If you treated it as a triangle roast and made it in the slow cooker, then you also have the option to shred it.
Step 2: Add Spices
In your pan, combine the tri tip, chili powder, cumin, salt, and water. Like with regular ground beef tacos, we need the spices to have some time with the meat to infuse that great flavor.
Step 3: Heat and Mix:
Heat the mixture over medium-high heat to start, but reduce to low or medium heat once the water starts simmering. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the water has evaporated and the meat is warmed through.
Load up your warmed, spiced tri tip into flour tortillas, classic taco shells. Then, the fun part – adding your favorite toppings! If you need ideas here are some great options:
- Avocado slices
- Salsa verde
- Sour cream
- Lime wedges
- Shredded cheese
- Onions (diced white onions or thinly sliced red onions)
- Diced Tomatoes
- Cotija cheese
- Roasted Bell Pepper
- Pico de gallo
- Red Cabbage
- Cole Slaw
- Jalapeño slices
- Queso fresco
Sure thing! This is written without heat to make it as kid friendly as possible, but you can definitely add some cayenne pepper if that's not a concern in your house. If it is you can always top your tacos with hot peppers- individual toppings are one of the perks of tacos!
While there are many ways to reheat tri tip, since we're adding additional flavor here it needs a little time and heat for our extra spices to take hold. The stovetop is the best way to do this, but you could mix everything in a bowl and then heat it in the oven until the water is mostly evaporated and the meat warm. You could also combine the ingredients in a slow cooker and turn that on either low or high until warmed through- you'll just not lose as much of the water doing that. The microwave would be my last choice, but will work in a pinch.
Since we're working with leftover beef it's fine to eat cold, and we don't need to get to any specific internal temperature, so there's no need to dirty a meat thermometer here. That said, we do want it to be warm for serving and give the spices time to work- if you think it may be done go ahead and sample a bite to see if you're happy with the temperature and flavor.
More Leftover Tri Tip Recipes:
Have pulled pork instead? Leftover pulled pork tacos are great too, I do use more spices for them since pork benefits from a touch of sweetness.
So next time you're staring at that container of leftover tri tip in your fridge, remember these easy and delicious tacos are just a few spices away. Give it a try and let your leftovers shine in a whole new way. Don't forget to share how it turned out or any creative twists you added – I'd love to hear about it!
Leftover Tri Tip Tacos Recipe
- 8 oz tri tip steak cooked
- 2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup water
- Dice tri tip into bite sized pieces, or shred. If shredding, you can shred more as it heats, just get it sliced enough that you can stir it with a fork.
- Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the water simmers, then reduce to medium or low. Heat for 10-15 minutes total, stirring occasionally.
- Serve warm in your taco shell of choice with your favorite toppings.
Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. It is recommended to use your preferred calculator with the actual ingredients you use for optimal accuracy.