is a cut of beef
from the bottom sirloin
primal cut. It is a small triangular muscle, usually 1.5 to 2.5 lbs. (675 to 1,150g) per side of beef. In the United States
, this cut was typically used for ground beef or sliced into steaks
until the late 1950s
, when it became a local specialty in Santa Maria, California
, rubbed with salt, pepper, and spices and cooked whole on a rotisserie
. (The tri-tip is still often labeled "Santa Maria steak".) Tri-tip is now available in most of the U.S., though it remains a relatively overlooked cut. Most popular in Central California
, it has begun to enjoy increasing popularity elsewhere for its full flavor, lower fat content, and comparatively lower cost. Tri-tip has become a popular cut of meat for producing Texas
Red Chili con carne
on the competitive chili cooking circuit, supplanting ground beef because the low fat content produces little grease, which judges take off points for.''
I live on the central coast California "The home of Tri-Tip". I have had tri-tip from a lot of places, a lot of the so called best
places.. Do not be fooled. There is no tri-tip here that can compare to an mediocre brisket done by someone who knows how to smoke.
Tri-tip is notoriously dry and tough. The point of the cut dries up, way before the body. You have two choices, sear it quick, cook for a bit, then hope for the best.. Or smoke it, keep it wet, and hope for the best.
It's only popular because it used to be very cheap. You used to be able to get a tri tip for half the price of a brisket per pound. When I just went shopping tri-tip was the same price as pork butt per pound..
Frankly, the only reason tri-tip sells is because it is sorta-cheap, and nobody here (besides a few hobbyists) smokes meat to any degree of quality... If you are accustom to real southern BBQ you will be shocked at the quality of what passes for good BBQ here in this area.
That all said, I will try to smoke a tri tip to quality some day, perhaps it will be the first