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What is a Tri Tip?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
While in chat, I was not able to explain what a Tri Tip is, so here it is...

This flavorful beef cut has been one of the beef industry's best kept
secrets. Tri-tip was seldom marketed when carcass beef or beef quarters were
delivered to retail markets because there are only two tri-tips per carcass. This
meant that there was not enough for a case display. Consequently, the butcher would
grind or cube it. Today, most stores receive boneless boxed beef.
If you don't
see tri-tip in the meat case, ASK FOR IT*. It may be temporarily out of stock.
Tri-tip roasts can be ordered separately if your butcher knows there is a demand.

A beef tri-tip roast is a boneless cut of meat from the bottom sirloin. It also
is called "triangular" roast because of its shape.

Tri-tip roasts will vary from 1 1/2 to 2 pounds and are about two inches
thick. If a roast is cooked to rare in the center, the thinner outside edges are
medium to well, offering perfectly cooked beef for every taste. The tri-tip can be
cooked whole or cut into one-inch thick steaks or strips. When the meat is cut into
one-eighth inch strips, it can be used for stir-fry recipes and fajitas. If it is
cut into one-fourth inch thick strips, weave the meat onto skewers and quickly broil or

The beef tri-tip roast may be marinated if you wish. Marinating adds
but is not necessary to tenderize the cut. Looking for ways to reduce calories and
fat? Tri-tip is the answer. A 3-ounce cooked portion of tri-tip is just 177
calories. I added some pics as a good suggestion from BBQ Bubba.

post #2 of 10
Pics would be helpful too.
post #3 of 10
tri-tips are under-rated. i've cooked dozens of these in a production kitchen and they always turn out great. they're called "roasts" but we would simply grill them mid-rare, then slice and serve.
post #4 of 10
I agree. Tri-tips are DEFINITELY some good eating! And you're right, even though they're called roasts, I consider them big thick steaks for sharing. All they need is some SnP and the outside gets seared all crusty and delicious.

Here you go: Can't clearly see the whole cut but you get the idea. These pics just happened to be on my camera.

That's a 1.8 lb. tri tip. Here's more info:
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Bumped up after adding pics of Tri Tip trimmed and whole, along with location on animal.
post #6 of 10
It's a western beef marketing thing too. Never saw a tri-tip before I moved to California.

No such thing as a "cross rib roast" back east either.
post #7 of 10
Oh I get it triange=3 Tri-Tip = 3 points. Really, thanks Richoso for the details I have brought this up to some butchers in majors food stores and they look at me like what are you talkin about. I thought it was just a slang for something. Well now I need a TRI TIP.
post #8 of 10
Here are some pics of my forst one.
post #9 of 10
It's Santa Maria, CA 's one claim to fame. You will even here Santa Maria barbecue as synonymous with tri-tip. Like Rich said, it was usually ground up for hamburger. You'll find lots of stories of the vaqueros of Santa Maria and their weekly bbq's. Although the BBQ tradition goes back to the 1800's, the tri-tip was a recent addition:

But here's an amusing tale:
post #10 of 10
Same here. I never heard, saw, or ate one until I visited some friends in California a few years ago. I never hear anyone in my area ever mention a tri-tip unless their from out west. I'm sure they're avaliable here, maybe I just got an idea of what to smoke this weekend. biggrin.gif
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