Beef Tri Tip

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Master of the Pit
Original poster
OTBS Member
Dec 19, 2005
Beautiful Grand Rapids Michigan
I was back home in California last week and they had a cook out where they were serving Beef Tri Tip.

How come I can not find it here in Michigan? Does it go by a different name?

Is there something similiar? How would I smoke it? What spices?

It was being "cooked" by a teenager that was just keeping it warm and she had no answers for me.
Cheech, the tri tip is a muscle group in the chuck (shoulder) at the most is weighs maybe 2 1/2 -3 pounds and there is one on each side. Unless the butcher is willing to disect a shoulder to get to it, they usually end up being part of a chuck roast or a chuck steak. The tri-tip is sold as a roast or sliced and sold as steaks.
Don't think this will help much, but, I work for Qdoba. We have a few restaurants in Michigan. The steak we serve in our stores is tri tip. I don't know if they get it locally up there, but you could find a location and ask the GM.
If I remember either I was gong to smoke a trip tip, or somebody smoked one when I was thinking of doing it....In any case, The tri tip does not/did not come out well at all. There really is not enough fat in it to make smoking enjoyable. Now grilling is a different story. It will sit on the grill, and do the dance of good cooked meat for you, and with very little work on your part.

I still add a few chunks of wood when I grill it, I just don't go for teh low and slow method. Fire that puppy up, and make you some dinner....Yippee.
Guys thanks for your information.

I think I will be making a trip to the store and pick up a sirlion roast for dinner tonight.

Have my folks coming over and would like to do a nice roast.

Any suggestions on how to season it?
Dry rub, mustard, sounds like a good injection would serve well here
Cheech, when I do a roast, I like to brush it with a little extra virgin olive oil and the sprikle it good with some Montreal Steak Seasoning. Pop it into the smoker with hickory for flavor and since you're dealing with sirloin here, pull it at 155 deg. for Medium doneness and enjoy. Be sure to let it rest to redistribute the juices.
Once again Dutch to the rescue. I like to keep things simple. You want to taste the emast, and since you are going to be cooking in a flavor filled environment, make the seasoning as simple as possible.
Well tried to upload the pictures but my card reader is not playing well.

I ended up running to the store and must be that everyone else had the same idea because the only roast left on the shelf was a bottom round roast.

Knowing that it is not the best BBq/Smoking meat I really was left with no other options. (Time was short and there was no other roasts left)

So I bought them smoked them up and they were ok but a tad dry which was expected.

They are being sampled again today and are really better than they were yesterday.

(The fact that there were left overs should say something)

May be I will have better luck next time
I almost always like my beef roasts better the next day. Seems like after it cools down and then gets reheated it gives it a little extra flavor and tenderness. Also I tend to cut it thinner the next day and pay more attention to grain direction.
I found beef tritips at Costco of all places. Seems that the meat department manager is from out west.

So to recap the best way to prepare these is on the grill and disregard the low and slow?
Being from NorCal, tri-tips are pretty popular out here. One of my favorite meats to cook up on the grill and most of the stores have them. A local specialty meat place(can't call them a butcher) has an excellent house marinade. In fact, I'm trying one in the smoker right now. Unfortunately I didn't read this thread first. :cry:

On the grill I use indirect heat at 325. Generally about 20-25 minutes/lb. but obviously check internal temp. Since finding this marinade a couple of months ago, I've served up some awesome tri-tips. The juiciest one I've done was basted with the marinade every 10-15 minutes. That seems to be a key.

I hope the smoker experiment isn't totally a bust, but we'll know in about an hour.

Local grocery had bottom round roast on sale this week. Couldn't get my sliced jerky meat into the marinade early enough today, so it will have to wait for later in the week.
Here is a technique that can be used with a different result from grilling.
Sear it hard on grill then put on smoker for hour or two in smoke. Wrap in foil (add some apple juice and sauce if you like) and continue to cook until tender.
Smoke gets laid on as long as smoke is applied. There won't be much smoke ring but not looking for it here.
I personely prefer grilled the sear brings flavor notes you can't get without searing and I like the texture better (steak rather than roast).
Jim, I think yours is a good idea. I was thinking about that while it was in the smoker and looking like the outside was drying. I did foil for the last hour, but probably should have done sooner and with something like the juice.

It definitely came out drier than grilling and the marinade tasted much stronger this time around. I wouldn't call it a total bust, but definitely not the best tri-tip I've done.
I've had smoked tri-tip many years ago (Easter '91 or so) and it was awesome. Second best tri-tip I've ever had.

If you're having issues locating tri-tips, just ask your butcher for a IMPS 185C. THey can look it up and it will tell them what they need to cut it. (This was a discussion a few years ago on a local radio AM program of all places...DJ was going to OK to visit family.)

Funny enough the best ones I ever cooked actually did (grilled) come from Costco.

Looking into getting into the smoking thing. Between now and Turkey Day I've got to get through 3 turkeys with no freezer to store them.
Bob, just think of it has a learning experience. You learned something from it and next time you'll know what not to do.

Jim- Nice tip about putting a hard sear on the tri-tip before placing it in the smoker. Going to have to give it a try!

That's what I love about SMF. Everyone is trying and/or doing different things and sharing that info. It makes it easier to step out of the "Traditional Thinking" box and trying something new and/or different.

Is the tri-tip worth it? I noticed last night that it was $9.99 Can/lb at a store, while a strip loin was $9.49 Can/lb. Given the choice, I'd take the strip loin.
$.02 from Dickeydoo, I've only done TT once. We thought a 3 finger thick top sirloin was a better value, but, why not have the best of both worlds? set up a ccoal fire for direct/indirect. put 2 or 3 mesquite mini logs on the fire and wait for them to burn about halfway down. Sear over the mesquite flame, move to indirect, cover and smother the flame, cook to desired internal temp. You get the smoke, and the sear, and a nice S.W. touch w/ the mesquite.

Sounds good to me.....but then what do I know about it?

:? :lol: That's not what you said when I suggested it on brisket! :lol: :lol:

On the serious side Dutch, I'm confused as to the true location of the tri tip muscle. The butcher @ the local grocery store told me it was the cap muscle off of the top sirloin. I've cut many a whole sirloin into steaks, and I didn't see any way to remove it and end up w/ that shape. do you know of any links that might show the exact location of it? I don't guess I really need to know, it's just one of those wanna know things, ya' know?

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