What is a Tri Tip?

Discussion in 'Beef' started by richoso1, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    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.

  2. bbq bubba

    bbq bubba Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Pics would be helpful too.
  3. guvna

    guvna Smoking Fanatic

    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.
  4. sea_munky

    sea_munky Smoke Blower

    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:
  5. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Bumped up after adding pics of Tri Tip trimmed and whole, along with location on animal.
  6. bigwayne

    bigwayne Smoke Blower

    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.
  7. white cloud

    white cloud Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    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.
  8. stimpson111

    stimpson111 Newbie

  9. sea_munky

    sea_munky Smoke Blower

    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:
  10. solar

    solar Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    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. [​IMG]

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