Tri-tip is a great piece of meat to smoke and slow cook or grill. A lot of people are not familiar with the type of meat or how to go about cooking it. Tri-tip is a newer cut of meat that is being used in homes and restaurants across the United States.
The tri-tip is a cut of beef from the bottom sirloin, it is a small triangular muscle that is usually 1.5 to 2.5 lbs per roast.
Tri-tip was originally used for hamburger or for stews or soup because butchers considered it to be a waste to display because there is only one cut per side of beef. Now, because carving is done by packers, it is more available in meat sections. In 1950, it became popular in Central California as the “Santa Maria Steak”. It is found in the New York area as a New Port Steak, throughout Europe, Mexico and South America. This often overlooked piece of meat is not only relatively inexpensive, but also very flavorful and has become a favorite amongst those in the know.
With the tri-tip being a lean piece of meat, you must be careful not to overcook it. There are several ways to prepare tri-tip one way being “The Santa Maria style”. This style of cooking tri-tip is to rub with salt, pepper, garlic and other seasonings, put over red wood and smoked then baked in an oven and finished on a grill, then sliced thinly across the grain for serving with BBQ sauce. There are many tips and ideas on how to cook tri-tip to perfection. Always bring your steaks to room temperature before you cook it, this helps keep the steaks cook evenly. Tri-tip is great with a meat tenderizer and dry rub seasoning applied before cooking. If you have a way to smoke the meat before you grill it, that really enhances the flavor. Put the roast on the grill and be patient, try not to stab, poke or flip the meat too often, as the juices will escape letting out flavor and drying out the meat. After you have cooked the meat (we recommend medium rare to medium), let the roast rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. You can slice the steak thinly or cut into 1/2 inch steaks. We love to serve tri-tip with a great BBQ on the side. Happy Cooking!