Tri Tip is sirloin! This little known, lean, highly flavorful small roast is cut from the bottom sirloin primal cut, and when cooked right, will ensure your backyard barbecue fame.
Although extremely popular in the Western States, it is scarce in many American markets. What a shame. It is very well known in the rest of the beef eating nations throughout the world. In North America, before the late 1950's, it was thrown in the hamburger pile, or packaged and sold as soup meat. For us sirloin steak lovers, what a waste! However...
In the competitive chili cooking circuit, it is much preferred over ground beef. Once you have tried it, you will immediately understand why!
In some areas it is known as Santa Maria Steak, bottom sirloin butt, or triangle roast, and you can get it through your butcher with the following reference to the IMPS/NAMP system:
NOTE: (IMPS refers to the USDA approved Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications (IMPS) for fresh beef, pork and lamb. NAMP refers to the North American Meat Processors Association guide and is standard familiar to all professional butchers in America and Canada.
IMPS/NAMP 185C & 185D
The right cut is essential!
For the Cookin' Cousins' taste, we much prefer the first reference cited (IMPS/NAMP 185C) as it includes an essential 1/4" "fat cap". This small fat layer is all important for flavor and moisture!
Do not buy a cheap grade!
The Cookin Cousins love to barbecue this tender, highly flavorful and relatively inexpensive sirloin cut, but...
You must buy the right grade! We're talking "choice", and never "select". Choice grade offers the fat marbling necessary for that incredible sirloin flavor, tenderness, and moisture highly prized by all barbecuers, and guests. Select grade does not.
You gotta cook 'em right! Please review The Six Secrets for the best tips to ensure your success, then...
Start with our Tri Tip Barbecue Recipe page, pick one of our proven recipes, fire-up the grill, and discover why our family and guests love to join us at our barbecue!