The Truth About Tri Tip | A Sizzling and Saucy Guide to Steak Nirvana

The tri tip, originally called a California cut, has become increasing popular because of its superior flavor.

The tri-tip comes from the tri-tip roast, which is part of the sirloin sub-primal cut. It is a very economic cut that is full of flavor and far less expensive than other, equally, flavorful steaks. Usually, the trick-tip has excellent marbling that runs through it and can be VERY tender if you don't overcook it. In theory, this cut of beef is BUILT for the grill.

What IS a Tri-Tip Steak? 

In an earlier post, I talked about the tri tip being a triangular cut; thus the name tri tip. It can also be known as the Santa Maria cut since the California town made it famous at their annual barbecue festival. 

The boneless steak usually averages about 1 inch thick and can be lean and tender, with a decent amount of marbling. 

History of the Tri-Tip

The "origin story" of the tri tip is somewhat uneventful. However, it does have a pretty cool past. There are several sources that claim they founded the cut and/or name, but there is no concrete evidence. 

However, in 1915 the cut gained popularity in the US, being called the "triangle cut". Ron Brough, a butcher in the US Army during WWII and working in Southern California, claims to have made the first "triangle cut". This was a way to garner extra beef for the troops by reorienting certain cuts and eliminating the scrap.

The practice soon caught on with Brough's Army colleague's and after the War, it was being served in many butcher shops and restaurants around Southern California. Though many claim to have marketed it as the tri tip, Brough is widely believed to be the curator of the cut.

In the late 1950's it became a local specialty in Santa Maria, CA. Along with top sirloin, the tri tip is considered to be central Santa Maria-style barbecue. 

How Do You Cook a Tri-Tip?

EASY! Over a fire! All jokes aside, you can really cook this multiple ways. One thing that has become popular is a reverse sear, smoking it low and slow, or even roasting it in the oven.

I have done a few different types over the years and the I just did a cook with it hanging over the coals in my Pit Barrel Cooker. I have to tell you, this is my new preferred method. 


The "Saucy" Detail

One thing I have seen ALL over social media and I tried with the cook is making a chimichurri sauce with it. This is where the "saucy" details come into play. The recipe I used was:

  • ½ cup chopped parsley - flat-leaf parsley

    I made this in my kitchen-aid food processor on the chop setting.


    You can pure' it, but it won't have the texture you are looking for.

    As far as the steak goes, I went for an internal temp of 130ºF and let it rest for ten mins. It was a LITTLE overcooked in my cook, took it to 135ºF internal, but it still was juicy AND delicious! 

    Check out my video and leave a comment below on this recipe! I hope ups enjoy this blog. Buy some merch, subscribe to my channel, and until next time make sure you eat well and do well.

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