What is Tri-Tip Steak?

Do you want to prepare some juicy steak that takes only a short time to cook? If yes, you won’t go wrong with tri-tip beef steak, be it grilled or roasted.

No matter how little time you have to prepare a delicious and tasty meal, you’ll finish cooking on time. The steak takes only a short time to prepare, allowing you more time to enjoy your delicacy.

A delicious tri-tip roast will leave you salivating for more. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about this type of beef steak and how to prepare it, including a few recipes for inspiration.

What Exactly is Tri-Tip Steak?

Cut from beneath the sirloin, tri-tip steak is beef cut in the shape of a triangle, measuring about 1 inch in thickness, with a tapered tip. The boneless tri-tip is popular for its great flavor: tender and lean with little marbling of fat.

The steak is popular in California’s southern regions and is often mistaken for Brazilian picanha (round steak) or brisket. However, tri-tip steak isn’t anything like brisket, which is obtained from beneath the chuck on the front side of a cow.

Tri-tip steak has its origin in America during the 19th century when, relegated to ground form, it was popularly used to prepare hamburgers, originally known as Hamburg steaks.

In the 1950s in California’s Santa Maria Valley, the original owner of the Santa Maria Market, Bob Schutz, prepared the meat and ate it like steak. The outcome, called Santa Maria Barbecue, became popular among Americans from then onwards.

Other Names for Tri-Tip Steak

Tri-tip steak is cut into multiple roast pieces in the shape of a triangle. As a result, it’s known as a triangle steak. Other popular names of tri-tip steak include a bottom sirloin butt, a California cut, a “poor man’s brisket,” or a Newport steak.

Where This Cut Comes from

The beef steak cut is obtained from a cow’s tri-tip roast found beneath the sub-primal cut of the sirloin. It comes from the bottom sirloin, explaining its popularity as a delicious roast.

What Does Tri-tip Steak Taste Like?

This beef steak is flavorful and more cost-effective than most steaks with similar flavors, such as ribeye. The marbling inside the meat adds to its great flavor. The tender meat doesn’t need overcooking.

Tri-tip steak has a tender chew and a beefy taste. The small amount of fat in the lean meat cut gives it a buttery taste. It’s best when you marinate it for at least two hours, for optimal flavoring.

Where to Buy Tri-tip Steak

Most popular in California, the tri-tip steak isn’t available in most regions across the United States since butchers in different areas cut it differently. Visit a local butcher or check the meat section of your grocery store for tri-tip steak.

Although you can find the steak in other regions, it probably goes by a different name. You can also search it by the names culotte steak, Santa Maria, California Cut, or Newport steak. Any experienced butcher can cut out tri-strip steak for you.

You may also find reputable retailers or farms online that deliver tri-tip steak. When buying online, make sure that the beef is from grass-fed cows.

Cooking Methods

Grilling and stovetop cooking over a hot skillet are the most common cooking methods for tri trip steak. The versatile beef cut is lean, flavorful, tender, and more cost-effective than other types of steak. Grilling gives the steak an aromatic taste.

Nutrition & Calories

The tri-tip steak contains 220 calories, 25 g protein, 4.8 g SAT fat, 5.9 mg zinc, and 3.1 mg iron per serving. Furthermore, it goes with almost any dish for a tasty dining experience.

Recipes for Tri-Tip Steak

Tri-tip steak varies in flavor from one region to another, ranging from Asia to the Southwestern areas of the U.S. Marinate your steak at room temperature with red wine and garlic for added depth and taste.

Make sure you slice against the grain of your steak (Make sure to read: How To Cut Steak Like a Pro) whenever you want to serve a tri-tip steak. When cooked, the steak also can also serve as a key ingredient in sandwiches and tacos.

Some popular recipes include:

  • The Southwestern Tri-Tip
  • Tri-Tip Steak Tacos
  • Caramelized Onion and Tri-Tip Sandwiches
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About the author

Adam can tell you the difference between a flank steak and skirt steak and any other cut of meat. He loves sharing his knowledge of steaks with everyone, ensuring you get the perfect steak every time.