Beef tri-tip

Beef Tri-tip


The beef tri-tip has been called California's best kept secret. There, this triangle-shaped bottom sirloin roast gained popularity as part of the Santa Maria Barbecue. The tradition started in the community of Santa Maria along California's central coast where marinated charcoal-grilled beef tri-tip is served with pinquito beans, sourdough bread and salsa.

Once popular only in California, the tri-tip can now be purchased in most supermarkets. This lean, versatile roast can be prepared whole, cut into steaks or cut into strips for stir-fry or woven kabobs. Its distinctive triangle shape makes this flavorful, boneless cut easy to recognize. The shape is the result of separating the three muscles of the bottom sirloin: the ball tip; flap or flat meat; and the tri-tip. If you have trouble finding it in your market, just ask your meat retailer.

A beef tri-tip roast usually weighs 1-1/2 to 2 pounds and is about 2 inches thick. A 1-1/2 pound roast makes six (3-ounce cooked, trimmed) servings; the 2-pound roast makes eight. A tender cut, the tri-tip does not require marinating for tenderization. However, prior to cooking, it can be marinated, or rubbed with seasonings to add flavor.

Cooking Methods

Tri-Tip Roast—A whole tri-tip roast can be cooked by oven roasting, boiling or grilling. The unique triangle shape of the tri-tip provides varying degrees of doneness.

Tri-Tip Steaks—The entire tri-tip or a portion of it can be cut into steaks. Steaks cut 3/4 to 1 inch thick are ideal for panbroiling, broiling or grilling. Tri-tip steaks are sometimes called "culotte" steaks.

Tri-Tip Strips—The remaining portion of the tri-tip can be cut into 1/8-inch thick strips for stir-frying. Thicker strips (1/4 inch) can be woven onto skewers to make grilled or broiled kabobs.

Beef Subs with Roasted Vegetable Relish

Total preparation and cooking time: 1-1/4 hours

  • 1-1/2 to 2 pound beef tri-tip roast
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-calorie mayonnaise
  • 1 to 2 small cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 to 8 crusty sourdough rolls (4 to 5 inches long), split


In small bowl, combine mayonnaise and garlic; cover and refrigerate.

Trim fat from beef roast. Place roast on grid over medium coals. Grill 35 to 45 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally. Remove roast when meat thermometer registers 140 degrees for medium-rare, 155 degrees for medium. Let stand 10 minutes before carving. (The temperature will continue to rise to 145 degrees for medium-rare, 160 degrees for medium.)

Meanwhile prepare Roasted Vegetable Relish.

Carve roast across the grain into thin slices; season with salt and pepper, as desired. Spread mayonnaise mixture on bottom half of rolls. Arrange equal amount of beef over mayonnaise; top with vegetable relish. Close with top half of rolls.

sweet peppers  
Roasted Vegetable Relish
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1 medium red, yellow or green bell pepper,
         cut into thin strips
  • 1 medium onion, cut lengthwise into thin wedges
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


Heat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly spray 15 X 10-inch jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Place vegetables in pan. Combine oil, vinegar, rosemary and pepper; drizzle over vegetables, tossing to coat. Roast in 450 degrees oven 15 to 17 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Serve with Beef Subs.

Makes 6 to 8 servings (334 calories per 1/6 of recipes).

Provided by the National Cattlemens's Beef Association

This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

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This page modified September 2007

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