If you’re not from the Santa Maria, California you might not know about the tri-tip. This crescent shaped cut of beef from the sirloin is very lean, but big in beef flavor. Tri-tip professionals will tell you preparing this iconic dish is simplicity itself. Just season the roast with salt, pepper and a bit of garlic and grill to perfection. In Santa Maria, they use red oak logs and a special grill that elevates to find the perfect cooking temperature. Slice it thin against the grain, serve with grilled garlic bread, a rough cut salsa, traditional pinquito beans and you’ll have an unforgettable feast for your favorite crowd.
The tri-tip is a natural product and the actual weight may vary by .25 pounds.
Beef Grading 101
This tri-tip is USDA Choice, the second highest level of marbling recognized by the USDA.
Beef sold in the U.S. is graded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). There are eight total grades and Choice is the second highest level.
The USDA describes Choice as “high quality, but has less marbling than Prime” which means our beef at this level is excellent. Whenever possible, we work to use beef from the top one third of Choice for the highest quality possible within the grade.
Marbling, or intramuscular fat, is the most important factor used to grade beef in the U.S. and around the world. This is determined by a visual inspection of the amount and distribution of intramuscular fat between the 12th and 13th rib. Historically, this single inspection provides a correct indicator of the entire carcass.
The tri-tip is cut from the bottom of the sirloin primal. This cut consists of the tensor fasciae latae muscle and is trimmed to be free of any connective tissue. It is located near the bavette and ball-tip roast, so it is has the lean characteristics of these items. The tri-tipis named for its general triangular shape and is thick and requires cooking at lower temperatures. Although it can be cut into steaks, it is at its best when roasted whole.
Fast Fact: When cut into steaks, a tri-tip is often menued as Newport Steak. In France, the tri-tip is known as aguillote baronne, but when in Brazil, ask for maminha.