What is Tri Tip – The Best Beef Cut You’ve Never Heard Of

Welcome to the world of barbecue. Explore an exciting and flavorful cut of beef that is gaining in popularity. 

What is Tri Tip

Tri Tip is a cut of beef from the bottom sirloin with a triangular shape. It is usually about 2 to 3 pounds in weight but can range from 1 to 4 pounds depending on the animal’s size.  It has a distinctive flavor that is a combination of beef and pork. It has gained popularity among both professional chefs and amateur cooks. In this blog, we’ll explore what is Tri Tip – from its definition and origins to techniques for cooking it perfectly and what to serve it with. Let’s get started!

Additional Resources:

Visit our post on the “Best Offset Smoker” for additional details on how to select the best offset smoker for your requirements. It offers insightful commentary and suggestions to support your decision-making. We Also reviewed budget-friendly Offset smokers under 500. Have a read and go for the Best option that fulfills your needs and requirements.

What is Tri Tip?

The name “Tri-Tip” comes from the triangular shape of the cut, and it can range in size from a few ounces to as much as three or four pounds. The flavor is unique, with a sweet and slightly smoky taste, unlike any other cut of beef. Grilling, roasting, and slow cooking are all excellent options when it comes to this choice. It’s becoming popular for those who prefer leaner cuts of beef.

The tender cut with good marbling throughout, imparting a juicy, rich flavor. It is an economical option when you want a steak cut of beef. It can be purchased with the fat cap still intact or with the fat trimmed off. The fat cap helps keep the meat moist and flavorful, so if you grill or roast the Tri-Tip, it’s best to leave it on.

It’s also easy to prepare and great for any meal. When grilling, marinate it in a dry rub or a wet marinade. If you choose to dry rub it, make sure to Coat the meat with the mixture thoroughly. This helps to give it a nice crust. After that, you can either cook it on a grill or in the oven. 

If you cook it in the oven, heat it at low heat for approximately 1 hour. This will ensure that the meat comes out tender and juicy. Before smoking, you can also stuff or wrap it in bacon or herbs to give it some extra flavor.

History of Tri-Tip 

The history of Tri Tip is long and storied, dating back centuries. The origin of the cut of beef is said to have stemmed from the Basque immigrants who arrived in California’s Central Valley during the mid-19th century. The Basque immigrants were known for their traditional cooking methods. The Tri Tip was one of the first cuts of beef popularized by the community.

The tri-tip got its start in the early 19th century in California. It was an inexpensive cut of beef and was rarely used for grilling or barbecuing because it was believed to be tough and flavorless. At the time, it was simply known as the bottom sirloin and was often used for stewing or grinding into hamburger. 

It wasn’t until the 1950s that the tri-tip was enjoyed as a steak. A Santa Maria barbecue joint named Jocko’s Steakhouse is credited with making the tri-tip famous. They grilled them over red oak wood and give unique flavor when you serve it with a special bbq sauce. 

Since then, the tri-tip has become a beloved cut of beef for barbecuing and grilling. It is widespread across the United States and commonly served in Mexican and Latin American cuisine. This is also commonly used in stir-fries, tacos, and sandwiches. 

Nutrition Information of Tri-Tip

Nutrition information of Tri Tip is important to consider when you want a healthy diet.It is often sold trimmed of fat, making it a great choice for those looking to watch their calorie intake.

When it comes to Tri Tip nutrition, 4 oz tri-tip calories provide 175 calories, a perfect way to maintain or even lose weight.

This lean cut is known for its lean protein content. A single 4 oz tri tip contains approximately 19 grams of protein. This lean protein source is a great way to meet your daily protein requirement

Protein helps build and repair muscle and supports several vital functions in the body. 

It contains 7.5 grams of carbohydrates and 4.3 grams of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is vital for healthy digestion and can help with weight management.

Tri Tip is also a great source of iron. One three-ounce serving provides 6.5 milligrams of iron or 36% of the recommended daily value. Iron is an essential mineral for the body and is necessary for healthy red blood cells, which transport oxygen around the body.

Tri-tip also has low cholesterol and saturated fat. One  4 oz tri tip contains only 2.5 mg cholesterol and approx 4.5 grams of fat. Because of its low-fat content, Tri Tip is an excellent choice to reduce fat intake.

This cut is also an excellent source of B vitamins. B vitamins are essential for energy production, healthy blood cells, and nerve function.

Regarding nutrition, it is important to remember that the fat content will vary depending on the cooking method used. For example, grilling Tri Tip may add a few extra calories due to the fat used during cooking. To reduce the fat content, you may want to consider roasting, poaching, or braising instead.

Is Tri Tip healthy?

Tri-tip is a healthy and delicious cut of beef that can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. It’s an excellent source of protein, iron, zinc, and other vitamins and minerals, and it’s surprisingly low in fat and calories. So, if you’re looking for a flavorful and nutritious way to enjoy beef, give a tip a try!

Cooking Techniques 

This versatile cut of beef is perfect for grilling and roasting, smoking, braising, and even stir-frying. There are several options to use it as a meal.


Grilling is one of the best ways to cook tri-tip. Simply season the meat with your favorite spices and herbs, and place it on the preheated grill. Let it cook until it reaches your desired level of doneness. Let the meat rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.


Roasting is a great way to get juicy and flavorful tri-tip. Preheat your oven to 375°F and brush the tri-tip with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and place it in the preheated oven. Roast the tri-tip for 20-25 minutes.


Smoking is a slow and low method of cooking that gives tri-tip an intense smoky flavor. To smoke tri-tip, rub the meat with a dry rub and place it in an airtight container. Put the container in the smoker and smoke the tri-tip for 3-4 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 140°F. Let it rest before slicing.


Braising is a great way to cook the tri-tip if you want a more tender and juicy result. Season with a dry rub and let sit for at least an hour. Heat a pot oven over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Sear the tri-tip on all sides until golden brown it will take about 6-8 minutes. Add enough liquid just to cover the meat and bring to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 1-2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 135 degrees F.


Another great way to cook a tri-tip is to stir-fry it. You can marinate it or season it however you like and then stir-fry it in a hot pan with a bit of oil until it’s cooked through. This is a great way to get a lot of flavor into the meat without overcooking it.

Stir-frying is a fast and tasty way to cook tri-tip. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cut the tri-tip into thin slices and season with salt and pepper. Add the tri-tip to the skillet and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until the meat is cooked through. Serve the stir-fried tri-tip with your favorite side dishes.

Serving Suggestions for Tri-Tip

Tri-tip is a great addition to any meal. It can be served as the main course, as an appetizer, or even as part of a sandwich. Here are a few serving suggestions for tri-tip:

  • Serve it as the main course with a side of roasted vegetables or a salad.
  • Slice it into thin strips and serve it as an appetizer with a dipping sauce.
  • Slice it thin and serve it on a sandwich with barbecue sauce and cheese.
  • Slice it and serve it with a side of mashed potatoes or rice.
  • Slice it and serve it over a bed of greens or in a wrap.

Read out more about How to smoke Beef Beacon


The tri-tip has become an increasingly popular cut of beef in recent years due to its affordability and versatility. It is a great value for the price and provides an excellent source of lean protein. It is also effortless to prepare and provides a unique flavor profile that can be enhanced with different seasonings and sauces.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *