Tri-Tip Is An Affordable And Flavorful Cut To Consider For Your Next Roast Beef

Whether you like to fire up your grill to cook a juicy roast beef or use the more predictable steady heat of your oven, tri-tip is a top beef roast choice for both flavor and a price that won't break the bank. Executive chef David Rose of Omaha Steaks is a fan of the cut, and he's a guy who knows his beef. Among all of the large cuts of beef that can be cooked and sliced for dinner or your next roast beef sandwich, tri-tip has some unique attributes to consider.

One huge advantage of a tri-tip roast is there's very little fat or tendon on the outside, which makes it very easy to manage at home. There's no advanced trimming to perform — just season and cook. The roast has all the flavor of sirloin with less tendon and fat. But this cut of lean beef can become rather dry if it's overcooked, so you'll want to keep an eye on the temperature while you're roasting. Rose mentions that it's best cooked no more than medium, keeping the internal temperature below about 135 degrees Fahrenheit. It's also important to cut this steak across the grain for tender eating, and you'll notice the direction of the grain shifts due to the triangle shape.

Once you've found a tri-tip, roast it slow and low

If you live on the West Coast, you've likely seen a triangular-shaped tri-tip at your meat counter. In other parts of the U.S., this cut might go by the name California cut or Santa Maria steak, a clue to where the roast first became popular. It's also known as a bottom sirloin butt in some places, which describes the anatomy more directly. Your butcher might cut the roast into steaks or long strips for easier cooking, but you can ask for the whole roast if you want a nice presentation for slicing.

Tri-tip is the signature cut of beef in Santa Maria, California, which is ranch and cattle country. There you'll find this roast cooked outside over local oak charcoal on a grill with an adjustable height grate to control how fast the meat cooks. Roasting at lower heat ensures the interior of the roast reaches the right degree of doneness without overcooking the exterior. At home, you can use indirect heat on your grill, or a convenient reverse-sear technique in your oven to get the same effect. Tri-tip roasts are usually around 2 pounds of delicious beef — but don't worry if that's more roast than you think you need, tri-tip is perfect for planned leftovers.