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Monday, October 15, 2012

California Barbecue Virginia Style - Tri-Tip

There is a triangular cut of beef from the tip of the sirloin called appropriately enough "tri-tip." It was made popular in California starting sometime in the late 1950's. Before that time, it was just another lean cut of beef ground up and made into hamburger.

Nowadays, it is a specialty of the Santa Maria area of California and for good reason. Cooked properly, it is a delicious cut of beef. For obvious reasons, there are only two tri-tip roasts per cow. Therefore, it can be difficult to find in many area local grocery stores. Ask your local butcher shop if you can't find it and I bet they can help you out.

Here is a great way to cook a delicious tri-tip roast.

Start with your grill setup for indirect cooking. I used charcoal and a couple of splits of white oak wood.

When the wood has burned down to hot coals, add the tri-tip rubbed down with a little sea salt, coarse ground black pepper, and granulated garlic.

Notice how far the meat is away from the heat source. I'm not grilling it; I'm barbecuing it at this point.

The cooking temp was about 300 degrees Fahrenheit using indirect heat.

Once the meat reached an internal temperature of about 127 - 130 degrees, I moved the meat directly over the coals just long enough to get a nice sear on both sides.

After searing it, let the meat rest for about 10 to 20 minutes then slice it into thin slices against the grain and serve. It's good sliced or on sandwiches.

Here is a delicious tri-tip slider with cheese, grilled peppers and onions.


  1. Could you please tell me where to find tri-tip in Maryland?

  2. Hi Robert:

    Checkout Restaurant Depot or Costco. There are several in and around MD. By the way, if you join the KCBS (kcbs.us), with your membership you get access to Restaurant Depot without having to pay an additional RD membership fee.

    Also, check out your local butcher. If they don't have tri-tip, I bet they can get it for you.

    Good luck!

  3. I say Hooah to tri tip. Had my parents send me some when I got to my first duty station in the Army

    1. Hi Willie:

      Thanks for your service! And, I'm happy to hear you got some good food at your duty station! You have to thank God for great parents which it sounds like you have!