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Slightly OT - Why is Tri Tip so uncommon?

I made some Santa Maria style tri tip last night (posted pics here in another thread), and it got me thinking: what's the deal with tri tip being so seldom seen beyond the west coast.  I grew up in California and, with the exception of a 4 year stint in the Northeast for college, have lived here my whole life.  I remember when I was a kid going up and down the coast and stopping at these great little places--markets or roadside restaurants--that would have a pit BBQ outside or a Santa Maria style grill with a bunch of tri tip cooking away.  It'd be a few bucks to get a plate or a tri tip sandwich, both of which were invariably exceptional.  I mean ridiculously good.  Anyway, there's a place nearby my that does that every weekend: sets up a pit BBQ and has a bunch of tri tip going on Saturdays and Sundays (not to mention ribs, brisket, etc).  They also sell tri tip at the butcher's inside the store; that's where I got last night's roast.  Anyway, my wife and I were eating the tri tip last night, and I just kept thinking this is honestly one of the best cuts of meat out there.  It's relatively inexpensive, and it's very easy to get right.  Yet, for whatever reason, it's pretty scarce across the country.  A whole lot of people beyond the west coast have never even heard of it.  I can't figure out why that is.  So strange.  All I can say is that if you're one of those people who have had the misfortune of never trying tri tip, seek some out.  Sear the outside then throw in some oak and smoke it at 400 until it reaches your desired internal temp.  It's just so good.  And for everyone else, I'd be curious to hear your opinions: why has tri tip not caught on?
Southern California

Comments

  • henapplehenapple Posts: 14,663
    Can't find it here... Except at the butcher. Hella expensive.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • A local butcher here in Va Beach has them. He said they were pretty much a west coast  " 'California dude' thing dude". They are available here but not in grocery stores. I did one a few months back and thought it to be one of the best pieces of steak like cow I've ever egged. I think it was $7.00/lb.
    Hood Stars, Wrist Crowns and Obsession Dobs!


  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 7,066
    I think most parts of the country just grind it up. Not sure why.

    Richardson, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

  • It's part of the sirloin. It just gets roasted with the rest of it.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • BotchBotch Posts: 3,351
    Back when I was in the ICBM business I'd always grab some tri tip barbeque when visiting Vandenberg.  
    I don't know why it never caught on elsewhere, either…. 
    :-??
    _____________________________________________
     
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
     
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • bicktravbicktrav Posts: 467
    Yeah, it's just such a good piece of meat; it's relative scarcity makes no sense. Pretty much everyone that has it loves it. @berndcrisp your anecdote is a great example of that. You' think given the accolades it gets, it would have caught on nationwide, but it remains almost exclusively Californian. You'd think the cows in Cali are the only ones that have it or something. It's really one of the best cuts there is.
    Southern California
  • RRPRRP Posts: 16,111
    edited November 2013
    Having seen this discussed several times before the most logical answer is a matter of supply. Most people argue there is only one tri-tip per cow, although an occasional person will argue there are 2 per cow. Point is (no pun intended) that means you will seldom see them sold in grocery stores and can only find them in butcher shops. I also have heard tri-tips are frequently kept by the butcher for his family!
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 6,862
    Actually found a couple in a local Kroger a few weeks ago-never before and not since.  Would not have grabbed two if not for this forum.  Guess it's kinda like flat-iorns elsewhere.FWIW-
    Louisville   L & S BGEs 
  • Oh, tri-tip is there.  It is just disguised as hamburger.
    Morro Bay, CA
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 14,663
    I used to have to ask for flat iron.... Maybe it'll change. If it's a California thing.. Does it come from the left side of the cow?

    Lols jk broski...
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • LitLit Posts: 4,096
    I can find them all over Georgia. Costco always has them. They are expensive here usually around $6 a pound. As LS stated above its just a part of the sirloin that most places don't seperate. A friend of mine always goes to the same butcher and a couple months ago the guy showed us around the back of the shop and peeled a couple skirts we were buying and then took out a whole loin and separated out the tri tip. There was no knife needed there is a fat vein that separates it from the rest of the loin he just pulled it off and trimmed it. It comes off and looks just like a boomerang shape.
  • bicktravbicktrav Posts: 467
    @RRP I get the point about limited supply, but it doesn't explain the regional prominence you find in California. Tri tip is not hard to come by out here. Elsewhere they seem to be a rarity. And @morrobayrich I hope they aren't being ground into burger meat outside Cali. That would be a tremendous waste of tremendous meat.
    Southern California
  • They have tri tip at my Costco every time I go there.
    __________________________________________

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Just west of Austintatious

  • calikingcaliking Posts: 7,124
    They have tri tip at my Costco every time I go there.
    yep, here too. Although only noted them being available in the past 1-2years.

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 14,663

    They have tri tip at my Costco every time I go there.

    You don't make your own?
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • henapple said:
    They have tri tip at my Costco every time I go there.
    You don't make your own?


    No, cows make it.  I realize that is an advanced concept, but if you make it to Salado, I will give you private instructions.
    __________________________________________

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Just west of Austintatious

  • henapplehenapple Posts: 14,663
    I bet you will...
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • This guy is pretty dull but these are worth watching

    http://how2heroes.com/videos/techniques/beef-education-series-breaking-down-beef

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • RRP said:
    Having seen this discussed several times before the most logical answer is a matter of supply. Most people argue there is only one tri-tip per cow, although an occasional person will argue there are 2 per cow. Point is (no pun intended) that means you will seldom see them sold in grocery stores and can only find them in butcher shops. I also have heard tri-tips are frequently kept by the butcher for his family!
    There are two. The only cut I know that is singular is hanger. That is the diaphragm muscle. Unless you count oxtail and noses and one other part that doesn't come from cows.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • billyraybillyray Posts: 1,122
    There are 2 per cow, one on each side. Depending on how the hind quarter is broken down, some places will make a sirloin tip roast which has part of the tri-tip attached, so no tri-tip roast by itself. Back in the 60's when I was cutting meat we always ground it, and I'm in Calif.


    Felton, Ca. 2-LBGE, 1-Small and waiting on a mini
  • billyraybillyray Posts: 1,122
    Another side note, my son graduated from Ole Miss in 2004. We would go back for home games and cook babybacks and the tri-tips we brought with us on his Weber gasser and take to the Grove before the game. Nobody from back there new what tri-tip were, as people came by our spot we would share some. Everyone thought they we aweome. Archie stopped by and he had some, thought he was going to ask me to marry him  :)). We played with the thought of getting a food truck and calling them Rebel sandwiches. Would have probably made a fortune, but it's only money.
    Felton, Ca. 2-LBGE, 1-Small and waiting on a mini
  • BotchBotch Posts: 3,351
    edited November 2013
    henapple said:
    Does it come from the left side of the cow? 
    North of the Equator, yes.   :D
    _____________________________________________
     
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
     
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • I hate that Argentine stuff. It's always pointing to the middle of the plate

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

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