Costco Tri Tip {Great Value and Easy to Cook!}

One of my favorite cuts of beef at Costco is the Tri Tip roast.  My Costco does not always have tri tips in stock but when they do it seems like they are always Prime Grade.

Keep reading and learn what this cut of beef is, why it is considered special and how I like to cook it.

What is a Tri Tip?

The tri tip comes from the bottom of the sirloin primal and gets its name from its triangular shape which results in it having three “corners”.

Prime Tri Tip at Costco

The tri tip is the “Sister Cut” to the picanha (Top Sirloin Cap Roast) which is located on the top of the sirloin primal.  Because the picanha has a slightly triangular shape it is often mistaken for the tri tip but they are very different cuts of beef.

Currently Costco is selling tri tip for $11.99 per pound which makes it a great value compared to the current prices for ribeyes and strip steaks.

The flavor profile of the tri tip is quite beefy and the meat is about “medium” on the tenderness scale.  The surface of a tri tip often looks like it has great marbling but the cut is usually very lean.

The Tri Tip is Blade Tenderized

My only serious complaint about the Costco meat department is that they blade tenderize any piece of beef that is not still in its cryovac packaging and the tri tip is no exception.

You can tell that the roast has been blade tenderized by the notation on the label.

Costco Blade Tenderizes the Tri Tip

Blade tenderization is the process of running meat through a machine that punches a bunch of small holes to break up the muscle fibers.

On one hand this is great because it makes the meat more tender.  On the other hand it introduces the risk of bacterial contamination which means that to be safe you should cook the meat to Medium (145F) instead of Medium Rare (135F).

I believe Costco blade tenderizes their steaks as an alternative to wet aging which allows them to reduce their turnover time.

How I Cook Tri Tip

Tri tip is usually associated with the California grilling scene where it is called a Santa Maria steak and cooked directly over high heat charcoal.

Here is a great video showing you how to cook a Santa Maria style tri tip.

I prefer to slow cook this roast on my pellet grill.

I will season the tri tip with Traeger’s Chili and Garlic dry rub then smoke it at 225F for about 90 minutes until it hits an internal temperature of 135-140F.

Tri Tip Cooking on a Pellet Grill

Slicing the Tri Tip

One of the most important things about the tri tip is that it will be the most tender when sliced against the grain.

While that might seem obvious, the trick is that the orientation of the grain does a subtle shift about halfway through the roast.  You can start out slicing against the grain only to realize later on that you are now slicing with the grain.

Take a minute to study the grain structure before you start slicing and adjust your slicing position as you work through the roast.  Figuring out the grain is not that hard as long as you are aware that it shifts.

Tri Tip Sliced Against the Grain

 

 

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