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Ultimate Cut for Texas Barbecue...Not the brisket?


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Ultimate Cut for Texas Barbecue...Not the brisket?

Greg Spence | Oct 21, 2001 03:49 PM

I've been doin' some work out back lately, experimenting with a new-to-me cut of beef called a tri-tip sirloin. Apparently, this cut is well known in and around Santa Monica, CA and I've heard about it for years. Naturally, I never gave the thought of California Barbecue much thought. It always seemed to me that they'd have something on the grill made out of tofu and other high-estrogen products. Nothing a real pit man in Texas would wanna mess with.

Then, a couple of years ago, I saw some tri-tip sirloins at Central Market here in town. I bought one and tried grillin' it low and slow, but it was awful lean and didn't really ring my bell. Then, about three weeks ago, Costco opened out here near the house and the butcher there was cuttin' up a fine looking Tri-tip.

Apparently, this cut is also called a bottom sirloin but is really part top sirloin and part sirloin tip. I've always considered the sirloin a second rate cut for 'cue (even out at Cooper's in Llano) but these here tri-tips from Costco are somethin' else.

They're choice grade beef (one notch below prime) and they're well marbled right through. In fact, they're so well marbled they look like prime. At Costco, they're $3.39 a pound and come two to a pack. The first one I grilled, low and slow, to a juicy perfection. I mean good and crusty outside and medium rare inside. This stuff was great! Hot off the grill and cold the next day for sandwiches, damn it was good.

So then I ventured into dangerous, barbecue-infidel territory. I put a couple on the pit instead of a brisket. I gave 'em about 7 hours at 210F and damn, these things were also great! Lots of marbling through the meat so they're really forgiving, little chance of a tough'un, just perfect.

Now, I recognize that part of the high art of Texas 'cue is turning boot-leather brisket into tender, succulent smoky perfection. But I'm tellin' ya'll that these tri-tips are worth fiddlin' around with.

Well, I've said my piece about these tri-tips, and I shore would like a little feedback. Maybe even a little good natured back-talk. Give 'em a try and let everyone know what you think. 'Course as Texans, you'll be lettin' us know what you think, anyway.

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