What is a Tri Tip?
The tri tip roast is a triangular cut of beef that, when cooked correctly, can be sublime. It has become a symbol of not only California's BBQ traditions, but its culture and lifestyle as well. The weather in California is undoubtedly some of the best in the country and people here grill year round. That is the beauty of a tri tip roast, it doesn't require injections, or long marinades to make it good. It already is good and you can get away with grilling one with simply some salt and pepper. You get home from work, get your coals ready, throw it on the grill and everybody is happy.
This cut of beef is strongly associated with Santa Maria, but it is cooked all over the state. Its presence is strongest in the region of the California Central Coast in counties like Ventura, Santa Barbara, Monterey and of course San Luis Obispo. It should be no surprise that these areas had historically known for their cattle all the way back to when California was part of Spain. There was a time where tri tip was not readily available outside of California, but because of its growing popularity it can now be found outside of the golden state. The standard way of cooking a tri tip is over direct heat using red oak coals. It can be, and in some cases should be, cooked using indirect heat. It's not so thick that it's unruly and delivers a distinct beef flavor that plays super-nice with rubs and marinades.