Sometime in the late 1950’s a Safeway butcher and meat manager in Santa Maria, CA, Bob Schutz, experimented with a cut of meat that usually was either cut into chunks of stew meat or ground up as hamburger – one day, they had an overabundance of both and he decided to try it on the spit with the top block sirloins they cooked at the store. His experiment resulted in the discovery of the Tri Tip – a cut of meat with a texture and flavor all its own. And I’m glad he experimented because this is my FAVORITE on the barbecue for the following 2 reasons…1) I don’t grill, so that means my husband John cooks that night and 2) the flavor explosion of the BBQ Tri Tip is 2nd to none.
We have both gas and charcoal grills, but this particular meat, in my opinion, demands charcoal. My husband has mastered the charcoal grill over the years and here are his top tips for you to do the same.
1. Purchase a Tri Tip Roast – we have the best luck at Sam’s Club and Costco – but most meat counters carry this cut – ask your butcher if you can’t locate it easily.
2. Purchase Mesquite Wood Chips – trust me on this one…
3. When you are ready to barbecue, our suggestion for a tasty yet simple rub is: Coarse Salt, Garlic Powder and Ground Black Pepper – we don’t measure out the seasonings, but coat the meat generously – to date we have never over seasoned.
Time to Barbecue!!!
Prior to starting your barbecue, soak your mesquite wood chips in water for at least 1/2 hour – the longer the better, John usually soaks them for 1 hour. Fire up the charcoal – and another top tip is indirect heat – our Weber grill has charcoal separators, so we can move the coals to either side of the grill and not have it directly below what we are barbecuing. Once you have your coals ready, place your Tri Tip on the grill and then add the mesquite wood chips you have been soaking evenly to both sides of your charcoal, replace the lid and let the grill take care of the rest.
John then let’s the Tri Tip cook for 20 minutes, then he turns it over once. Let it cook for another 10 minutes, check the temperature with a meat thermometer. Depending on how done you like your meat – in our experience 140 degrees the meat is medium and 135 degrees is medium rare (which I prefer). Remove the Tri Tip from the grill, wrap it in foil and let it rest for at least 10 minutes prior to cutting and serving. When you are ready to serve, it is suggested to cut against the grain. Enjoy!