Anyone who grills or barbecues, knows something about Tri-Tips, and sometimes just enough to be dangerous. There is a lot more to know about Tri-tips than you might think!
Let’s start with one of the most important aspects of any piece of meat. That is the USDA Grade. For those of you who ae somewhat knowledgeable about the USDA Grading system, this might be a slight review. In the supermarkets the USDA grading system starts at the bottom with USDA Select. This grade is, in my opinion, not fit to eat or serve your family. You will find this in many, if not most markets. The meat graded select is super lean, no marbling, limp, and what’s worse it is tough, chewy, and has little rich flavor. What broke people like about Select is that it is really cheap compared to higher grades. Take it from me, the money your save just isn’t worth the misery of a lousy piece of meat. Try never to buy USDA Select graded beef. You WILL be sorry. (Unless you are making jerky!)
The next grade is USDA Choice, which has been degraded horribly over the last couple of decades. Nowadays, USDA Choice spans 5 different yields and is a total gamble. It is reported that 20% of all customers who buy Choice beef are disappointed. If you are not buying a Certified Premium USDA Choice product, it is not much better than Select. CAB or Certified Angus Beef, is a generally decent grade which is always a good compromise when you cannot get USDA Prime Beef. But don’t be fooled, just because beef says Angus does not mean it is of a high grade. Their is plenty of low grade, Select, and low choice Angus in the market. So let’s start by recommending only USDA Choice Certified Angus Beef (CAB) and of course USDA Prime, which is always the best you can get.
Now you have a good grade selected, CAB or Prime; now onto trimmed, peeled or untrimmed. If you see “peeled” Tri-Tip, then the price is higher, and the butcher or packer threw away most of the flavor of a great Tri-Tip. When cut into steaks, the Tri-Tip will give you a steak with no fat on the edge which gives any piece of meat that delicious additional richness and flavor you want. Peeled Tri-Tips are the most ridiculous invention in recent meat history (Besides the Tomahawk Steak).
The next potential scam regarding Tri-Tips is the untrimmed Tri-Tips. You will see these on sale really cheap! This is because the store is making you pay for all of the waste of unwanted fat. All Tri-Tips should have some fat cap, but the butcher has removed excess fat so you pay only for what is going to be eaten. Untrimmed Tri-Tips can have up to as much as 40-50% extra fat. So, if you buy bargain Tri-Tips for say $4.99-$5.99, then after removing all the waste, your price could be as much as double. This is the case with bags of Tri-Tips. The price looks great, until you trim off 4-5 pounds of pure fat; and there goes your savings. Be careful when buying untrimmed bags of Tri-Tips, or any bulk items. You could be getting a lot less meat, and way more fat than you bargained for, making your great deal into a bit of a rip-off.
At this point you realize that you should buy only USDA Choice CAB or Prime Tri-Tips that are trimmed! No Select, no untrimmed, and certainly no Peeled Tri-Tips should enter your shopping basket, you will be sorry!
At a real butcher shop, Tri-tips are always cheaper than Tri-Tip Steaks or Coulotte Steaks. So, you can have your Tri-Tips cut into great steaks at no extra charge, and save some money. At many Markets you get a better deal on 2,3 or more. Get one whole and one cut-up and you can save some money. Cutting your own Tri-tips into steaks could be a mistake if you don’t do it correctly. Be careful to cut directly against the grain. That sounds simple but the Tri-Tip’s shape confuses a lot of people, especially after it is cooked. Note: A cut-up Tri-Tip will generally yield, if done correctly, 4-5 small pieces and 2-3 nice size pieces, depending on the size.
To save yourself from low grades, peeled, untrimmed, poorly cut or generally any bad Tri-Tip experience just make sure to come to Lakeview Supermarket and Deli, your locally owned, award winning, Nationally recognized Outstanding Independent meat retailer (Best in the Nation 2018). At Lakeview, you are not a customer, you are a client; under the care, supervision and guidance of a trusted professional. When it comes to meat, nobody does it better! Stop buy and pick up our Tri-Tip Information sheet, complete with a cutting photo!