Tri-Tip Roast / Steak
[#185D, #1185C/D (steaks), Santa Maria Steak, Newport Steak, Triangle Steak, Culotte (not quite correct)]
This is an elongated, triangular cut from the bottom of the Sirloin adjacent to the Flank and Round. The Tri-Tip steak is cut crosswise from this section.
This cut is very popular all along the West Coast, centering in Santa Maria, 170 miles north of Los Angeles, but is not well known in most of the country. In New York, Florence Prime Meats has popularized this cut under the name "Newport Steak", named for the triangular logo on a pack of Newport cigarettes.
Supply is limited because there are only two of these per beast. The photo specimen was a Tri-Tip Roast, untrimmed (#185C). Untrimmed means the membrane and fat (on the back side in photo) have not been removed. This one measured 12 inches long, 7 inches wide at the big end and 2 inches thick at the thickest point, and weighing 2 pounds 3 ounces after fat and membrane were removed
More on Cuts of Beef.
Prep: If this cut is purchased "untrimmed", there is a membrane covering one side (the outside side as part of the beast) with a layer of fat over it. This should be removed before cooking. The NAMP guide shows #1185C and $1185D cut about 3/4 inch thick across the grain as steaks before cooking, but that isn't much done around here.
Cooking: Here in California this cut is generally given a flavorful rub, then grilled whole over very high heat so it's almost charred on the outside and still rare on the inside. It is then sliced about 1/4 inch thick.