Cow Tri Tip Steak – A Beginner’s Guide

Tri-tip is a cut of beef that many people aren’t familiar with. Cow tri tip steak became popular back in the 60s and 70s. I found it was popular back then because it was an inexpensive cut of beef. But, as demand increased with time, so did the price tag, and now this flavorful piece of meat isn’t that cheap as it used to be but still affordable for most of us.

However, I was more than lucky to find one at a local supermarket, as well as from local butchers. Furthermore, this time I tried various styles of the streak and figured why not share it with everyone else?

So, before jumping on the ways of cooking some delicious streaks, let’s take a look at a brief overview of tri-tip steaks which is also very well-known as California’s cut and Triangle tip.

What Are Cow Tri-Tip Steaks?

California’s cut steak is a type of triangular cut of beef taken from the bottom sirloin subprimal cut. This has become famous for being an excellent alternative to grilling expensive meat cuts like Rib Eye, Tenderloin, and the New York strip.

This triangular-shaped “tip” weighs about 3 & 1/2 pounds on average and feeds around four people. Typically this steak is an oblong shape with a relatively small amount of fat. They’re boneless and usually relatively thin (about ¾ to 1 inch thick), and have a meaty flavor. As the piece is lean and also less pricey than many other steak cuts, some people think it’s a “healthier” red meat substitute.

Where Is The Tri Tip On A Cow?

Several names can be used when describing the location of this triangularly shaped steak. But, here I want you to get it right, so I will explain exactly where you need to go if you want some excellent tasting California’s cut steak. To find the Triangle tip on a cow, you need to look for the sirloin. The sirloin is located on the bottom rear of the cow and is easily distinguished by its triangular shape. The tri-tip is cut from the bottom portion of the sirloin.

Moreover, the Triangle tip is a muscle that doesn’t move much, which means it’s not as tough as other cuts and can be cooked relatively quickly. However, if you cannot find it, you can go to a local butcher and ask for a bottom sirloin steak; they will know what you are talking about.

How To Cook Tri-Tip Steak

Now that you know where to find the tri-tip on a cow, it is time to learn how to cook this cut of beef.

A great thing about this particular cut of meat is that it can be cooked in various ways. So, no matter what your cooking preference may be, there is a way to cook California’s cut steak that will satisfy your taste buds.

How To Grill Triangle Tip Steak

Cooking steaks on the grill have a significant advantage because of the high heat feature of the griller. High heat is considered an ideal way of cooking tri tip steak because Triangle tip lacks as much fat as other beef steaks.

Low cooking temperatures aren’t usually required. Although it’s not a compulsion, I have also tried cooking them on low flame. But you know, why wait for so long if you can do the work more quickly and the difference isn’t too much.

So, if you plan to grill your California’s cut steak, I recommend using a charcoal grill. Preheat the griller to medium-high heat, and then place the steak on the grill. Grill steaks for about 6-8 minutes per side or until the steak reaches the desired level of doneness.

How To Broil Tri-Tip Steak

If you want to broil your steak, I recommend preheating the oven to high broil. Place the steak on an oven-safe pan or baking dish. Post that, broil for 4-6 minutes until each side reaches your desired level of doneness.

Also, you can use a separate broiler pan with or without a wire rack. If you don’t have a broiler pan, you can use heavy-duty aluminum foil. Make sure to fold up the sides of the foil so that it creates a “tent” for your steak to cook in.

How To Cook Steaks In Skillets

If you wish to cook your California’s cut steak in a skillet, I recommend using a cast-iron skillet. Heat your cast-iron skillet over medium-high flame, and then add the steak. 

Once the skillet is hot, add 1 tablespoon of oil and then place the steak in the pan. Cook it for around 3-4 minutes per side or until the desired result is visible. You can also sear it on each side first before cooking it with its juice.

Tips For Cooking Cow Tri Tip Steak

It doesn’t matter how you plan to prepare your Triangle tip steak; the chances of mistakes are always there. Therefore, I have mentioned a few useful tips that will help you achieve maximum flavor and tenderness.

  • Ensure your grill or oven is preheated to the desired temperature before adding the steak.
  • Also, allow the steaks to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. This will help ensure that the juices stay in the steak rather than running out when you cut into it.
  • Do not overcook your Triangle tip steak. The ideal level of doneness is medium-rare, so make sure to remove the steak from the gas when it reaches an internal temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • I season over steak with salt and pepper before cooking for a delicious flavor boost.
  • If you would like to experience a bit of fresh flavor to your tri-tip steak, try using a marinade or basting sauce. A plain balsamic vinegar and olive oil marinade would be perfect.

How To Serve Tri-Tip Steak

Now that you have cooked your Triangle tip steak to perfection, it is time to serve it up and enjoy. I recommend serving the steak with some of your favorite sides, such as mashed potatoes, rice, or grilled vegetables. You can also add toppings to your steak using a delicious sauce, such as steak sauce, bbq sauce, or simple herb butter.

Moreover, you can choose yourself which kind of garnish you would like to make on a California’s cut steak, and I hope you have a delicious and satisfying meal.


It doesn’t matter which above-mentioned method you choose to cook steaks; they will definitely taste delicious. Also, you can plan to make steaks for the guests coming to your house and let them enjoy the heavenly taste of tri-tip steaks.

Now that you know how to cook Triangle tip steak, it is time to get grilling!