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Nov 6, 2008 01:15 PM

Tri-tip: beef only?

I thought it was reserved for cow meat only, but am I incorrect? Can it be used for any animal with what you might call a sirloin (lamb/mutton, buffalo, etc.)?


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  1. I'm not sure I understand your question. Do you wish to replace a piece of sirloin with tri-tip? Tri-tip is a tougher cut of beef, so I would not swap that with a recipe that calls for sirloin, unless you either plan to grind it or cook it via a long wet method.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Kelli2006

      No, I'm just trying to figure out whether there's a cut of, say, buffalo or lamb you could reasonably call a tri-tip, or if it only applies to beef.

      1. re: tatamagouche

        I'm sure there's a bottom sirloin muscle on every other mammal, but it may have a different market name (like how a chop on a lamb or pig is called a steak on a bovine). Certainly buffalo would have a tri-tip because a buffalo is basically just a non-domesticated cow.

        1. re: Humbucker

          Got it. Thanks.

          Though I honestly didn't know that about buffalos and cows, really? And I live in Colorado. Color me mortified.

          1. re: Humbucker

            It could be that pigs and sheep/lambs are broken down differently so that the cut doesn't exist.

            I was surprised to see a buffalo (bison, actually) described as basically a nondomesticated cow, but a little googling reveals that they are interfertile with fertile offspring (unlike, for example horses and donkeys), which means that they're basically genetically the same.

        2. re: Kelli2006

          Um, tri-tip is sirloin. Bottom sirloin, to be precise. And it's lean enough that braising is a less-than-ideal cooking method. High heat, keep it rare to mid-rare, and slice it thin across the grain.

          To answer the OP, pork tri-tip is pretty common here in Northern California, although the shape of them makes me think it's a slightly different cut. A whole one usually goes 2-3 pounds. They're good grilled.

        3. Seems to me I've seen itty bitty lamb tri-tips, but then my memory gets creative on me frequently. Still, it should be possible, if a butcher chose to cut a carcass that way. The beef tri-tip itself is not a universally available cut; it used to be unknown outside of Southern California, although European butchers are familiar with it. It is the most highly-prized cut for Viennese "boiled" beef, and is known there as Tafelspitz, or "table-corner".