The tri-tip is a triangular cut of beef from the tip of the cow's sirloin. It is a thick, rich, flavourful steak, popular for barbecue grilling and oven roasting. However, tri-tips can be difficult to find -- the cut goes by many names, and your local butcher may not know what a tri-tip is. Some butchers grind this part of the cow into mince or slice it into steaks rather than sell it whole, and some do not regularly stock it at all. However, most will supply it on request.
Ask your butcher whether he regularly stocks tri-tip and, if he does not, how long he needs to fill an order. Get this information before you actually need the meat.
Plan a meal featuring tri-tip sufficiently far in advance that you can place an order with your butcher and have it delivered on time. For example, if he tells you that he needs five days to order a cut for you, plan a tri-tip meal at least five days in advance.
Order your tri-tip cut from your butcher with the order time he specified. This cut is called by different names, so if your butcher does not know what a tri-tip is, order it by its alternative name of sub-primal sirloin or "aiguillette baronne."
If your butcher does regularly stock tri-tip, call him the day before you need it and reserve a cut for the next day. Each cow only has two tri-tips, so the butcher might sell out before you arrive if you do not reserve a cut.
Pick up your reserved or pre-ordered tri-tip from your butcher, pay for it and thank him for his trouble.
The cut includes 6.5 mm (1/4 inch) layer of fat on the outside of the meat, which makes the cut richer and more moist when roasted.