Tri Tip Substitutes (6 Delicous Alternatives)

Have a craving for tri-tip?

But can’t find any in stock at your local supermarket or butchers?

So what you can use as a tri-tip roast substitute?

Hear are some declious alternatives for you.

What is a Tri-Tip Roast?

Tri-tip, or Santa Maria style cut, is the section of beef cut from the larger bottom sirloin butt. 

The sirloin butt has three sections the ball tip, the flap, and the tri-tip.

These three sections are often sold separately.

It’s become popular in recent times.

As it’s quite cheap compared to other prime beef cuts and a good alternative to brisket.

Quite often you’ll find tri-tip sliced into steaks or used for pot roasts.

Often you’ll find the fat trimmed off, leaving you with a lean cut of beef.

The flavor and tenderness are just as good as prime cuts of beef due to the high level of fat marbling.

Tri-tip is often used for sandwiches or sliced into tri-tip steak.

See my tri-tip sandwich recipe here

Should You Smoke Tri-Tip?

Tri tip is declious smoked!

Is it popular to use tri-tip instead of brisket in California.,

There call Santa Maria brisket!

It tastes declious and costs a fraction of a brisket!

Want to smoke it like a pro? See my smoked tri-tip recipe. It ensures you get a juicy result every time.


What Are The Alternatives If I Can’t Find A Tri-tip Roast?

Sourcing a tri-tip roast can be a bit of a challenge at times. 

There are only two per cow, so numbers are limited.

Tri-tip is a unique cut of beef, but if you are finding it, there are some great alternatives. 


The most obvious choice is the sirloin tip. 

It’s the top part of the section of beef that the tri-tip comes from.

While traditionally not as fatty, it makes a good substitute. 

Look for a piece of sirloin with good fat marbling so it stays nice and juicy.

Want to smoke your sirloin steak? See my recipe for it here!

When you cook it, keep it on the rare end of the scale

This will maintain moisture, flavor, and tenderness, and prevent dry, tough meat.

If it’s steaks you are wanting, sirloin steak is an excellent choice.

Just as you’d slice the tri-tip into thick steaks, you can do the same with sirloin.


Bottom Round and Rump Roasts

The bottom round and rump roasts are both cuts sourced from the rear leg of the cow. 

The muscle in this area is very well used.

So the meat is less tender than a little-used muscle.

Like tri-tip, they are fairly lean cuts of meat that can tend to become tough when overcooked.

As such, the best cooking method is on the smoker, braising, or using the slow cooker. 

Try using a kosher salt brine or a marinade to help keep the cut moist and tender.

Again, the beef round roast and rump roast are very cost-effective choices.

Chuck Roast

Beef chuck roast is another great alternative to tri-tip.

Chuck cuts come from the section between the neck and shoulder. 

It’s a much fattier cut of meat than tri-tip or sirloin but responds well to a slower cooking process.

Cooking chuck roast beef slowly to gives the fat and connective tissue time to break down.

Like tri-tip, chuck roast is one of the cheaper alternatives. 

See the ultimate recipe for smoked chuck roast here. –This recipe ensures juicy, flavorful meat that melts in your mouth.

Why Is A Tri-tip Roast So Good?

Tri-tip has a fantastic beefy flavor and a tenderness that’s enhanced by slow cooking. 

As an added advantage, it’s also lower in fat than most other cuts.

All this and it’s economical too!

This does mean that it’s prone to drying out if not handled with care.

Especially when you reheat it. So see the guide to reheating tri tip here.

Have You Tried Sous Vide Tri Tip?

Smoked tri tip is delicious but have you tried the sous vide method?

Using the sous vide leaves the meat tender and succulent.

See the Seared Sous Vide Tri Tip recipe here.

Got Leftovers?

There is nothing like leftovers! See what to do with leftover tri tip here. I have some declious recipes like sandwiches, stews and burnt ends!

Wrapping Up

Often considered cheap and tough, these cuts are perfect for smoking and slow cooks.

The addition of marinades, a beef broth, or cooking juices makes these roasts tender and tasty.

Throw on your favorite steak seasoning, and sauces and you’ll have a budget-friendly meal perfect for the family.

So next time you can’t find the tri-tip roast, why not try some of the above alternatives?

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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