The question’s simple enough, aimed mostly at people outside the U.S. “far west”:
Have you ever heard of tri-tip? Do supermarkets in your area sell it?
Here’s the background. Two Sundays ago, my wife and I attended a biannual get-together of a distantly-related family (she’s doing genealogical research, located these folks, answered some questions from them, got invited). In the Altamont pass wind-farm country (near Livermore). The primary barbecue was tri-tip–marinated and seasoned.
Last Sunday, my wife and I went to my brother’s first-anniversary party, at his house in Livermore. He provided the barbequed meat and drink. The meat was tri-tip, marinated and seasoned.
We were in Santa Maria year before last, and of course I had tri-tip for dinner, since Santa Maria tri-tip is a key local dish.
At the get-together and again at the first anniversary, people familiar with the meat industry said that tri-tip is unknown outside of the West–that it gets used for hamburger or sold as parts of different cuts elsewhere. It’s a tricky cut: It really needs thin-slicing and typically marinade to avoid being too tough to eat. But it’s also a great barbecue meat when it is marinated and thinly sliced. (One of my favorite lunch spots, years ago, used to serve a tri-tip sandwich once in a while: Great.)
So: Is this a Western urban legend? Do you get tri-tip in New York or Texas (well, Texas may count as “the west”) or Illinois or Great Britain or Australia or Toronto or Wisconsin?
(We’re finishing a trifecta today, really unusual for a not-terribly-sociable couple: Going to brunch today with a dear long-time friend…once again, in Livermore, but this time in a restaurant. I suspect tri-tip won’t be on the menu.)
Beyond that: We seem to be well into stone fruit season, and the local farmer’s market is rich with great peaches, superb plums, wonderful apricots, and magnificent cherries. We’re hoping to get a few Blenheim apricots from our own tree, but the birds may beat us to it… I do love stone fruit season, particularly as it ends the several-week near-drought of fresh local fruit!