Whole Peeled USDA Prime Tri Tips
Buying Whole Peeled USDA Prime Tri Tip roasts in a cryovaced package is a great way to save $3 to $5 a pound and will save you a lot of time trimming off the fat cap. Peeled tri tips have the fat cap already removed.
My Costco sells USDA Choice grade and Prime grade Tri Tips. We, on the West Coast, are very familiar with this cut of beef which comes from the bottom butt sirloin subprimal. It is a small triangular muscle, usually 1½ to 2½ lbs per side of beef. But in other parts of the country many butchers have never heard of a tri tip and often try to pass off other cuts for them.
I personally do not subscribe to the theory that the "Fat Cap" provides great flavor and bastes the meat during cooking. This theory is also held by many concerning briskets and pork butts. All in all, you have two options when smoking/cooking meat with the fat cap. Fat cap up or down. Up in order to baste the meat or down in order to keep the meat from burning. Either way the fat cap prevents the seasoning from working it's magic in the portion of the meat that's covered.
The cryovaced package above contained 5 peeled tri tips. I not only prefer to have the fat cap removed for me but I also carry it one step further and always remove all silver skin. The center photo shows the peeled tri tips and the right side photo shows them after I've removed the silver skin. You won't be sorry for removing the silver skin because you can't chew or eat the silver skin and it prevents any seasonings from penetrating the meat. Before purchasing large portions of meat you should own a vacuum sealer. Properly vacuumed sealed and frozen meat will last many months in the freezer.
My recommend rubbing the trimmed tri tips with extra virgin olive oil and liberally seasoning them with my "Pete's Western Rub" found on page 169 of my cookbook "The Wood Pellet Smoker & Grill Cookbook". I vacuum sealed 4 of the tri tips and wrapped the 5th in plastic wrap which I refrigerated overnight to be smoked ... Smoked tri tip - it doesn't get any better than that!!