Have you ever sunk your teeth into a fresh-off-the-grill Marinated Tri Tip steak? If your answer is no, then here’s to convincing you to add it to your “to be grilled” list this summer!
When we were stationed in San Pedro, CA, we had a dear friend that made the sweetest homemade cookbook gifts for Christmas featuring all of her family’s recipe favorites for the past year. I treasure that cookbook. It makes me think of our friendships and memories and – of course – yummy food!
When my friend had me try her marinated tri tip steak recipe, I had to google what the heck a tri tip cut of steak was. I had never heard of it.
I learned that it is a very popular cut of meat, and was made popular in Santa Maria, CA. Santa Maria BBQ is tri tip grilled to medium rare and served with pinquito beans, salsa and bread.
There is another reference to a BBQ competitor who claimed to discover it in Oakland, CA. Either way, sounds like it’s roots come from the Sunshine State.
We had traveled throughout the country while we were in the military, but I don’t remember seeing this meat in the grocery stores. It explains why it was so much more popular in California. The grocery stores I visited had it priced quite reasonably (we were in Southern California, so take that with a grain of salt!)
We looked for this cut of meat when we moved back to Washington DC, but it was challenging to find, and the price was much higher. Seriously! I paid $11.99/lb, which is much more than even the rib roast our family splurges on for New Years Eve.
In other areas of the country, you will find it in the $5-6/lb range. That is much more in line for a weekend BBQ meal.
Tri Tip is a cut of meat that is found below the sirloin of the cow. Generally, it is not a large piece of meat. You’ll find it around 2.5 lbs. That is a perfect size for our family. Because there is little fat, you will have to be careful in how you cut it after cut it after it is grilled. Slicing the tri tip against grain is ideal. You can choose to Smoke Tri Tip for another option.
Combine all the ingredients, including the tri tip, into a one gallon Ziploc bag. Massage the tri tip to make sure it is well coated, and then place it in a bowl in the fridge for up to six hours.
I find the Ziploc bag is the best way to marinate foods. You don’t use as much of the marinade and it is extremely easy to cover the entire meat.
Pro Tip: Always put the Ziploc bag in a bowl before putting it in the fridge. I learned quickly that these are not always drip proof – and had to spend a good amount of time cleaning up the refrigerator after it leaked.
🔥 Grilling Instructions
Step One: When it’s time to hit the grill, remove the Tri Tip from the Ziploc bag and discard all the marinade.
Step Two: Set up the grill for a medium temperature direct heat. This is a thicker cut of meat, but still works well over direct heat. If your roast is much thicker, consider following the Reverse Sear Instructions.
At 325 degrees, it took about 15 minutes to cook this to a nice medium temperature.
Step Three: Flip it once during the cook to get the nice sear on both sides.
Step Four: After removing the Tri Tip from the grill, bring inside and allow it to rest for ten minutes. I learned the hard way that if you cut into meat right away, the juices run away from the meat and it can be a little drier than you intended. Just be patient and let it sit for a few minutes!
💡 Recipe Tips
- Chicken thighs/breast work great with this marinade. Don’t keep it in the marinade nearly as long though.
- Rib eye steaks are fantastic with this marinade. Leave in bag 3-4 hours as they aren’t as heavy.
- Rib Roast would be mouth watering as an option. Leave in the bag 6-7 hours to give it time to penetrate the meat.
📌 Items to Note
So, if you have leftovers of this delicious recipe (and I’m not sure why you would!) here are some ideas to consider:
- Tri Tip Open Faced Sandwiches – sauté onions, mushrooms and peppers and place the Tri Tip and the sautéed vegetables over toasted bread.
- Tacos using marinated Tri Tip
- Nachos! Try this Cast Iron Skillet Nachos recipe, but replace the pork shoulder with the marinated Tri Tip
- Santa Maria BBQ (remember that is where this whole thing got started! You can make it on your own).
- Stir Fry
- Marinated Tri Tip Sandwich Mix – this is an old family favorite from when I was growing up. My mom would put leftover beef in the food processor with onions and pickles. Mix in a little mayonnaise and spread on sandwiches. We LOVE this sandwich mix and I often have meat in the freezer for just this reason. It is a great one to take out when we hike as it’s chocked full of protein! No, it’s not pretty at all but the taste of fantastic!!!
Marinated Tri Tip Steak
Tri Tip Marinade
- 1 cup Lemon Juice
- 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
- 1/4 cup Black Pepper
- 1/2 cup Seasoning Salt
- 1/2 cup Garlic chopped
- 1/2 cup Onions chopped, dried
Tri Tip Steak
- 1 Tri Tip 3-4 lbs
Make the Tri Tip Marinade
- Mix all ingredients except for the tri tip in a large zip lock bag. Add meat and marinade for 4-6 hours in the refrigerator. Turn once or twice.
Grill the Tri Tip
- Preheat the grill to 350 degrees and set it up for direct heat.
- Remove meat from marinade and place in the center of the grill. I cooked it for about 15 minutes, flipping it once for a final medium temperature.
- Allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing.