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I’m always experimenting with roasts and sirloin steaks from different cuts of beef, and this grilled tri tip recipe is the latest! Like a prime rib roast or beef sirloin tip roast, this tri tip roast comes out juicy and tender. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or making a holiday dinner, this recipe will make all the steak lovers swoon.
This cut is popular in California. I was inspired to create this tri tip recipe after I tried it at a restauraunt there. You can grill, smoke, or oven-roast it, but I opted for the grilling method to get that smoky flavor.
Why You’ll Love This Tri Tip Recipe
- Juicy, tender beef
- Easy, flavorful dry rub
- Deliciously charred exterior crust
- Simple pantry ingredients
- So easy to make
- Perfect for outdoor gatherings
What Is Tri Tip?
Tri tip, also known as triangle tip or bottom sirloin roast, is a triangular boneless cut of beef sourced from the bottom sirloin area of the cow. It’s meaty, flavorful, and relatively lean, without a lot of connective tissue. You can make a whole tri tip roast, or cut it into steaks, commonly known as Newport steak or Santa Maria steak.
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for this beef tri tip recipe, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Tri Tip Roast – This tri tip recipe is for the entire roast, not tri tip steaks. Look for a well-marbled cut of meat with even thickness to ensure juicy and tender results.
- Olive Oil – Adds flavor and helps the seasonings stick. Any heat-safe oil, such as avocado oil, would also work.
- Spices – Season the roast with a combination of garlic powder, sea salt (or kosher salt), onion powder, black pepper, smoked paprika (or regular), cumin, and cayenne pepper. Feel free to experiment with dried herbs as well.
VARIATION: Try a dry rub or a tri tip marinade!
- Dry rub – Skip the olive oil, and instead rub the meat with Montreal steak seasoning or brisket rub for a smoky, spicy and savory flavor. Use 2 tablespoons of dry rub per pound of meat.
- Marinade – Marinate the roast in my classic balsamic marinade for steak, or use the one I use for my flank steak recipe. A good amount of time to marinate is at least 1 hour, but no more than 24 hours.
How To Cook Tri Tip
This section shows how to make this grilled tri tip recipe, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Prep the grill. To prevent sticking, clean the grill grates with an oiled paper towel before heating. You can use a gas grill, propane grill, or charcoal grill — any kind works fine. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, leaving half of the burners off for indirect heat.
- Mix the seasonings. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and cayenne.
- Season the tri tip. Pat the roast dry with paper towels and rub the seasoning mixture all over the meat. Allow the meat to sit at room temperature before grilling.
- Grill. Place the roast on the grill over direct heat, and sear on both sides. Then, move to the other side of the grill over indirect heat, and cook until it reaches your desired doneness. (See times and temperatures below.)
- Rest. Remove the grilled tri tip roast recipe from the grill and place it on a platter or cutting board. Let it rest before slicing. (See slicing tips below.)
How Long To Grill Tri Tip?
Cook tri tip on the grill for 5 minutes per side over direct heat, then move to indirect heat and cook for 30-40 minutes. The internal temperature should reach 125-130 degrees F for medium rare or 135-140 degrees F for medium, and will rise another 5-10 degrees while resting.
Tips For Grilling Tri Tip
Master the art of grilling tri tip with some tips I’ve learned along the way:
- Trim if needed. The tri tip may come with a fat cap, which is a thick, white layer of fat. I recommend trimming it before grilling. There may also be sections of membrane or “silver skin” that you might want to remove. The butcher might do these things for you.
- Find the grain first. It’s helpful to note the grain before seasoning the meat, as it’s easiest to see when the meat is raw. This will help give you a better sense of how to slice it (see instructions below).
- Use a thermometer. The times above are a good starting point, but for best results, use a probe thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the meat when you move the roast to the cooler side of the grill, and set it to your desired tri tip internal temp. (See recommended temperatures on the recipe card below.) If you don’t have a probe, a regular meat thermometer also works, but is less hands-off.
- Resting is important. This lets the juices settle, so that they don’t run out when you slice the roast and it will stay juicy inside.
How To Cut Tri Tip?
Cutting a tri tip is a little more challenging than other roasts, because it has two different grain directions. It’s important to identify where the grain splits, which is easiest to do before you cook it. Once you know that, simply use a sharp knife to cut slices against the grain on each half.
See the pictures below for how the muscle fibers (grain) on a tri tip typically run, and how to slice it.
- Store: Place leftovers from the tri tip recipe in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
- Reheat: Warm in a preheated oven at a low temperature, around 275 degrees F, with a little beef broth at the bottom of the baking dish and the top covered in foil. This ensures it remains juicy and tender. (I use the same method to reheat reverse sear steak.)
- Freeze: Allow the meat to cool completely, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in a freezer-safe container or zip lock bag. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
What To Serve With Tri Tip Recipes
Complete your tri tip feast with these fresh and simple side dishes:
- Fresh Salads – Slice the roast and serve it over greens for a steak salad, or serve a tangy cucumber and tomato salad or a classic Greek salad on the side.
- Baked Potatoes – Make baked potatoes in the Instant Pot while you’re grilling the tri tip, or make air fryer baked potatoes for a quick and easy side. Don’t forget a variety of toppings like sour cream, chives, and crispy bacon to customize the perfect loaded baked potato.
- Grilled Vegetables – While you have your grill fired up, cook up some grilled asparagus (pictured above), grilled eggplant, or grilled zucchini.
- Classic Sides – Serve up traditional favorites with tri tip recipes like creamy mashed potatoes (or mashed cauliflower) or buttery Mexican street corn.
- Sauces – This roast is flavorful on its own, but if you want to add a sauce, it’s delicious with creamy horseradish sauce or chimichurri.
Grilled Tri Tip Recipe
Tri Tip Recipe (Tender & Easy!)
Elevate your grilling game with this mouthwatering grilled tri tip recipe. This tri tip roast is juicy, tender, and so easy to make!
Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and cayenne.
Pat the tri tip roast dry with paper towels and rub the seasoning mixture all over the meat. Allow the meat to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.
Place the tri tip on the grill over direct heat. Sear for 5 minutes, until grill marks form, then flip and sear for another 5 minutes. Then, move the roast over indirect heat (a burner that’s not turned on), close the grill and cook for about 30-40 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 125-130 degrees F (52-54 degrees C) for medium-rare, or 135-140 degrees F (57-60 degrees C) for medium, using a meat thermometer to check. (Internal temperature will rise an additional 5-10 degrees while resting.)
Once the roast is cooked to your desired level of doneness, remove it from the grill and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
Slice the tri tip roast against the grain into thin slices. Tri tip has two different grain directions. It’s important to identify where the grain splits. Cut perpendicular to the grain on each half. (See photos above for a visual demonstration.)
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Serving size: 6-7 ounces, or 1/6 entire recipe
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