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Grilled Tri-Tip Steak


This summer, try something new and add Grilled Tri-Tip Steak to your cookout menu! It’s an affordable cut of beef with lots of flavor and it cooks up quickly on the grill.

What is Tri-Tip?

Tri-Tip is a triangular cut of beef from the bottom sirloin. It is sometimes sold as roasts, but our recipe today is specific to tri-tip steaks – which can be sold as one larger piece, or several smaller pieces between one and two inches thick.

Tri-tip first became popularized in California, where it was often served in wine at restaurants.  It became a specialty in the city of Santa Maria, on California’s central coast, and to this day you’ll still find it served “Santa Maria-style” seasoned with salt, pepper, fresh garlic, among other flavors, – then cooked over red oak wood to medium-rare.

Here on the east coast, tri-tip steaks are not as commonly found at the supermarket – and they sell out quickly when this cut is offered. It’s popular for good reason – the cut is lean, but tender, and rich in beefy flavor. Cooked right, it produces an unbelievably juicy slice of roast.

Grilled Tri-Tip Steak


Key Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Tri-Tip Steak – You might see this called a California cut, bottom sirloin butt, a Newport steak, a Santa Maria steak, or even “poor man’s brisket” at the supermarket.
  • Steak Rub – Any favorite dry steak rub can be used. We used our Copycat Rib Tickler rub, or this is a favorite store-bought variety. Alternately, you can wet marinate the steaks instead of using a rub.

Chef’s Tip –

When serving steak, you should always slice the beef against the grain. (This means you are slicing in the opposite direction that the muscle fibers run through the meat.) When you slice against the grain, you’ll cut through or across the muscle fibers, making the beef easier to chew.


How do I make Grilled Tri-Tip?

  1. Rub all surfaces of the steak (whole or pieces) with our Rib Tickler Rub. Place the steak in a zipper seal bag and let sit refrigerated for 12 to 24 hours.
  2. Heat your grill – one half to the highest temperature, the other half to the lowest temperature you can.
  3. Pat the beef dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture, then brush vegetable oil on the grill.
  4. Sear the steaks (on the hot side of the grill) on both sides, then move the steaks to the cooler side of the grill to finish roasting through to your desired level of doneness. Use an instant-read thermometer and remove at 130-135 F for a medium-rare steak. (See Notes below recipe for a more complete Temperature Chart.)
  5. Let the steaks rest on a platter for ten minutes, loosely covered in foil.
  6. Slice the steaks against the grain on the bias and serve immediately with the juices that collect as the steaks rest, or with your favorite steak sauce or steak butter.

Grilled Tri-Tip Steak

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Grilled Tri-Tip Steak

Grilled Tri-Tip Steak

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 12-24 hours
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 hour 12 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Category: entree
  • Method: grilled
  • Cuisine: American


3 pounds tri-tip steak (whole or pieces)

1 cup of your favorite steak rub (we used our Rib Tickler Rub)

¼ cup vegetable oil

Steak Sauce or Steak Butter, for serving (if desired)


Place rub over all surfaces of the steak, seal in a zipper bag and refrigerate at least 12 and up to 24 hours refrigerated.

When ready to grill, heat one side of your grill to the hottest setting and the other half to the coolest setting.

Pat the steak dry with paper towels.

Clean grill grates then brush the grates with a little vegetable oil.

Place steak on hot side, gill for three minutes, flip and grill for three more.

Move to the cooler side of your grill and cook for about six more minutes or until you reach your desired internal temperature.

Ours was medium rare at the 12-minute total mark

Remove to your cutting board, cover loosely with foil and let rest ten minutes.

Slice on the bias against the grain into thin slices using a sharp slicer knife.

Serve with pan juices, steak sauce or steak butter.


Follow the temperature chart below and continue to grill your steaks to reach your desired internal temperature. (Note that your steaks will continue to cook off heat as they rest.) Rest your steaks for 10 minutes after removing from the grill.

  • For Rare, stop cooking at 120-130 F. After resting for 10 minutes, the meat will be red inside.
  • For Medium Rare, stop cooking at 130-135 F. After resting, the meat will be pink inside.
  • For Medium, stop cooking at 135-145 F. After resting, the meat will have some pink and brown color.
  • For Well Done, stop cooking at 145-155 F. After resting, the meat will be mostly brown.
  • For Very Well Done, stop cooking at 155-165 F. After resting, the meat will be completely brown with no pink.

Keywords: Grilled Tri-Tip Steak




Grilled Tri-Tip Steak

Grilled Tri-Tip Steak

Grilled Tri-Tip Steak

Grilled Tri-Tip Steak

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