How to Grill Tri Tip Steak

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An excellent main dish for small dinner parties.

Back in the days of softball tournaments and backyard gatherings one couple became the go to hosts for our friend group. Their specialty for meals was a grilled Tri-tip along with whatever sides the rest of us scrounged up (Keep reading to learn how to grill a tri-tip steak). As family life took over our group friend gatherings became scarce.

Replaced by smaller group and family events my wife and I realized we needed to step up our hosting game. Before long we realized how expensive, exhausting, and messy a fully thought out meal could be. Then I had the idea to try our friend’s tri-tip steak. With a little coaxing I was able to acquire my buddies recipe for his delicious tri-tip. Much to my surprise, very little effort is required. In addition it is a much cheaper cut than I anticipated because in my opinion it holds up well in comparison to premium meats. No wonder this was his go to hosting meal!

Picking out the right Tri-Tip Steak

Tri-tip is a somewhat rare cut of beef that is lean but stays very tender when cooked properly. For those curious about the history, cut details, and nutrition information I found The Spruce Eats to be an interesting resource.

If you are sold and just want to try one then head to your favorite grocery store! We have a local grocery store that is known for having excellent cuts of meat. We typically go there when we are preparing to host because we respect their opinion but a regular supermarket or butcher shop should offer similar options. Our first tri-tip steak dinner was intended to feed 5 adults. The butcher recommended 0.5 lbs per person therefore he selected a 2.5 lb tri-tip and asked if we wanted it rubbed in their recommended dry rub, Pappy’s Original. This is exactly what our friend had recommended so its precisely what we did! If your market doesn’t have something similar or you just want to try our flavor you can pick some up on Amazon.

The tri-tip pictured above is actually our first attempt at a Wagyu tri-tip. A new butcher on our side of town was running a special on it and talked us into trying it. According to him its a smaller Japanese cow and has additional fat marbling in it making it a premium meat. I’ll say I was impressed but couldn’t justify paying full price for it.

How to Grill Tri-Tip Steak:

As with grilling any meat make sure your grill is nice and hot and set your tongs or fork out. You won’t need it for a bit but make sure you have a good sized sheet of aluminum foil for later.

We use a Vision Kamado Grill as a Big Green Egg alternative so we get a bit of a smoked flavor on our tri-tip steak. Our friend cooked on gas and had excellent results as well so whatever you have will be just fine. During the pre-heat process I like to set my kamado to sear, just before putting the meat on I will bump it down to grill to lower the temperature.

Grilling a tri-tip is a 4 step process that takes approximately 58 minutes.

  1. Place on direct fatty side down for 10 minutes (or until your desired char is acquired)
  2. Flip to meat side for 8 minutes remaining on direct heat.
  3. Move to Indirect heat for about 20 minutes or until the desired internal temperature is reached. Keep in mind this is a thicker cut of meat. Therefore it will continue to cook after its removed from the grill.
  4. Rest: Finish your tri-tip steak by wrapping it in foil. Then allow it to rest 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

We serve our tri-tip steak thinly sliced by cutting across the grain. Its best to use a cutting board or serving dish with a groove to catch all of the leaking juices. The one above could have been removed a couple minutes earlier. It was a touch more done that we prefer.

Our Favorite Pairings:

To go with our Tri-Tip Steak we usually pick a vegetable or two along with a starch or carbohydrate.

Typical Vegetable choices are: (we pick 1 or 2)
– fresh green beans or asparagus (both sauteed)
– fresh corn on the grill
– fruit/nut salad

How to Grill Trip Tip Steak for a dinner Party.

If we choose carbs the go to is often crescent rolls in the oven. However we frequently choose air fried potato wedges (rubbed in olive oil and sea salt or Lowry’s Seasoning Salt) or whole baby red potatoes sauteed with butter, garlic, and sea salt.

I hope you enjoy your version of grilled tri-tip. Let us know how it turns out and any improvements you’ve found!