The Ultimate Guide: How To Grill Tri Tip

  • 5 min read
  • Aug 02, 2023
How to Grill Tri Tip 13 Steps (with Pictures) wikiHow
How to Grill Tri Tip 13 Steps (with Pictures) wikiHow from

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Welcome to this comprehensive guide on how to grill tri tip. If you’re a meat enthusiast or just looking to elevate your grilling game, you’ve come to the right place. Tri tip, also known as the triangle steak, is a delicious and juicy cut of beef that can be cooked to perfection on the grill. In this article, we will take you through the step-by-step process of grilling tri tip, covering everything from marinating to carving. So, let’s fire up the grill and get started!


Grilling tri tip is an art that requires patience, skill, and attention to detail. The process begins with selecting the right cut of meat. Tri tip is a triangular muscle located in the bottom sirloin of the cow. It is known for its rich flavor, tenderness, and marbling. When cooked properly, it can be incredibly tender and juicy.

Before we dive into the specifics of grilling tri tip, it’s important to note that there are several methods you can use, such as direct grilling, indirect grilling, or a combination of both. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, which we will discuss later in this article.

Now, let’s move on to the step-by-step process of grilling tri tip:

Step 1: Selecting the Tri Tip

The first step in grilling tri tip is selecting the right cut of meat. Look for a tri tip that has a good amount of marbling and is evenly shaped. Avoid cuts that have excessive fat or are irregularly shaped, as they may cook unevenly.

Step 2: Preparing the Marinade

Marinating tri tip can enhance its flavor and tenderness. You can use a variety of marinades depending on your personal preference. Some popular options include garlic and herb, teriyaki, or a simple salt and pepper rub. Make sure to marinate the tri tip for at least 2 hours, or overnight for maximum flavor.

Step 3: Preparing the Grill

While the tri tip is marinating, it’s time to prepare the grill. If you’re using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal and let it burn until it’s covered with white ash. If you’re using a gas grill, preheat it to medium-high heat. Make sure the grill grates are clean and oiled to prevent sticking.

Step 4: Searing the Tri Tip

Once the grill is hot, it’s time to sear the tri tip. Searing helps seal in the juices and creates a flavorful crust on the outside of the meat. Place the tri tip directly over the heat source and sear for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until a golden brown crust forms.

Step 5: Indirect Grilling

After searing, move the tri tip to a cooler part of the grill, or turn off one side of the gas grill. This is known as indirect grilling. Close the lid and let the tri tip cook for about 15-20 minutes per pound, or until it reaches your desired level of doneness. Use a meat thermometer to ensure accuracy.

Step 6: Resting and Carving

Once the tri tip is cooked to perfection, remove it from the grill and let it rest for about 10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more tender and flavorful meat. To carve the tri tip, slice it against the grain into thin strips. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Advantages and Disadvantages of Grilling Tri Tip

Grilling tri tip comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a closer look:


1. Flavor: Tri tip is known for its rich and beefy flavor. When grilled properly, it can be incredibly delicious and satisfying.

2. Versatility: Tri tip can be cooked using various methods, such as direct grilling, indirect grilling, or even smoking. This makes it a versatile cut of meat that can be enjoyed in different ways.

3. Ease of Preparation: Grilling tri tip is relatively easy and requires minimal ingredients and preparation. With a few simple steps, you can create a mouthwatering dish.

4. Feeds a Crowd: Tri tip is a larger cut of meat that can feed a crowd. It’s perfect for backyard barbecues, parties, or family gatherings.

5. Affordability: Compared to other cuts of beef, tri tip is relatively affordable. This makes it a great option for those on a budget.

6. Cooking Time: Tri tip cooks relatively quickly compared to other cuts of beef. This means you can enjoy a delicious meal in less time.

7. Leftovers: Leftover tri tip can be used in a variety of dishes, such as sandwiches, salads, or stir-fries. Its versatility allows you to enjoy it in different ways.


1. Limited Availability: Tri tip is not as widely available as other cuts of beef. You may need to visit a specialty butcher or order it online.

2. Uneven Shape: Tri tip can have an uneven shape, which can make it challenging to cook evenly. Proper trimming and attention to cooking time are essential to achieve a consistent result.

3. Overcooking: Due to its lean nature, tri tip can become tough and dry if overcooked. It’s important to monitor the internal temperature and remove it from the grill at the right moment.

4. Marinating Time: While marinating tri tip can enhance its flavor, it does require additional time for preparation. If you’re short on time, you may need to skip the marinating step.

5. Fat Content: Tri tip can have a moderate amount of fat, which can result in flare-ups on the grill. Make sure to trim excess fat and keep a close eye on the meat while grilling.

6. Limited Seasoning: Tri tip has a naturally rich flavor, so it doesn’t require heavy seasoning. Over-seasoning can overpower the taste of the meat.

7. Carving Technique: Tri tip has a unique grain that requires proper carving technique. Slicing it against the grain ensures a tender and enjoyable eating experience.

Table: Step-by-Step Guide to Grilling Tri Tip

Step Description
1 Select the right tri tip
2 Prepare the marinade
3 Prepare the grill
4 Sear the tri tip
5 Indirect grilling
6 Rest and carve

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Can I grill frozen tri tip?

No, it is best to thaw the tri tip completely before grilling. This allows for even cooking and better flavor absorption.

The recommended internal temperature for tri tip is 130-135°F (54-57°C) for medium-rare, or 140-145°F (60-63°C) for medium. Use a meat thermometer to ensure accuracy.

3. How long should I let the tri tip rest before carving?

It is recommended to let the tri tip rest for about 10 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more tender and flavorful meat.

4. Can I use a marinade without oil?

While oil helps to enhance the flavor and prevent sticking, you can still use a marinade without oil. Just make sure to oil the grill grates before cooking.

5. Can I use a dry rub instead of a marinade?

Yes, a dry rub can add flavor and create a delicious crust on the tri tip. Make sure to apply the dry rub generously and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

6. Should I brine the tri tip before grilling?

Brining is not necessary for tri tip, as it is already a flavorful cut of meat. However, if you prefer the added moisture and tenderness, you can brine the tri tip for a few hours before grilling.

7. Can I grill tri tip on a gas stove?

No, it is not recommended to grill tri tip on a gas stove. Tri tip is best cooked on a grill