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Tri Tip Steak

Tri Tip Steak, simply seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic (SPG) before roasting on a gas grill, although this method would work well on a charcoal grill as well. The Tri Tip is repeatedly seared to get a fantastic flavor crust and then served with grilled squash.

Scroll down for the step-by-step, picture-by-picture, foolproof grilling instructions.

Tri Tip Steak

What is the Tri Tip Roast

Tri tip is a weird, triangular shaped roast found at the bottom of the sirloin primal cut. It weighs between 1.5 and 2.5 pounds and is comprised of two muscles that have the grain running almost perpendicular to each other making this a little tricky to slice properly. Being a nicely marbled roast, and if cooked properly, the tri tip steak is more tender and tastier than a typical sirloin steak.

Origins of the Tri Tip Steak

North of Santa Barbara in California is a region known as the Santa Maria valley where the ranchers found that butchers were tossing this weird, triangular shaped sirloin into the grinder to make hamburger. They saw an opportunity to feed their ranch hands top quality steak while saving some money. Traditionally, the tri tip is roasted over red oak in an open air cooker (with a huge adjustable grill grate) and seasoned simply with salt, pepper, garlic and paprika.

Here’s my take on the traditional Santa Maria tri tip on my Santa Maria cooker

The size of the tri tip makes it ideal for the reverse sear method.

Tri Tip also makes for a mean sammich topped with chimichurri (and that compound butter in the link ain’t no joke)

Finally, if you need some help saving money when buying steak, tap this link which will help.

Tri Tip Steak Ingredients:

  • 1 tri tip roast
  • SPG Seasoning (Salt, Pepper, Garlic), divided
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 2 zucchini
  • Fresh grated asiago cheese

Here is our triangular roast which isn’t quite triangular as someone lopped off the one corner on the upper right:

Tri Tip Steak

This tri tip doesn’t have much fat on the one side. The butcher trimmed it pretty well.

If there is a thick fat cap on one side, the first step is to trim that. Not entirely. Leave a thin layer of fat, but remove the thick stuff.

Season the sirloin roast on all sides and that flat end with the salt, pepper, garlic seasoning:

Tri Tip Steak

Tri Tip Steak

Then, run the skinny sides and that flat end over the seasoning that bounced off the roast and settled on the cutting board:

Tri Tip Steak


Tri Tip Steak

How to Grill Tri Tip Steak

Place the seasoned steak onto a medium-high grill (400F +/-25F) and allow to sear for 3-5 minutes and then flip over to sear on the other side for an additional 3-5 minutes. Then, flip back over and rotate 90 degrees (if you want those nice diamond shape grill marks) and sear for anther 3-5. Flip over and rotate to complete the grill marks on the other side. Do a temp check here. If the steak still needs to cook, sear on that flat end and the edge along the sides. Check the internal temp after each “extra” searing. Target internal temp is 135F

Pro Tip ~ Some of you, that are like me who prefer rare steak, are scoffing at that 135F number. Tri tip can be stringy if cooked rare. It’s one of the few steaks I cook beyond rare to medium rare.

Prepare the Grill

Crank up the gas grill to medium-high heat or light the charcoal grill and get the coal bed fairly to heat the grill grates to around that same medium-high heat (400F +/-25F).

Place the tri tip over the direct heat:

Tri Tip Steak

Place the sirloin roast over the direct heat and allow to sear for 3-5 minutes and then flip over:

Tri Tip Steak

Just Keep Flipping

Sear another 3-5 minutes and flip over. Then sear for 3-5 minutes and flip over. Repeat until the steak is done. This is called the “Just Keep Flipping Method.”

I love this method. Keep roasting the outside of the steak, just long enough to get some nice char, but not burn and flip. Keep doing this until the meat is your desired doneness.

Tri Tip Steak

Here’s a handy steak temp guide to know what you are shooting for:

Steak Temps

  • Rare Steak Temp: 120F-125F
  • Medium Rare Steak Temp: 130F-135F
  • Medium Steak Temp: 140F-145F
  • Med. Well Steak Temp: 150F-155F
  • Well Done Steak Temp: 160F or more, but seriously, just order the chicken


The more I grill, the more I like a reapplication of seasoning during the cooking process or at the end of the cook.

Here, I did it in the middle

Just a dusting:

Tri Tip Steak

Sear the Edges

If after both sides of the steak are nicely charred, and at the risk of burning, but not to your desired doneness, then hold the tri tip with tongs so the thin edge is seared on the grill grates:

Tri Tip Steak

Check the temp after searing the edge like that. If it’s still not done, you can sear the bottom:

Tri Tip Steak

If the tri tip steak is still not to your doneness preference, set it on the upper rack and close the lid:

Tri Tip Steak

Tri Tip Steak

In a charcoal grill, scoot the coals to one side and place the roast on the side with no heat and close the lid.

Time to Rest

When the tri tip reaches your desired doneness, remove it from the grill and allow the roast to rest for 5-10 minutes:

Tri Tip Steak

I gotta come clean here. Filming a cook for both stills and video means things sometimes have to be cooked too long in order to get the needed shots. While shooting this recipe, we left that roast on too long and it went 8F degrees above what we had intended.

Shit happens.

Also, HUGE fan of that Thermopen probe thermometer I used to gauge the temp in that above pic. My barbecue skills improved immensely when I started using a Thermopen.

While the roast rests, slice the zucchini and squash about a half inch thick on the bias and season the tops:

Tri Tip Steak

Place the zucchini and squash on the grill, seasoned side down and season the tops:

Tri Tip Steak

As soon as squash and zucchini browns a little on the bottom, flip them over:

Tri Tip Steak

When the other side chars a bit. remove from the heat and serve with the tri tip.

Let’s slice that tri tip:

Tri Tip Steak

Not bad for 143F!?

Tri Tip Steak

Finally, don’t forget that fresh grated asiago:

Tri Tip Steak

How to Slice Tri Tip

Also from my friends at Thermoworks (who make that Thermopen above) is this handy diagram of how to slice a tri tip. The yellow, solid lines represent the grain of the meat and the dotted lines are the cuts that need to be made with the blue line being the first cut:

Tri Tip Steak

Tri Tip Steak Summary

Simple, delicious, quick and somewhat cheap. This is a phenomenal way to feed steak to a crowd without breaking the bank. Furthermore, it doesn’t take an overnight cook to prepare some fantastic meat on the grill.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or send me an email.

Also, if you could leave us a great review with lots of stars that would be most appreciated!

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Tri Tip Recipe Card

Tri Tip Steak

Tri Tip Steak

Course Entree, Main Course, Steak
Cuisine American, American Fare, Barbecue, BBQ, Beef Tri Tip, Steak, Tri Tip, Tri Tip Roast, Tri Tip Steak
Keyword #Grilled, Beef Tri Tip, Flip Forever, Flip Forever Steak, Gas Grill, Grill, Grilled Squash, Grilled Tri Tip, Grilled Zucchini, Grilling, Just Keep Flipping, Just Keep Flipping Method, Santa Maria, Sirloin, Sirloin Roast, Sirloin Steak, SPG, SPG Rub, SPG Seasoning, Squash, Steak, Tri Tip, Tri Tip Roast, Tri Tip Steak, Zucchini
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Servings 4 People


  • 1 Tri tip roast
  • Salt, pepper, garlic seasoning Divided
  • 2 Yellow squash
  • 2 Zucchini
  • Fresh grated asiago cheese


  • Prepare the gas grill (or charcoal grill) for medium-high heat
  • While the grill is heating up, season the sirloin roast with the salt, pepper, garlic seasoning on top, bottom, the shorter sides and that little base spot at the end
  • When the temp at the grill grates hits around 400F, slap that tri-tip steak down on the cooker and sear for 3-5 minutes. Then flip over and sear the other side for another 3-5 minutes. Flip back over and rotate 90 degrees and sear another 3-5 minutes. Finally, flip back over (rotating 90 degrees) for another 3-5 minutes.
  • Check the internal temp of the beef tri tip to see if we have reached the 130F-135F. If not, sear on the short side of the roast by holding that section in direct contact with the grill grates with a pair of tongs. You might need heat resistant gloves here. Keep checking the internal temp after each "extra" sear session until you get close to your desired doneness.
  • Once the steak reaches your preferred doneness, remove from the grill and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes
  • While the beef tri-tip rests, slice the squash and zucchini on the bias about 1/2" thick and season on one side with the salt, pepper, garlic seasoning. Place the squash/zucchini medallions (ovals?) on the grill, seasoned side down. Season the tops of the squash, zucchini. When you see some char on the bottom of the squash/zucchini, flip and char the other sides. Once both sides are charred, remove from the grill and serve with the tri tip
  • Be sure to slice the tri tip across the grain. To do so, place the tri tip in front of you with long flat side facing you and the point of the triangle away. Run a knife straight down from the middle of that top of the triangle and divide the roast into two pieces. Now find the grain in each of those two pieces and slice across it and serve.


Tri Tip Steak

Tri Tip Steak

The post Tri Tip Steak first appeared on GrillinFools.

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