Yearning for a well-done delicious steak without waiting a long time for it to get ready? Then today’s your lucky day because you’re about to be introduced to what exactly you’re looking for. The answer to your predicament is Tri-tip beef. This cut of beef is best cooked using fast-cooking methods meaning less time for you to wait for your meal. Seriously, if you’ve never tried it, you’re missing out on some steak heaven.

What Is Tri-Tip?

A tri-tip steak is a versatile cut of beef that is cut from the tri-tip roast, which is a part of the bottom sirloin sub primal cut. It is also called triangular steak as it’s simply the cut pieces of the triangular tri-tip roast.

The cut is an economic piece of meat that is full of flavor and is far less expensive than other equally tasty steaks like the rib-eye. It is of high quality because of its excellent marbling and its tenderness that comes along when the steak is not overcooked.

It is famous in some parts of California with its origins dating back to Spanish ranch hands who grilled the tri-tip steak over super-hot California oak coals. Nowadays, the steak has begun gaining popularity beyond the West Coast.

Although the tri-tip can be cooked by other means like roasting, cooking in an oven, smoking, etc., it was particularly built for grilling and hence not surprising when it’s said that the best method of cooking it is by grilling it.

When grilled, they are chewy but tender and have this flavorful beefy taste that is just delicious. It also has a decent amount of fat that offers a buttery taste when cooked.

How to Grill Tri-Tip Steak?

Grilling tri-tip or as it called Santa Maria tri-tip, is a simple process that involves a little more than a spice rub and a very hot grill which creates the essential outer charred crust.

All you need to do is use a simple but flavorful marinade, follow it by a hot and fast trip over the grill to seal in the flavors and keep the meat moist and tender.

When cooked perfectly, the result would be an extremely juicy piece of beef that’s black on the outside and pink on the inside. The tips should be well done or if you prefer, medium well done.

Additionally, as you slice inward heading to the center, the meat should change to medium or medium-rare. This characteristic has an added advantage of suiting every taste preference. The smoke also adds to the flavor and if you can get a red oak wood, the better.


  1. Tri-tip steak (3 pounds)
  2. White vinegar (1/4 cup)
  3. Vegetable/ olive oil (1/4 cup)
  4. Soy sauce (1/4 cup)
  5. Garlic (2 cloves)
  6. Black pepper (1 teaspoon)
  7. Salt (a pinch)


  1. Mix the white vinegar, vegetable oil, soy sauce, garlic, black pepper, and salt all in one place. This is to make the marinade.
  2. In a plastic bag, pour in all the marinade and add the tri-tip steak. Make sure the steak is well-coated by the marinade, seal the bag, and allow the steak to marinate for 2 to 6 hours for a nice absorption.
  3. Preheat the grill and set it on high
  4. Remove the well-marinated steak from the bag and place it on the hot grill.
  5. Grill for about 12- 15 minutes making sure to turn once in a while to get an even sear throughout the steak. You can also hold the meat’s sides against the grill for a few minutes for a good sear.
  6. Remove the steak once it reaches the desired temperature. You can check the temperature using a meat thermometer.
  7. Rest the steak for 5 to 10 minutes to allow time for the juices to settle and evenly absorbed into the meat. If you don’t plan to eat after those 5-10 minutes, cover with aluminum foil to prevent it from getting cold.
  8. Slice the steak into thin slices making sure to cut against the grain. This means that your knife should be perpendicular to the lines you can see (grain) in the meat.


The traditional way to serve the tri-tip steak is in a sandwich. Put the thin cut slices on a soft roll/hoagie/ciabatta/anything you want, slather with mayo, add some onions and BBQ sauce and you will be all set.

However, for the full Santa Maria experience, try serving your steak with Santa Maria-style/Pinquito beans, salsa, and tortillas. This will change your life, trust me. They’re that good.

You can also check this video of how to cook a perfect tri-tip Santa Maria-style.

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