Grilled Tri Tip Marinade

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The best way to marinate a tri tip steak? In lots of black pepper, garlic & red wine! This easy tri tip marinade creates a flavorful, juicy steak every time! After 6-8 hours in the marinade, toss the tri tip on the grill for a delicious meal!

Pair this wonderful California cut of beef with Rosemary Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Broccolini to complete the meal.

Sliced tri tip steak on wood cutting board with a bowl of black peppercorns

Today’s post is sponsored by my friends at the California Beef Council.

If there’s one cut of beef that California is most known for, it’s the tri tip. The tri tip is a triangular cut of meat from the bottom sirloin. It became popular in central California in the 1950s and is sometimes called the “Santa Maria Tri Tip”.

One of the most popular ways to prepare this steak is to marinate or cook it in red wine. At Seaside Market, located in the small beach town of Cardiff-by-the-Sea in northern San Diego, they’ve prepared a tri tip so popular that it’s become known as “Cardiff Crack”.

While their secret recipe is under wraps, it does involve a black pepper red wine marinade, which I’ve recreated in this recipe. It only takes a few minutes to prepare this easy marinade recipe. And I guarantee it will be the best tri tip marinade you’ve ever tried!

I recently chatted about ways to elevate your tailgate or homegate on the Feed Me! Podcast. And this tri tip recipe was one of my recommendations. It’s so easy to marinate this tri tip the night before the big game, then toss it on the grill either at the tailgate or at home in your backyard.

You can easily step up your tailgate game without a lot of extra work! Tune in to the latest episode of the Feed Me! Podcast, launching Monday, October 7 to hear more of my game day tips!

Sliced tri tip steak on white plate with fresh parsley

How to make The Best Tri Tip Marinade

  • Pour 2 cups of red wine in a large ziplock bag. I recommend using a burgundy or pinot noir.
  • Add minced garlic, olive oil, soy sauce, coarse ground black pepper, paprika, mustard powder and honey to the bag.
  • Close the bag and shake all of the marinade ingredients together.
  • Place a 2-3 lb trimmed tri tip in the bag with the marinade.
    • Quick Tip! When shopping for a tri tip, it could be labeled tri tip or tri tip roast at the meat counter. They’re the same thing and both work great for this recipe. Depending on where you live, you might have to ask your butcher for tri tip if it’s not already available in the meat counter.
  • Close the bag and place the marinating tri tip in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours or overnight. Do not marinate the tri tip for more than 24 hours or the fibers in the meat can break down too much and make it mushy.

How to Grill Tri Tip

One of my favorite ways to cook a tri tip is on the grill. The key to grilling tri tip is to sear it over high heat, then continue cooking it without direct heat. To do this, you’ll want to heat one side of your grill over high heat and leave the other side of the grill turned off.

Once the heated side of the grill is very hot, remove the tri tip from the marinade and place in on the heated side of the grill. Discard the marinade. Sear the tri tip for 1-2 minutes per side.

Move the tri tip to the unheated side of the grill, keeping the other side of the grill on high heat. Grill for 10-15 minutes per side or until a thermometer reaches 140°F for medium rare, which is the temperature I recommend for tri tip.

Remove the tri tip from the grill, place on a cutting board and loosely wrap with foil. Allow the tri tip to rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before slicing.

How to slice a tri tip

When slicing the tri tip, you’ll notice that the grains run in different directions on the tri tip. Slice the long triangular tip from the other end of the tri tip where the grains intersect, then slice each piece of the tri tip against the grain.

For a visual of what this looks like, my friends at Traeger have a great video and image on their website for how to carve a tri tip.

What goes good with tri tip?

Grilled tri tip is perfect for dinner at home, tailgating at the stadium or entertaining friends at a BBQ. You can even turn it into an excellent low carb meal. Depending on the occasion, I have some scrumptious serving suggestions!

Sliced grilled tri tip on wood cutting board

For more great beef recipes to toss on the grill, check out these delicious dishes!

Sliced grilled tri tip steak on plate
4.75 from 4 votes
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Grilled Tri Tip Marinade

The best way to marinate a tri tip? In lots of black pepper, garlic & red wine! This easy tri tip marinade creates a flavorful, juicy steak every time!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Marinating Time 6 hours
Servings 6 people
Calories 520 kcal
Author Whitney Bond

Ingredients

  • 2 cups red wine recommended: burgundy or pinot noir
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup soy sauce or liquid aminos for gluten free
  • 1 tbsp black pepper coarse ground
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 3 lb tri tip trimmed

Instructions

  1. Add the red wine, minced garlic, olive oil, soy sauce, black pepper, paprika, mustard powder and honey to a large ziplock bag.

  2. Zip shut and shake to combine well.

  3. Add the tri tip and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 6-8 hours, or overnight, but no longer than 24 hours.

  4. Heat one side of a grill over high heat and do not turn the heat on the other side of the grill.

  5. Remove the tri tip from the marinade and discard the marinade.

  6. Place the tri tip on the heated side of the grill. Sear for 1-2 minutes per side.

  7. Move the tri tip to the other side of the grill not over direct heat.

  8. Grill for 10-15 minutes per side or until a thermometer reaches your desired temperature. I recommend 140°F for medium rare.

  9. Remove the tri tip from the grill, place on a cutting board and loosely cover with foil.

  10. Let the meat rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing.

  11. To slice, separate the tri tip into two pieces where the grains intersect, then slice each piece against the grain.

Recipe Notes

  • When shopping for a tri tip, it could be labeled tri tip or tri tip roast at the grocery store. They’re the same thing and both work great for this recipe. Depending on where you live, you might have to ask your butcher for tri tip if it’s not already available in the meat counter.