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When it comes to grilling, tri-tip steak is a hidden gem that deserves more recognition. This triangular cut from the bottom sirloin boasts rich, beefy flavors and a tender texture when cooked and sliced properly. Whether you're a grilling novice or a seasoned pro, this guide will walk you through the steps to grill a perfect tri-tip steak and the proper technique for slicing it.

Tri-Tip Steak



  • 1 (2-3 lb.) tri-tip steak
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika


  1. Trim excess fat from the tri-tip.
  2. Rub the tri-tip with olive oil and season with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika.
  3. Preheat grill for indirect heat (charcoal on one side or gas grill with one side on high heat).
  4. Sear tri-tip over high heat for 3-4 minutes per side.
  5. Move the tri-tip to the cooler side of the grill. Close lid and cook until internal temperature reaches 130-135°F (20-30 minutes).
  6. Let rest for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Slice against the grain and serve.



  • Grill (charcoal preferred)
  • Meat thermometer
  • Aura California knife
  • Cutting board



  1.  Preparing the Tri-Tip:

Before you fire up the grill, let's get the tri-tip ready.

Trim the Fat: Tri-tip usually comes with a layer of fat. Trim off any excess fat but leave a thin layer for flavor

Season Generously: Drizzle the tri-tip with olive oil, then season it generously with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Rub the seasonings into the meat, ensuring even coverage.


  1. Prepping the Grill:

For the best results, we recommend using a charcoal grill, but a gas grill works fine too.

Charcoal Grill: In California, Trip-Tip is grilled over Red Oak coals. Light the coals and let it burn until covered with white ash. Create a two-zone fire by piling the coals on one side of the grill.

Gas Grill: Preheat one side of the grill to high heat and leave the other side off or on low heat.


  1. Searing the Tri-Tip:

Searing the tri-tip helps lock in the juices and adds a flavorful crust.

Place the tri-tip directly over the hot coals or high heat. Sear each side for 3-4 minutes until a nice crust forms.


  1. Indirect Grilling:

After searing, move the tri-tip to the cooler side of the grill.

Monitor the Temperature: Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the tri-tip. For medium-rare, cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 130-135°F (54-57°C), which should take about 20-30 minutes. We suggest you pull the steak at around 125-128° and allow the residual heat to bring the temperature up.

Rest the Meat: Once done, remove the tri-tip from the grill and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. This step is crucial as it allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.


  1. Slicing the Tri-Tip:

Proper slicing ensures each bite is tender and juicy.

Locate the Grain: Tri-tip has two distinct grain patterns: one running horizontally and the other vertically. Identify both.

Slice Against the Grain: Cut the tri-tip in half where the two grain patterns meet. Then, slice each half against the grain into thin strips. Slicing against the grain shortens the muscle fibers, making the meat more tender.


  1. Serving Suggestions:

Tri-tip steak is incredibly versatile. Serve it with Pinquito beans, grilled corn, spicy salsa and garlic bread, or a fresh avocado salad or even make tri-tip sandwiches with crusty bread, arugula, and horseradish mayo. Pair it with your favorite California Zinfandel or a cold beer for the perfect meal.

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