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How to BBQ Tri-tip – Marinade Recipes and Charcoal & Gas Methods

How to BBQ Tri-tip – Marinade Recipes and Charcoal & Gas Methods

Last Updated on 16th May 2022 by

I’ve been going out a few times for that fancy dinner, and I’ve found steaks to be as interesting as they are delicious. I have learned that there are various kinds of steaks like the T-bone, ribeye, flank steak, and tri-tip, depending on where the cut of meat is taken from. In particular, tri-tip is a triangular cut of beef from the bottom sirloin primal. Tri-tip is also known as Triangle Steak, Santa Maria Steak, and Newport Steak.

Tri-tip is a BBQ staple and is commonly used in grilling because of its rich beefy flavor yet affordable price compared to other steaks.

In barbequing tri-tip, you can be a little bit more flexible. The tapered end can be cooked up to medium doneness, while the thicker part must be medium-rare to get the best texture and juiciness.

Your next date need not be at an expensive steak restaurant because there are so many ways you can enjoy a luscious BBQ tri-tip in the comfort of your home.

How to Cook Tri-tip on BBQ with Marinade on Charcoal

To marinade your Tri-Tip steak, you will need:

  • 2 lbs of Tri-tip roast
  • 5 pieces of minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke
  • 2 teaspoons of onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • Splash of apple juice
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon herbal butter

To make the marinade:

  1. combine minced garlic, lime juice, liquid smoke, salt, black pepper, and onion powder, and stir until you form a paste.
  2. Add a splash of apple juice into the paste, just enough to make it spreadable.
  3. Brush or spread the marinade paste all over the tri-tip for at least an hour. I recommend marinating the meat for longer than an hour, so the flavors seep well into the meat.

When you are ready to grill, place charcoal in the grill and heat it until almost all the pieces are glowing hot. Move the charcoal to the other side of the grill while leaving the other side bare.

  1. Place a clean grill grate over the charcoal.
  2. Oil the grill and let it heat. Place the marinated tri-tip over the side with the primed charcoal.
  3. Grill the beef fat side up.
  4. Let the beef sear for about 5 to 7 minutes and flip it.
  5. After 10 to 14 minutes, move the tri-tip to the side with no glowing charcoal.

The time it takes on how long to BBQ tri-tip depends on the doneness that you prefer.

Allow the beef to continue cooking for about 15 minutes. You can cover the grill during this time but make sure to turn the meat as often as needed to make sure that the surface of the beef cooks evenly.

If you are cooking a whole tri-tip steak (the thick part with the tapered end), make sure that the thickest part reaches 130 degrees to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the steak. You can also set your desired internal temperature depending on the doneness that you prefer.

Once you reach your desired doneness, remove the steak from the grill and place it in a tin foil on a sturdy chopping board. If you have herbal butter, put it on the steak immediately before you loose wrap the tin foil around the steak. Allow the steak to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

How to BBQ Tri-tip Rubbed with Spices on Charcoal

You would only need to prepare your beef rub and a good portion of your well-chosen beef tri-tip for this recipe. For the rub, it varies depending on your preferred flavors.

To prepare the beef rub, you will only need a few ingredients. You can easily create a beef rub that only consists of:

  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Your preferred herbs. There is a wide variety of herbs that you can choose from. You may use rosemary, sage, basil, chives, parsley, oregano, and thyme. If you love a garlicky flavor on your steak, you might want to put some garlic powder on your rub.
  1. Apply the steak rub on both sides of the beef and leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. When you are ready to cook the steak, prepare the grill. If you are using a gas grill, proceed to the last part of the article to read about how to BBQ tri-tip on a gas grill.
  3. Oil the grill grate and let the oil heat. Place the beef over the warm side of the grill and cover with the grill’s lid. Let the steak cook for 20 to 30 minutes. Flip the steak over and repeat the process.
  4. Once both sides are done cooking, let both sides have a direct sear over the charcoal. Check the steak’s internal temperature using a meat thermometer before removing it from the grill.

When using a surface thermometer, the temperature of the surface and the inside of the steak vary drastically. Remove the steak from the grill once the desired doneness is reached, and loosely wrap it with tin foil. Let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

How to BBQ Tri-Tip on a Gas Grill

Some may use a gas grill instead of a charcoal grill. Note that the time of cooking and the temperature of the gas grill are crucial details that you need to consider. If you’re wondering what temperature is required to BBQ tri-tip, you generally have to pre-heat the grill to 350 degrees Celsius before cooking the beef.

Place the steak on the grill over direct heat and let it sear for about 5 minutes. Once done, flip the steak and let the other side sear for 5 minutes. Then place the steak over indirect heat and cook for about 20 to 30 minutes, occasionally flipping the steak for even cooking.

Time varies depending on the desired doneness and the thickness of the steak. Check the internal temperature of the steak. Make sure it reaches around 135 degrees Fahrenheit or 57 degrees Celsius. Before removing from heat. Let the steak rest for 10 minutes before slicing.


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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!