Our step-by-step tri tip roast recipe is fun and easy. It's low in fat, tender, flavorful, relatively inexpensive, and it's sirloin!
Beef Tri Tip has a robust beef flavor, but for many years was often just thrown in the hamburger grind. Barbecuing this sirloin cut has been a well kept secret of the Santa Maria Valley (Southern California) folks, and their visitors, since the late 1950's. But when the Valley's guest went home...
They couldn't find it! If you have this problem, please look at our Tri Tip Secrets page, for the info you can share with your butcher. This is all she'll need to cut, or order, your secret sirloin cut.
One of the "Cookin' Cousin's" favorite ways to barbecue Tri Tip is to cut the roast into steaks. Follow Chef Bob's Tri Tip Steak Recipe grilling method, to ensure your backyard barbecue fame with your steak loving gang!
We believe that..."Barbecue is the Mystical Communion of Fire, Smoke and Meat"
Please visit our "6 Secrets to Smoking Meat" page, for competitor level backyard barbecue tips!
Got a charcoal grill? Go to our "Tri Tip Roast on a Charcoal Grill" page, and we'll show you how we barbecue tri tip roast using the world's favorite cooker.
The Cookin' Cousins also love Tri Tip Steak cuts from the roast, and for you steak lovers, Bob's proven grilling method will secure your backyard barbecue fame! Take a look at "Bob's Tri Tip Steak Recipe" to see how a "pro" does it.
Gas Grill Cooking tri tip roast on a gas grill is simple if the grill has at least two burners, and can maintain 350-375°F/177-191°C. Use an oven thermometer to assure an accurate reading. The one included on the grill is not accurate enough for good barbecue results.
Be certain you have plenty of gas for the duration!
Meat A tri tip roast usually weighs 1 1/2-3 pounds, and is approximately 2-3" thick. Buy "choice" grade as "select" does not have the marbling (fat in the muscle) to cook properly. Prepacked tri tip roast is generally a lean cut, so do not trim any of the existing fat. This will serve about 4 to 8 hungry folks, and with any luck, enough leftover for a sandwich the next day!
Spices We "rub" our tri tip roast with the traditional rub still most favored by the Santa Maria barbecue aficionados, and we love it. It consists only of salt, black pepper, and garlic powder, however...
Have fun and add one or more of these basic fresh ingredients:
Please visit our Dry Rub Recipes page for more great, easy rubs.
Hardwood chunks/chips Traditional tri tip barbecue is flavored with Red Oak (indigenous to the coastal California area), but we've found that any good quality oak wood will work just fine. In fact, a couple of our favorites, for the price, are Char-Broil's Whiskey Wood Chips or Jack Daniels Wood Smoking Chips.
Aluminum pan (disposable) To prevent flare-ups a drip pan is placed under the grate, over a "cold" burner. If you don't have the convenience of a "Big Box" store to get inexpensive, quality pans, we suggest Weber Small 7-1/2-Inch-by-5-inch
Aluminum Drip Pans.
Smoker box, or pouch If your grill came with a built in barbecue smoker box for the wood chips, great. But if your cooker doesn't have one, just make a pouch from heavy-duty aluminum foil (about 18x18"), and put a couple of handfuls of chips (soaked in water for about 20-30 minutes) on the foil. Fold into an envelope/pouch shape, and poke several holes in the top to release the smoke. We much prefer the cast iron models like the GrillPro Cast Iron Smoker Box, for durability and superior chip burning.
Tongs Please don't use that pokey fork thing included in most bbq tool sets. Holes in roast let the juices escape! You'll need a long, strong pair to handle a tri tip roast. Two great choices we found to keep your paws out of the heat, and sturdy enough to handle any BBQ chore, are the Oxo Good Grips 16-Inch Locking Tongs and the Weber Style 6441 Professional-Grade Chef's Tongs.
Oven/Grill Thermometer For top results, you have to know the correct grill tempurature. By far, our two favorites are the Admetior Kitchen Oven Thermometer, or the CDN High Heat Oven Thermometer. They are accurate, inexpensive and good insurance.
Instant-Read probe type thermometer Use this indispensable tool to ensure your meat is cooked exactly the way you like your meat. The "pros" do. Our three favorites (in order of price) are the CDN Proaccurate Stainless Digital Thermometer, the faster Thermoworks Super Fast Water-Resistant Digital Pocket Thermometer, or the really fast Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen - Instant Read Thermometer.
The barbecue folks from "the valley" got it right. They start with a simple dry rub that truly brings out the best from the tri tip roast. Here's the classic rub still used in southern California barbecue competition.
Mix together thoroughly the following:
Want an extra "kick" for that roast? We love Pappy's Choice Seasoning for a magic spice combination for tri tip. Yes, the bottle is a little large, but we use it often for quite a few recipes!
NOTE: Keep the Tri tip roast in the refrigerator (below 40°F/4.4°C) until at least 3 hours prior to preparation. For the best cooking results, let it come to room temperature for 1-3 hours.
NOTE: Searing is an important step in our tri tip roast recipe. If you are new to cooking, searing is the act of cooking any meat quickly over a dry, very hot heat source. This will brown (caramelize,) the meat to produce that incredible flavor we all so enjoy. This does not "seal in the juices" as some would have you believe. Searing requires temperatures of 300-500°F/119-260°C.
....warm, cut at a 45° angle across the grain in thin (1/4") slices. As for the "Cookin' Cousins" taste, we eat tri tip with the wonderful rub flavors, as is, but...
Some folks may like a "finishing sauce". This is nothing more than a warm barbecue sauce, of your choice, served as a side dish (or two), for the folks who would like to put something more on their meat.