Grilled or Oven Roasted Tri Tip Roast

There’s no question that steaks—rib eye, New York Strip and fillet, are popular choices for grilling but for my taste nothing beats the rich beefy flavor of a grilled tri-tip.

The tri tip roast is comes from the bottom of the sirloin. This muscle gets more exercise by the cow than areas from the loin. This means the meat won’t be quite as tender as the major steaks but with a brief marinade and grilled to still pink medium it’s the favorite of many serious carnivores. Because it’s well marbled, it will always be juicy.

To intensify that marvelous beef flavor a little more, when given the time, I like to give a tri tip a bit of dry aging in my refrigerator, a day or two is perfect but the roast seems to benefit from just an overnight rest on a rack, uncovered in the coldest part or the refrigerator. Tri tips are sold trimmed and untrimmed. This means the layer of fat on one side has been removed by the butcher. Don’t fret if your market only sells untrimmed tri tips. The fat is easily removed with a sharp knife, but don’t trim all of it off. Leave about ¼ inch when trimming it, most of it will melt off when grilled and improves the flavor.

As delicious as this cut is when grilled, I love the endless uses for any leftovers. I often grill two tri tips at a time and later in the week turn the second one into some of the best pot roast ever if left whole, or cubed and turned into beef stew or chili. We also love the leftover cold tri tip thinly sliced in roast beef sandwiches or on top of a Caesar salad

The recipe and technique are simple. The marinade is actually a wet rub made from a few simple ingredients. Let the roast rest at least 20 minutes uncovered before slicing to allow the juices redistribute and carve against the grain for picture perfect, juicy grilled beef that rivals any pricier steak. Don’t have an outdoor grill? No problem. Just sear the roast on both sides in a non-stick frying pan, then pop into a 375 degree for about 30-45 minutes or until desired internal temperature is reached (we like ours on the rare side, 130 degrees). One tri tip is enough to feed 4-6 people generously with leftovers and with very little waste, makes this an economical cut of beef. If desired serve with chimichurri sauce or garlicky sautéed mushrooms.

1 tri tip roast (about 2-3 pounds)
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Trim excess fat from the roast leaving ¼ inch. Place the meat in a deep pan and rub all over with the remaining ingredients. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour (or 2-3 hours refrigerated).

Grilling: Grill over medium high heat until internal temperature taken with a meat thermometer reached 120-130 for rare or 135 degrees for medium. The meat will continue to cook and rise another 5-10 degrees while resting.

Oven Roasting: Sear well on both sides in a non-stick pan. Roast at 375 degrees until desired internal temperature is reached.

Remove from the heat, let rest uncovered for at least 20 minutes and slice across the grain.

Serves 4-6 generously


    • rebecca
    • February 13th, 2013

    I have 12 adults, should I make 2 or 3, and how how much longer does it take in the oven for 2 or 3 instead of 1? I want to plan for serving timely, thanks!

    • It depends on the weight of the roast, the rule of thumb is to allow 1/2 lb of boneless beef person. Once in the oven, the cooking time would be the same, but don’t crowd your roasts. Leave some space between them, using multiple baking pans if needed. Since the thickness of your roasts and the internal temperature of your oven may be different than mine, I highly recommend using a meat thermometer to judge doneness. The thinner outside corners may be cooked a little more than the interior, perfect in case some in your party prefer their meat more well done. This is a great choice for a crowd of 12! Would love to know how your roasts turn out.

        • rebecca
        • February 13th, 2013

        Thank you! I will take some pics and let you know. This recipe sounds delicious 🙂

  1. Made this today for our Labor Day dinner party — it was a HUGE hit! I am usually afraid to make beef since I have a long history of overcooking it. I added a bit more brown sugar, some garlic and 1 Tbsp. olive oil to the rub, let it rest in the fridge for several hours, then brought it to room temp and followed your roasting method. (Pan-seared over high heat for 2 minutes per side, then in the oven for 35 minutes for a perfect medium-rare.) I was hoping for leftovers but there are none. Thanks so much for a great, easy-to-follow recipe.

    • How nice to hear….thanks so much for the feedback!

    • Colleen F.
    • August 27th, 2011

    That was a great wet rub. We added a little chopped garlic to it as well. Thanks for listing both grilling and oven directions that was very helpful!

  2. Wow! I think you cooked that perfectly, Great work.

  3. Oh. My. Gawd. This looks completely delicioso. Cannot wait to try it!

  4. Ok now this is so mouth watering anything I am eating tonight doesnt come close to this piece of gorgeous roast!

  5. beautiful Kathy, the crust is the delite in my book, love the soy/sugar rub

  6. Your pictures are mouthwatering! I love how the soy sauce and brown sugar give the outside of the steak a nice dark color. When sliced, it’s very inviting!

  7. You’d want to cut across the grain. The grain might be easier to see if you look for it on your raw roast. The grain might even switch direction on one end or the other but don’t worry about it, As long as you slice it thinly it will still be quite nice, especially when cold, if you are slicing any leftovers.

    • Do not cook steak much
    • November 8th, 2010

    This looks great and I want to try cooking this – silly question to you – but I am unsure.. When you say slice across the grain, does that mean cut with the grain or against it?

      • DB
      • February 24th, 2012

      Cut against the grain. The tri tip will be tender this way.

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