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My Spice Rubbed Grilled Tri Tip is the best ever recipe for Tri Tip on the grill. With 10 spices and seasonings in an overnight spice rub marinade, this tri-tip roast is tender, juicy and incredibly flavorful.
Tri-Tip has been my favorite meat to grill for so long it’s pretty much what you can expect from me if you attend a barbecue we’re hosting. I’ve been making it this way for years and have perfected the method over time. Today I’m not only sharing the recipe but I’ll be sharing some of the best tri tip tips and tricks I’ve learned for how to cook this particular cut of meat.
Tri-tip is not one the most tender cuts of beef you can buy. However, when treated right, it can yield juicy, flavorful, and yes, tender slices of meat right from your grill. The first key to getting tender, juicy tri-tip is the marinade. I am enamored by this spice rub and have been using it for as long as I can remember. There are 9 different spices and a little brown sugar for a touch of sweetness. You can see there’s quite a bit of fat marbled through the meat which helps keep it juicy.
Read on for my tips for getting the Best Ever Grilled Tri-Tip. This particular cut is somewhat regional and more readily available on the west coast. If that’s not where you are, ask your local butcher (or grocery store) to order some for you. It’s also known as a Bottom Sirloin Roast or Triangle Roast. I bet you’ll love it as much as we do!
A tri-tip needs a good amount of time to marinate for the seasonings to penetrate the meat and help to break down that muscle. I’ve used a variety of different rubs and marinades but this spice rub is by far my favorite. There are a total of 8 spices, plus salt and brown sugar.
The first step is to rub the meat all over with a generous amount of kosher salt. Salt is a natural tenderizer. Next rub the meat with the spice rub. Don’t be scared – it looks like a lot! But it’s going to coat the meat and give it a nice, flavorful crust when it’s grilled. Now toss it in a ziploc bag with some olive oil and let the baby rest in the fridge overnight. The longer you can let it marinate, the better – I’ve let it go as long as 36 hours and man was that a good roast!
Preheat your gas grill to a nice medium heat (I try to keep mine between 350 and 400). Let the meat sit out for about 30 minutes to bring it to room temperature while your grill preheats.
Set the meat on the hot grates of your grill. I like to start with the fat side up so as it starts to melt, the juices drip down and flavor the meat. Close the lid, watch for flare-ups and leave it alone until it’s time to flip it over.
Depending on how rare you want your roast to be (we go medium rare with tri-tip) it will take anywhere from 6-10 minutes per side.
A tri tip has 3 sides – it’s sort of like a 3D triangle shape. You’ll want to get grill marks on all sides, so you may have to flip it more than once. But, generally speaking, throw it on the grill and LEAVE IT ALONE.
Just like any piece of meat that you cook on the stovetop or grill, please let that meat be. It can take anywhere from 6-10 minutes per side depending on how rare you like it. Every time you lift it up or flip it over before it’s ready, you risk losing that nice sear and also overcooking your meat. Flip it once, let it sit and then flip it one last time.
Heat your grill to about 350-400 degrees F. It’s important to keep the grill closed when cooking tri tip to keep at the same temperature.
If your BBQ has a temperature gauge on the front, you’ll notice that the temp goes down dramatically when the lid is open. It can drop as much as 100-200 degrees. Keeping the grill lid closed keeps the heat in and allows the roast to cook more evenly.
It can take up to 20-25 minutes to cook a 2 pound tri-tip, so check the temperature with an instant read digital meat thermometer (120 degrees for rare, 130 for medium rare and 140 for medium), or in a pinch use the flesh test (see notes).
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, try the flesh test. It’s not quite as reliable, but it will do in a pinch.
I’ve been using this method for years and it’s almost foolproof!
First, let it rest. This tip is true for any piece of meat. If you’ve ever cut into a piece of steak right after it’s come off the grill you’ve seen those lovely juices (aka flavor) run all over the cutting board and onto the counter and there’s no way to get them back. While meat is cooking, the juices all run to the center. Those juices need time to redistribute throughout the meat which is what happens as the meat rests. Give it a good 10 minutes under a tented piece of foil before slicing it up.
Second, slice against the grain. This is one you’ve probably heard, but when it comes to tri-tip did you know that the grain runs two different ways? One half of the roast runs one way, and the other half runs a different way. When you go to cut your roast, cut it in half first (pay attention to where the grain changes) then cut each half against the grain. You can see below when they kind of go their separate ways in the middle. Cutting it this way makes it easy to cut and chew the meat, and makes it even more tender.