The Ultimate Tri Tip Marinade

The best tri tip is prepared with a process that enhances the flavor and tenderness of this cut. Tri tip steak is versatile and perfect for grilling, reverse sear, or smoking.

The Ultimate Tri Tip Marinade

Tri tip (Tritip, Tri-tip), is a popular and flavorful cut of beef that deserves a special treatment to enhance its natural flavors and tenderness. Often called a tri tip roast or tri tip steak. Here's what you need to know about tri tip marinades and cooking tri tip to perfection.

Is a dry rub or marinade better for tri tip steak?

Both dry rubs and marinades have their merits. Dry rubs can create a flavorful crust on the meat, while marinades penetrate deeper, imparting flavors and enhancing tenderness. For tri tip, given its robust flavor and texture, a marinade, like the one shared below, can be particularly effective in ensuring tenderness.

Why is my tri tip tough?

Tri tip can become tough due to overcooking, not marinating, or slicing the roast improperly. It's essential to cut tri tip against the grain when serving to ensure tenderness in every bite. Additionally, allowing it to marinate overnight can help break down tougher muscle fibers.

Is it better to cook tri tip fast or slow?

As with most things in life, it all comes down back to preference. Tri tip in the Santa Maria Valley will almost always be grilled at high temperatures over live fire. While this yields amazing results, there a variety of ways to cook tri tip. You can grill, roast, smoke, sous vide, and even braise tri tip in a crock pot or slow cooker.

The reverse-sear process is a very popular method for cooking tri-tip. Essentially, you slow-cook so the internal temperature rises gradually, ensuring a more even cook throughout the meat. Once the meat hits your target temperature, you finish the process with searing the meat over a direct heat source or in a cast iron skillet.

Personally, I am a fan of cooking tri tip hot and fast. Tri tip doesn't have the intramuscular fat that benefits from rendering over a long, slow cook like brisket or pork shoulder.

Does tri tip get softer the longer you cook it?

Not exactly. While slow cooking helps in achieving an even temperature, overcooking the tri-tip can make it tough and dry. It's crucial to monitor the meat's internal temperature and remove it from the heat source once it reaches the desired level. Letting it rest for a few minutes after cooking also helps in retaining its juices and tenderness.

Tri-tip after overnight marinade

How to marinate a tri tip

Tenderness in meats, especially tri tip, can be achieved through a good marinade, cooking technique, and cutting it properly. The best marinades take time. You can marinate a tri tip with simple ingredients and you will find dozens of different recipes online. My favorite tri tip marinades almost always include soy sauce, lots of garlic, and black peppercorns. I love soy sauce in a tri tip marinade because of the high salt content. I know, I know, there are healthier options out there. And that’s fine. If you would like a healthier option, feel free to use low sodium soy sauce instead of fully leaded. There are lots of neat options for marinating tri tip out there, but again, we are big fans of keeping it simple. To marinate tri tip, simply mix your marinade, throw the tri tip in a ziplock bag, and pour the marinade over the top. Roll the bag tight so the marinade is covering the tri tip roast and allow the meat to marinate for a minimum of 3-4 hours. For best results, marinate tri tip overnight.

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