Grilled Tri-Tip Steak with Bell Pepper Salsa

From the recipe archive, just in time for Memorial Day weekend. Originally posted 2007. See our archives for more grilling recipes! ~Elise

Tri-tip roasts are popular here in California; it’s a flavorful cut, perfect for barbecuing and grilling. Triangular in shape, it is also called sirloin tip, culotte steak, triangle steak, and Santa Maria-style. The tri-tip cut is rather lean and can get tough if over-cooked. So, don’t trim the fat before cooking (it will be needed to keep the steak tender), and use a meat thermometer and stop the cooking at 130°F. This cut can be hard to find outside of California, though I understand that both Costco and Sam’s Club carry it. You can also use this recipe with a flank steak.

Why the bell pepper salsa? Well, we were out of tomatoes and chiles, but we happened to have bell peppers, green onions, and chile flakes, and you know what? It was great. Perfect with the steak.

Grilled Tri-Tip Steak with Bell Pepper Salsa Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6.

If you don't have a grill, you can prepare the tri-tip by browning it in a hot cast iron pan on the stove top, then placing it a 325°F oven until the internal temperature of the steak/roast reaches 130°F.

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • A couple of turns of freshly ground black pepper
  • A sprinkling of salt

Steak

  • 1 2-pound tri-tip steak or roast
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Salsa

  • 1 large green bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, finely chopped (if you don't have green, probably any color will do)
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley, basil, or arugula
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

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1 Prepare the marinade in a large bowl, stirring together all of the marinade ingredients. Place steak in the bowl and coat on all sides with the marinade. Let the steak sit in the marinade and come to room temperature while you prepare the grill. (No need to marinate the steak more than 20 minutes or so.)

2 Prepare the grill for direct high heat. If you are using charcoal, use approximately 5 pounds of coals. Bank the coals so that more of them are on one side than the other, so that you have a high heat zone and a lower heat zone.

3 When the grill is ready and hot, remove the meat from the marinade and dry it all around with paper towels. Sprinkle all sides of the tri-tip generously with both salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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4 Place the tri-tip on the grill, on the hot direct heat side. Leave the cover off and watch carefully for flare-ups. As the meat browns, any fat will melt and drip on to the coals causing flare-ups. These are okay, as long as they don't get out of control. Keep moving the tri-tip around the grill away from the flames if they get too high. After one side of the meat is browned (about 5 minutes) use tongs to flip it on to the other side. When it is browned all around, move the tri-tip to the lower heat side of the grill. Cover the grill and close the vents enough so that you maintain about 300-325°F temperature in the grill. (If you are using a charcoal grill, you can place a meat thermometer through the vents to measure the heat.) If you are using a gas grill, turn off one of the burners and move the meat over that burner for indirect heating.

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5 Cook the tri-tip until a meat thermometer reads 130°F when inserted into the thickest part of the meat (15-30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat). Remove the tri-tip from the grill. Cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

6 Prepare the salsa by combining all of the salsa ingredients into a small bowl.

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7 Cut the tri-tip in 1/4-inch slices against the grain. Serve with the salsa.

Links:
Slow Roasted Hanger Steak from Helen of Beyond Salmon
Dry-rubbed Rib-eye steak with avocado and salsa - from Well Fed
Grilled Tri Tip with Chimol Salsa from Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen

27 Comments

  1. Jerry

    Elise,

    This salsa looks wonderful! Luckily I can get tri-tip at the commissary here on base, it’s the first time I’ve seen it since leaving California.

    I’m pretty sure you could make the same recipe with brisket as well.

  2. amy mom of 5

    Tri- Tip is easily found here in Utah.(At least up where I am at). I get it from our local butcher shop or Costco. I have used it in many recipes, and am so excited to try this one out.
    I can’t wait. Thanks

  3. CJ

    Tri-tip is one of our favorite cuts for grilling but is almost impossible to find in Wisconsin. A spoon roast is a great substitute.

    Love your green pepper salsa. It’s addictive!

  4. lh0425

    What the heck is a tri-tip steak? I don’t recall seeing that cut on a chart. Where on the steer is the steak from: and what other cut would suffice?

  5. Frog

    We made this last night for company and it was awesome. The whole thing was simple and easy and delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  6. Rodo222

    Recipe sounds very good, well done once again Elise! Fortunately for moi, I live in Buenos Aires where high quality meat is the norm. If I’m not mistaken, tri-tip looks a lot like “colita de cuadril” down here, maybe someone can confirm / correct this…good sauce and lovely pics!

  7. Joe Horn

    Elise, Your blog is great. Love it. I just did a grilled tri tip with a black olive aioli and it was fantastic. Come visit when you have time and take a look. If you have time! I was able to find the recipe in the Niman Ranch Cookbook and I changed only a few things. My only problem was eating all the black olives before I could get them in the aioli. haha

    I liked this marinade too. I’ve used the cider for ribs, but not the tri tip so I will have to try that.

    Thanks again, it’s been fun reading through your blog since I became aware of it!

    Joe

  8. sue

    Made this recipe tonight for in-laws and everyone liked it. Will try it with the method of BBQ guy next time. We will be cooking on the grill a lot more if this hot weather continues. Thanks Elise.

  9. Kristin

    This was really good! Even our 4 yr old said, “Oh, this meat is so good! I will eat this for breakfast, I will eat this for lunch and I will eat this for dinner!” We didn’t make the green pepper salsa, but it was still really yummy. Once again, thanks Elise for a great recipe!

  10. Jerry

    This looks great. I can NOT find tri-tip here in Canada but I often pick a couple up when I’m across the border in NY. I’m bookmarking this for after my next cross-border shopping trip.

  11. Kalyns

    I love tri-tip and I’ve had good luck finding it in Utah but I hear it’s a western thing. Really like the idea of a salsa with green peppers; they are always so abundant in the summer!

  12. Jane

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, Tri-tip!

    We can get tri-tip at Trader Joe’s here on the East coast, both Santa Maria marinated and plain, which we usually get and then we kick it up ourselves. (This way we can control the sodium, too.)

    The green pepper salsa sounds great! I love the combination of ingredients.

  13. Elle

    Elise, Trader Joe’s in Raleigh, NC carries the tri-tip steak and actually that’s where I buy it because the other markets around here don’t carry it. Want to try the green pepper salsa with almost anything, it sounds so good.

  14. Diane

    @Jerry,

    I’m Canadian, and I’ve seen this cut in both BC and Ontario. It’s usually labelled as sirloin tip though. If you are on the east coast, try Loblaws. If you are on the West, save-on-foods/overwaitea both carry it, as do a number of smaller chains and butcher shops.

  15. Tara

    Yay, we are making this right now! I can smell the tri-tip on the grill, salsa is made and salad is ready. Thanks for the great inspiration for dinner today!

  16. Mary

    What could be better? A super marinade with great flavors and a delicious salsa – I will definitely be making this – simple food at it’s best
    Mary

  17. Amy

    Hmm – next time I do a tri-tip I’ll have to try this salsa. I just did a tri-tip with Santa Maria beans on Sunday – it is becoming my Memorial Day weekend tradition & always brings back fond memories of Santa Maria BBQs from when I was little.

  18. Lucy

    You’re correct, Costco has the tri-tip. I just bought some last week and plan to try it soon. Great looking recipe!

  19. Steph

    This salsa is wonderful, and going into my regular lineup! I used red bells (all I had), and basil, and a combo of cider and balsamic vinegars. I have been eating it on everything: hamburgers, tacos, bread, a spoon…. Thanks Elise!

  20. Star

    Hi, I have a question regarding cooking this in the oven. About how long should I cook this for at 325 deg? I don’t have a meat thermometer and I know that every oven cooks differently but is there an approximate time?

    Hi Star, after browning, I would figure about 12 – 13 minutes per pound. Sort of hard to say. It depends on your particular cut, and your oven. Best to undercook, you can always put it back in the oven if it isn’t done enough to your taste. ~Elise

  21. Libby

    My husband is a big fan of tri tip so I made this last weekend and now he’s requested again tonight. Looks like this will become a regular around our house. Thanks!

  22. Cherie Harper

    Tonight I made this and used a red bell, parsley, basil, and purple basil from the garden in the salsa. Fan-tastic meal. Such wonderful website! I come here all the time, and have used ((at least)) half a dozen of your recipes. Thanks. :)

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