Grilled Tri-Tip Steak with Bell Pepper Salsa

Grilled, marinated tri tip steak with a salsa made with green bell peppers, garlic, and scallions. Also called sirloin tip, culotte steak, triangle steak, and Santa Maria-style barbecue.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

Updated, first posted 2007.

Grilled Tri Tip with Bell Pepper Salsa

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.



  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


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


  • 1 large bell pepper (any color), stem and seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts
  • 1 garlic cloves, finely chopped (1 teaspoon)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley, basil, or arugula
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider or red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


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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. Marinate for 20 minutes while you are preheating the grill.

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 pat it dry with paper towels. Sprinkle generously all over with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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4 Place the tri-tip on the hot side of the grill. 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. Brown well on both sides. 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 from grill, cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes.

6 Make the bell pepper salsa by stirring together all of the salsa ingredients in a small bowl.


7 Cut the tri-tip in 1/4-inch slices across the grain of the meat. Serve with the bell pepper salsa.

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Showing 4 of 20 Comments

  • Jerry


    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Diane


    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.

  • 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.

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Bell Pepper SalsaGrilled Tri-Tip Steak with Bell Pepper Salsa