Grilled Tri Tip Recipe with Homemade Marinade

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In this post, I’ll share one of my favorite marinades and grilled tri tip recipe. Plus, there’s a bonus recipe at the end of the post for grilled chicken wings.

Grilled Tri Tip Recipe
Grilled Tri Tip

Tri tip is a small triangular cut of beef from the bottom sirloin cut. This cut originated in Santa Maria, California and has become popular nationwide.

It’s one of my favorite cuts of beef to grill because it absorbs marinades well. It can be seared like a steak and cooked at med/low heat to preserve the tenderness.

Grilled Tri Tip Recipe

Tri Tip Marinade
Marinated Tri Tip

Tri Tip Marinade

  • 5 pounds of tri tip meat
  • 1 cup of filtered water (we use a Berkey filtration system)
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 raw garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dehydrated onion
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • Regular or seasoned salt – see note below

Mix all the ingredients in a large freezer bag. Taste the marinade before you put the meat in and adjust accordingly. The marinade should be slightly salty to your taste.

Once the marinade is to your liking, place the tri tip in the freezer bag. Seal the bag and massage the marinade into the tri tip. 

Let it rest in the fridge for at least 24 hours prior to cooking. Flip the meat at least once during the 24 hours.

The acid in the lemon juice will breakdown the outer layers of the meat and allow the salt and sugar to get in and tenderize the meat.

Grilling the Tri Tip

How to Grill Tri Tip
Tri Tip on the Grill

Take the trip tip out of the fridge 2 hours prior to cooking. Leave it in the bag and allow it to come to room temp.

Start up your gas grill and put the burners on one side on high, leave the other burners off. I have the Weber Gas Grill, but this method will work for just about any outdoor grill. If you’re using charcoal, simply get the coals ready and stack them on one side of the grill.

Once the grill is pre-heated, put the meat directly over the hot portion of the grill. This is the same method used when searing a steak. Do not close the lid. Sear for 3-4 minutes on each side. The goal is to get the sear marks from the grill and a nice brown on the meat.

Once both sides have been seared, move the meat to the opposite side of the grill (cold side) and close the lid. Keep the grill temp between 350-375. Any lower and you’ll roast the meat, higher and it will dry out.

Tri tips will cook relatively quickly this way so check the progress around the 30 minute mark. You can break out the meat thermometer or use the “touch” method. When the tri tip is done to your liking, take it off the grill and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Slice the meat against the grain so it stays as tender as possible.

Grilled Tri Tip Recipe - finished

Note: I cook the tri tip so the thickest section comes out to a medium rare. When it’s sliced, the ends will be a perfect juicy well done, few slices of medium and then medium rare in the center. Everyone is happy.

Grilled Tri Tip Recipe - sliced

If you want to be traditional, serve the tri tip with a side of salsa and saltine crackers. I’m not sure how that started, but that’s how you get it in Santa Maria! Enjoy!

Bonus Recipe: Grilled Chicken Wings

Grilled chicken wings
Grilled Chicken Wings

Since you already have the grill on, why not make some chicken wings? Every time I make grilled chicken wings, I try something different. This weekend’s batch was a definite winner and some of the best we’ve made on our Weber Gas Grill.


  • 3 pounds of whole chicken wings (approximately 13-15 wings) *Note: we prefer to buy whole wings for two important reasons. First, when grilling, the whole wing will keep more of the juices. Second, you can use the wing tips to make chicken soup.
  • 1 juice of half a lemon
  • Lawry’s Seasoned Salt

One: Remove the wing tips from each wing and place wings in a mixing bowl. I prefer to use a pair of sharp scissors for this since it makes the process much quicker.

Remove Chicken Wing Tip

Two: squeeze half a lemon into the mixing bowl and sprinkle enough Lawry’s Seasoned Salt to lightly coat all the wings. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Feel free to use your favorite rub or seasoning. For a spicy kick, try Salt Lick’s Dry Rub.

Three: pre-heat the gas grill and when you’re ready to put the wings on, turn all burners to low heat and immediately place the wings over the burners to crisp up the skin. Make sure all wings are placed the same side down so they cook consistently. Close the lid and watch the grill to make sure the temperature doesn’t go over 350-375 degrees fahrenheit. Be careful of flare ups from the chicken fat.

Grilled Chicken Wings on BBQ

Four: flip the wings after 10 to 12 minutes and cook the other side for the same amount of time. Once the wings are cooked through and have nice grill marks, pull them off the grill and let them cool for 5-10 minutes before digging in.

* If you want to add a sauce, put it on the last 5 minutes of cooking or toss the wings in a sauce after pulling them off. Do not put the sauce on the wings before you grill because they will burn.

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