A grilled Tri-tip is a favorite for every steak enthusiast. Grilled tri-tip roast is bound to satisfy all preferences, from the “I like it rare” to the “no pink for me”, all in one cut of beef. The steak-like quality makes grilling tri-tip steaks, either for the family or a special celebration, an enjoyable experience. Tri-tip has had continuous growth in popularity due to its remarkable texture and flavor assimilation which is just as good as any other regular steak. You might also hear it being referred to as California cut, Santa Maria roast, Newport steak, and triangle steak or roast.
Tri-tip can be sliced for fajitas, grilled as a whole roast or steak, and can even replace ground beef in gourmet chili recipes. Depending on where you live and availability, tri-tip can be an inexpensive cut of steak for your weekend grilling as a whole roast or sliced into steaks.
What is tri-tip anyway?
Many people have savored the rich flavors of this amazing variety without a clue about its origins. In short, it is a flavorful, tender, and triangular-shaped meat cut (hence the ‘tri’) located on each side of a cow just under the bottom sirloin. This meat-type ranges from very lean (not ideal) to overly fatty (okay, since the fat can be trimmed to your liking). Most tri-tip cuts usually weigh between 1.5 to 3 pounds, although it is widely possible to find cuts a little larger than this.
Picking the right piece of meat
Prepping the perfect tri-top starts with the choice you make at the butchery or grocery store. The quality and freshness of the meat chosen will affect the final product. Look for red cuts (the redder the meat, the fresher it is), with noticeable streaks of fat running through the meat. These streaks are a good indicator of a well-marbled, flavorful cut. If the cut is closely trimmed, you can see these white streaks across the muscles within the grain of the meat.
Some tri-tip cuts are sold untrimmed, meaning that quite a thick layer of fat is left on the meat on one side. Try to find a steak that has a balanced fat to lean meat ratio. If the outside fat cap is thicker than 1/4-inch, trim it to a little less under the ¼-inch thickness. Also, depending on the size, you can trim more or less. The fat is what holds the flavors from a marinade or dry-rub, but too much of it is not good for your health. As soon as you get home, refrigerate your raw steak and keep it in plastic packaging to avoid any leakages.
Marinating Or Using a Dry-Rub for Your Tri-tip
A marinade (a liquid mixture made of acid like vinegar, citrus, and white wine or enzymes with aromatics like garlic and herbs) and a small measure of oil are ideal to add specific flavors. The marinade will introduce citrus or herb flavors that dry rubs usually can’t match. However, it works best on thinner cuts of meat since it does not penetrate too deeply. The flavor is mostly at the surface. Marinades with acids or enzymes such as papaya or pineapple should only be in contact with the meat for only a few hours, otherwise, these types of ingredients can make the meat tough or mushy.
A dry-rub (a dry mixture of salt, pepper, and dried herbs or spices that is used to add flavor and texture to any type of meat) is also vital to add that extra zing. Search around your local butcheries or grocery stores for the best commercial BBQ rubs, or make your own signature rub at home. The seasoning works to form a crust on the exterior. Salt is the only seasoning that really penetrates the meat beyond the surface. However, salt needs at least 40 minutes to penetrate and flavor your meat, so any dry-rubs with salt should be given time to rest on the meat for that amount of time before grilling.
Usually, A good measurement you can use is 1 tablespoon of rub per pound of meat; however, this is not set in stone as it also depends on how salty the rub tastes raw. If you taste it straight out of the package and you can only taste salt, go with a little less amount than this recommendation. If the salt is not overpowering, being savory, and enhancing other flavors, the 1 tablespoon rule will work just fine.
Grilling the Tri-Tip
Preheat the grill. If you have several, as most grilling enthusiasts do, fire up your best gas grill with searing burner and brush some oil on the grill grate so that the meat does not stick. Olive oil is the best oil for the flat top grills as it will add its flavor. If you don’t have it, your regular oil will do just fine. As you preheat your grill, let the tri-tip sit out of the fridge for some 10 minutes so that the meat thaws out. The meat should cook in its water content. The flavors and texture of tri-tip grilled meat are similar to a steak more than your traditional Sunday roast so it is best cooked and served medium-rare. The uneven thickness of the meat—thicker in the middle and thinner at the tapered ends—means it will be well-done on the ends than in the middle part.
Place the steak on the grill, allowing it to cook for some 5 minutes. Flip the steak and then let it grill for another 3 to 5-minute period. Depending on the steak’s thickness, it might need more or less time on the grill. The 5-minute grill time should be able to give your steak a medium-rare to medium doneness. If you prefer it well-done, you should leave it on the grill for longer. To help the meat cook more evenly, place the thicker middle in the middle of the grill. Pro grillers will confirm that you always get the best compact BBQ with gas. You can also reduce the heat so that you don’t overcook the steak. After the recommended time, move the meat away from the center of the grill where it’s hottest. Let it rest before serving. The final result should be a juicy piece of meat that is brown on the outside. If its medium-rare, it should have a pinkish hue towards the center.
Temperature beats time on the grill
If you have been grilling without any type of instant-read thermometer, it’s about time you elevate your grilling game and stop guessing if the meat is done. Invest in one, it will be a handy tool in the future. Great grilling or barbecuing mainly relies on temperature than time. Use a meat thermometer to be extra precise. If you don’t have one, cut into the steak, have a small bite, and use your discretion to decide whether it’s done or not. In most cases, a rare steak will go to about 145 degrees Fahrenheit, and a medium will range from 150 to 160 degrees. A well-done steak should be cooked to a range of about 165 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, remember that when the thicker middle part of the steak reaches medium-rare temperatures, the thinner ends will be close to medium.
Cutting the Tri-tip
The rule of thumb when cutting any meat is: cut against (or across) the grain and on a slight bias. This will shorten the long strands of the muscle in the meat, making it more tender to chew. Whip out your best knife set for home cooking to avoid messy cuts. Cut slices that are thick enough to accommodate the full complement of flavors with every bit.
Complimentary side dishes and drinks
Steak isn’t an everyday dish, so it’s important that when you do grill it, you have the perfect combination of side dishes. You’re not short of options and you have the room to experiment. While the steak might be the main attraction on the lunch or dinner menu, you cannot live on meat alone. Make sure your side dishes have a bit of everything: color, nutritional content, and wholesomeness. Since the meat is protein, add some vegetables such as asparagus, green beans, and tomatoes. For starches, you can have potatoes or butternut squash for a truly all-round meal.
For drinks, red wine or a beer is usually the ideal partner, but you also need something for the non-alcoholics. Steak has a particularly rich flavor profile that is deep, sometimes sweet, and subtle in other instances. Cocktails offer a good and wide range of options. Pairing a delicious drink to the steak will enhance the taste experience for both while giving you a blend of flavors that work well together on the palate.
Feeling confident enough to try it out? .Tri-tip grills are always a great choice that never disappoints. Stop hesitating and fire up that gas grill before life gets busy again! Good luck!