Tri-tip is a very fine cut of beef that all too often ends up as stew meat or hamburger. Too bad, because it’s one cheap, tasty hunk of meat that takes well to grilling. The muscle is triangular in shape (hence, tri-tip), weighs in at between 1-1/2 and 2-1/2 pounds, and comes from the bottom of the sirloin. It has great flavor while still being pretty lean.
Because it is so lean, many folks like to marinate the heck out of tri-tips before putting them on the grill. Me, I prefer to coat the meat with a little olive oil and use a simple seasoning of kosher salt, minced garlic, and fresh ground black pepper – about 2-3 tablespoons of each. Just mix together and rub it into the meat. Let the meat come up to room temperature while you get the grill going.
For the grilling, you want to split the cooking time up into a sear over high heat followed by some dwell time over indirect or low heat. The goal is to get a nice brown crust without cooking the inside of the meat too much. Because the roast is so lean, cooking it beyond the point of medium rare will just make it tough.
I like to set the Big Green Egg for direct heat and adjust the vents until the dome temperature is between 450 and 500°F to start with. I sear the tri-tip over direct heat for about 3 minutes a side and then move the meat off the heat while I set the BGE up for indirect cooking, and close down the vents until the temperature drops to between 300 and 350°F. At this point, I put the tri-tip back on and hold it there until it hits 135°F internal. This is the lovely land of medium rare.
Here it is sliced for serving – tender and tasty. Save the juices to spoon over the meat when serving.