Asian Tri-Tip Steak Recipe: an easy marinade recipe that produces the juiciest grilled steak! Great for grilling or the stovetop.
This recipe was originally published on June 25, 2020. It was updated with new recipe information on September 29, 2021.
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Sweet and salty, garlicky, and full of umami, this sweet garlic soy marinade for tri-tip steak is a balanced and flavorful marinade. It makes perfect grilled or stove-top steak and is delicious with so many different side dishes. Read on to learn how to make the recipe, recipe FAQs, and more.
Table of contents
- This tri-tip marinade recipe is...
- Marinated trip tip ingredients:
- How to make this steak marinade:
- Recipe pro-tips:
- How to grill steak on the stovetop:
- Recipe FAQs
- How to slice tri-tip:
- Grilled tri-tip steak serving suggestions:
- Doubling or tripling this recipe:
- Dietary adaptations:
- Tools needed to make this recipe:
- More grilling and cookout recipes:
- Get all of my new recipes as they drop! Sign up for the Mae's Menu newsletter:
The timing of this tri-tip marinade post is uncanny.
Even though I scheduled it in a few months ago, I don't think I could have scheduled it at a more apropos time if I tried.
You see because I first tried tri-tip was with my cousin Kirk. I had just moved to the Bay Area and was down with my brother Kirk and my aunt Lea in San Luis Obispo for the weekend. He had some friends over as well and grilled us up some of the most delicious steak I had ever had: tri-tip.
He topped it with a chimichurri sauce (also a first!) that blew my mind. Never had I had either growing up in the Midwest.
Kirk was so generous -- always -- with his time, himself, his attention, cooking, and other little things he did to show he cared. He just made you feel known without even having to entirely explain yourself. And he was so. much. fun. to be around.
This particular trip, he made a special point to encourage me in my career and personal life. Coming out of college into the real world was jolting and somehow he knew I needed a little support.
And this meant a lot coming from a man who achieved as much as he did. It gave me perspective and the long game to remember. And it always helps to have someone else believe in us, even when we don't believe in ourselves, doesn't it?
This Monday morning, I was rocked with the news that Kirk had suddenly, yet peacefully, passed over the weekend.
It had been a bit over 4 years since I had last seen him -- losing that proximity with a cross country move made it that much harder to meet up -- but he had been on my mind a lot these past few weeks.
Most frequently, I thought of the good times we had together, how he knew how to make the most of any situation, his sincerity and freedom in being 100% himself, the way he always encouraged me, and of course -- the tri-tip.
I've now learned that I need to reach out to someone whenever they're on my mind that persistently. The energy I'm picking up is certainly a sign, an indicator, that I need to respond to.
Because I can't go back, and because Kirk deserves this and so much more, I'm dedicating this post to him. May we all seek to live life and love other people to the fullest like he did. To say "buzz off" to fear and live our full selves, because that's what the world needs the most from us.
Love you, 'Cuz! 💗
What is tri-tip?
Also known as Santa Maria tri tip, tri tip is a triangular cut of beef that comes from the bottom portion of the sirloin. It's generally a thicker cut of meat that's moderately marbled.
This Santa Maria tri tip marinade recipe is...
- Full of umami
This marinade is the best of both worlds: flavorful enough for 4th of July barbecues and other get-togethers while being easy enough to throw together on a weeknight or for a family Sunday dinner.
Marinated tri tip ingredients:
- Tri-tip steak - often found at butcher shops, Whole Foods, and at major grocery stores in the American West and Texas
- Low-sodium soy sauce
- Sherry vinegar - found at major grocery stores in the US, Whole Foods, or Amazon
- Olive oil
- Black pepper
- Ginger powder
- Onion powder
- Minced garlic - fresh or pre-minced
- Sherry vinegar - red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar can work in place of the sherry vinegar
- Olive oil - avocado oil or even toasted sesame oil will work in place of the olive oil, though the sesame oil will add a nutty flavor to the marinade.
- Soy sauce -full-sodium soy sauce will also work, but omit the pinch of salt from the recipe
- Honey - maple syrup or raw agave syrup can substitute for the honey
- Ginger - substitute dried ginger with 3x the amount of freshly grated ginger
- Onion powder - 2 tablespoons minced onion or 1 tablespoon of minced shallot can substitute the onion powder
How to make the best tri tip marinade
- Whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, honey, olive oil, pepper, salt, ginger, onion, and garlic until combined in a large bowl.
- Add the steak to the bowl and turn until covered in the marinade. Marinate the steak in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 24 hours.
- Preheat the grill to 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add the steak to the grill, reserving the marinade. Cook the steak for 10-15 minutes, turning it occasionally, or until the steak is cooked through to your desired degree of doneness.
- Move the steak to a clean dinner plate or cutting board and rest.
- While the steak rests: move the reserved marinade to a microwave-safe bowl. Whisk in a cornstarch slurry and microwave the marinade until the marinade has reduced down and thickened up.
- Slice the steak and serve with the marinade sauce with desired garnishes.
- Give the steak ample time to marinate - this will penetrate the steak with the best flavor
- Cook down the marinating sauce before serving - In this recipe, we will be reusing the marinade as a finishing sauce for the steak, but we will need to cook it before to make it safe for consumption. In addition to microwaving, the marinade can also be simmered down over medium-low heat in a small saucepan on the stove
- Let the grill come to full heat before adding the steak and clean the grill off with a grill brush before cooking your meat.
- Keep an eye on the meat as it cooks -- if the meat is cooking faster, flip it more frequently, if it is cooking slower, flip it less frequently and consider turning the heat up a bit.
- Use a meat thermometer to check the meat temperature -- it's the most accurate way to gauge the doneness of the steak.
- Let your steak rest before slicing -- this lets the meat juices settle and stay in the steak, instead of on your cutting board.
How to grill steak on the stovetop:
Preheat the non-stick pan, grill pan, cast iron skillet to medium-high heat. Drain the steak from the marinade and add it to the pan. Cook for 10-13 minutes, turning it every 3-4.5 minutes, or until sear marks have formed and the steak is cooked through to the desired degree of doneness.
The USDA states that the safe internal cooking temperature for steak is 145 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the meat. This produces meat that is medium-done. To adjust the cooking temperature to achieve your desired level of doneness, consult this steak cooking guide.
This steak marinade also works on flank steak, sirloin steak, strip steak, or even flat iron steak.
Marinate tri tip for 8-12 hours. The longer the better, but even a few hours in the marinade gives the steak great flavor. To penetrate this steak with flavor in the shortest period of time, you can cut the tri-tip into quarters before marinating. Whatever you do, I recommend against marinating the steak for longer than 24 hours, as it will over-tenderize the steak.
Yes, you definitely can make this marinade recipe ahead of time. Just whisk it together and store covered in the fridge for 3-5 days before marinating the steak in it.
Certainly. Just freeze the steak in the marinade in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours, or until the steak is thawed through, before cooking.
We need to let steak rest because it allows the steak the chance to redistribute its juices. If we cut the steak immediately after coming off of the grill, all of those delicious juices will end up on our cutting boards and plates, not in the steak.
How to slice tri-tip:
You generally want to slice tri-tip against the grain-- or the way that the muscle fibers flow. For most of the steak, this will be perpendicular.
The tri-tip is interesting, however, because it actually has two grains. If you want to slice accordingly, follow this infographic, or you can just slice the whole steak perpendicular to the length of the cut of meat.
Grilled tri-tip steak serving suggestions:
There are so many delicious sides and drinks you can serve this juicy grilled steak with. Here are some of my favorites:
- Grilled corn
- Mashed potatoes
- Roasted broccoli with lemon
- Air fryer green beans
- House special fried rice
- Steamed brown rice
You can also serve this tri tip grilled recipe for meal prep: on quinoa bowls or salads, with grilled vegetables, in wraps, and more.
Doubling or tripling this recipe:
You can easily double or triple this recipe. Just multiple all the ingredients by your desired amount and follow the rest of the recipe as directed.
- Gluten-free: make this recipe gluten-free by substituting coconut liquid aminos for the soy sauce.
- Processed sugar-free: keep this recipe processed sugar free by using raw honey or maple syrup
Tools needed to make this recipe:
- Medium-sized & microwave-safe mixing bowl
- Measuring spoons
- Meat cutting board (or a cutting board with wells for the juices)
- Slicing Knife
- Grill or grill pan
- Grilling tongs or heat-safe spatula
- Food or meat thermometer
More grilling and cookout recipes:
- Flat Iron Steak Marinade
- Spicy Honey Chicken Marinade
- Mexican Chicken Marinade
- Balsamic Grilled Chicken Thighs
- Curried Yogurt Chicken Marinade
More Asian inspired recipes:
If you made and liked this recipe, don't forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it went for you in the comments! It always makes my day to hear from you!