The Easiest, Most Flavorful Marinated and Grilled Tri-Tip Steak

If I am thinking about my ideal meal, especially during grilling season, it would have to involve some sort of steak. Steak and potatoes is a staple for my husband and I for two reasons. First, he loves potatoes. Second, I love beef.

Vertical image of slices of meat on a green salad, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

It’s like we are a perfect match or something, am I right?

The easiest way for me to get steak on the table is by marinating and grilling it. It has become second nature to me and it’s the best way to get my red meat craving satiated. Particularly on a hot summer evening with a cool beer in one hand.

When it comes to cooking different cuts of meat, if you’ve ever been to a barbecue, you’ve undoubtedly run across the lean cut of meat that is the tri-tip.

For those of you who don’t know, tri-tip is a lean cut of beef that is also known as the triangle steak because of its shape. Tri-tip can be smoked, grilled, or even roasted in the oven. It’s very flavorful.Vertical image of a large piece of meat with herbs cooking on a grill.

There’s no better time than right now to throw one on the grill for yourself, especially when you have a simple marinade in your back pocket to flavor it.

You can certainly use your choice of spice rubs to bring flavor to the meat, but I always reach for a marinade as my go-to. That’s because it’s super simple – all you have to do is let the meat sit in the mixture in the refrigerator for a period of time.

For the best results, make sure you let that meat marinate for at least 4 hours. I find that the sweet spot for this type of recipe is between 8 to 10 hours, but the real key is to refrain from letting it marinate for more than 24 hours. Any longer and the texture of the beef will become mushy – yuck.

Vertical image of sweet potato fries and slices of meat on a white plate.

To err on the side of food safety, do not use the marinade as a sauce unless you cook it first. The marinade can carry harmful bacteria otherwise.

To cook it, add it to a saucepan placed over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Then you can use it as a sauce on top of the meat if you choose.

To get those tasty and tender slices of meat, rather than tough and chewy pieces, be sure to cut against the grain on a diagonal angle. This cut has fibers that run in a couple different directions on different sections, so be sure to pay attention to the orientation of the grain in the area you are slicing to get it right.

Vertical image of slices of meat on a green salad

Also, be sure to keep this marinade recipe in your back pocket for other dinners too. This marinade is fantastic for use on other cuts of beef, as well as chicken or pork.

It’s one of those all-purpose recipes I love to turn to when I need to add a little something special to the weeknight meal routine. You’ll be surprised just how many times you start using it, if your household is anything like mine!

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Horizontal image of slices of meat on a bed of chopped lettuce on a red napkin next to a fork and knife.

Marinated Tri-Tip Steak

  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 21 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


It’s easier than you might think to learn how to make the most flavorful marinated tri-tip steak. The marinade makes this cut of beef so juicy and tender.


  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce, tamari, or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped fresh parsley or basil (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon honey or agave syrup
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds tri-tip steak


  1. Stir together soy sauce (or Liquid Aminos), olive oil, parsley or basil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, honey or agave syrup, minced garlic, and ground black pepper in a baking dish with high sides. Place the beef in the dish and turn several times to coat with marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high (about 350-400˚F). Place the steak in the center of the grill and cover. Cook for 7-8 minutes. Turn over and cook for 8 more minutes for medium rare, or until the meat reaches your desired level of doneness.
  3. Remove from the grill and set aside to rest for about 5 minutes. Slice diagonally and against the grain into 1/2-inch-thick pieces and serve.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 16 mintues
  • Category: Beef
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Dinner

Keywords: tri-tip, steak, beef, marinade, grill

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Chop Herbs, Mince Garlic, and Measure Remaining Ingredients

Horizontal image of various wet and dry ingredients in glass bowls and a large cut of raw meat on a blue plate.

Chop enough parsley or basil until you have 2 tablespoons total.

Peel and mince three cloves of garlic.

Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.

Step 2 – Marinate Steak

Horizontal image of a raw cut of meat marinated in a dark liquid with chopped herbs in a pan.

To make the marinade, stir together the soy sauce or tamari/aminos if gluten-free, olive oil, parsley or basil, red wine vinegar, honey or agave, garlic, and black pepper until combined in a dish with high sides. I like to use an 8-by-8-inch baking dish).

Place the raw meat in the dish and turn it several times to coat.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.

Step 3 – Grill

Horizontal of a large piece of meat with herbs cooking on a grill.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat – this is about 350 to 400˚F. Once it’s hot, remove the meat from the marinade and place it on the center of the grill. Cover and cook for 7 to 8 minutes.

Turn and cook for another 8 minutes for medium rare, or until it reaches your desired level of doneness. Use a meat thermometer for more accurate temperatures. Remove from the grill and let it rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes before slicing.

When you slice, cut the beef diagonally into half-inch-thick pieces. Serve immediately.

Top Grilling Tips

Want to make sure that you get the best tri-tip steak every single time, hot off the grill? Try these tips:

Horizontal image of slices of meat on a bed of chopped lettuce on a red napkin next to a fork and knife.

Before you grill, clean the grates off well with a grill brush. You don’t want any lingering grease, charred food, or burnt flavors getting into your meat.

Let the grill come up to temperature before you add the steak, to ensure that you get the best sear.

Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. This is the most accurate way to gauge whether the steak is done to your liking.

Finally, don’t skip resting the meat. Let the proteins relax and the juices settle and stay in the steak, instead of escaping all over your cutting board.

Looking for other steak recipes to try? Check out the following from Foodal:

What kind of grill do you have – gas or charcoal? Maybe you have a portable charcoal option for all your fun trips? Tell us in the comments below and be sure to rate this recipe when you try it.

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 10, 2011. Last updated on March 21, 2021.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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