Grilled Tri-Tip with Chimichurri

by R.B. Quinn
how to grill tri tip

If you can find beef tri-tip sirloin and are in need of a high heat steak change-up, get some. Tri-tip makes a fantastic steak. It’s lean, tender, and easy to grill. And it’s even better with a smear of fresh chimichurri, the Argentinian accoutrement to grilled meats.

If you haven’t had it yet, tri-tip is a triangular cut of beef from the lower floors of the sirloin department. It’s also known as Santa Maria steak or Santa Maria-style barbecue, long popular in central California where allegedly someone decided to grill it as a steak and not just grind it up for other uses like burgers. 

Some folks apply a seasoning rub before grilling a tri-tip, but I’m not a Montreal seasoning guy so colorful rubs and red meat aren’t my thing. Paprika on a steak says to me that you’re either bored or trying too hard. That trip on the central Texas barbecue trail branded me with the conviction that before grilling or smoking beef needs only Kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper. At most I could see a simple paste salt/garlic paste mashed up with the flat side of a knife. Sorta like you’d do for a leg of lamb. 

While the tri-tip grills just like any steak, it also takes well to a little smoke. Taft’s Ale House in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood (housed in the former, spectacular St. Paul’s Evangelical Church) serves delicious smoked tri-tip steaks and sandwiches. The meat is first charred, then smoked over hickory, then finished in the oven to a nice medium rare. So, adding a little hardwood to your coals in the Weber kettle for a light wisp of smoke as the steak grills is a nice addition.  

For the chimichurri, a quick wiz-up of fresh cilantro and parsley, onion, garlic, vinegar, olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. That’s it.

If you like this, you’ll love hanger steak!

And you’ll also want a side of Tater Logs. We simply can’t get enough of these. You can make them in the oven or on the grill. 

Broccoli Rabe is R.B.’s other favorite steak side. 

And don’t forget to grill some bread while the grill’s hot. Do a big loaf, it keeps on giving.

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