{ DIY }


How to select, prepare, and slice Southern California’s cut of beef

In the 1950s, a butcher up in Santa Maria decided to give the two- to three-pound triangular shaped cut off the top sirloin some attention. Instead of grinding it to hamburger, he perfected the cut and introduced it to his customers as “tri-tip,” an ideal piece of meat for grilling all year long.

Low in fat, with a rich, meaty taste, tri-tip cooks like a tender steak and is served thinly sliced, like brisket. Tri-tip is best when cooked medium rare. 

How do you cook the perfect tri-tip? First, use only USDA Choice or Prime grade beef. Second, marinate the beef in a pungent marinade that will enhance the meat’s flavor. Third, grill the meat at a very high temperature to form a crusty sear. Fourth, slice it correctly. Tri-tip has two distinct grain patterns: vertical and horizontal. For best results, cut the steak in half where the two grains intersect. Then slice each piece against the grain, to ensure you get the most tender slices of meat.

Former chef and owner of La Jolla Gourmet Meats, Jeff Lefstein, loves to share his cooking tips and recipes. We thank him for sharing one of his popular marinades with us.


3.5 cups Burgundy wine
3 cups teriyaki sauce
2 cups vinegar
1.5 cups oil
1.5 cups soy sauce
6 Tbsp paprika
6 Tbsp parsley flakes
3 Tbsp (3 cloves) minced garlic
1 Tbsp salt

Mix wine, teriyaki sauce, vinegar, oil, and soy sauce in a bowl. Add paprika, parsley, garlic, and salt and blend well. Set your tri-tip in a glass pan and cover the beef with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Remove the beef from the refrigerator about an hour before grilling to allow it to reach room temperature.

Heat a gas grill to 500 degrees to get a good, crusty sear on the meat. Cook the tri-tip for about four or five minutes until you get a good sear on each side. Lower the heat to about 400 degrees and cook each side an additional eight to ten minutes. Remove from the grill and test for doneness.

No time for prep work? You can purchase tri-tips sealed in this delicious marinade from Jeff at La Jolla Gourmet Meats!