Tri Tip Steak with Homemade BBQ Sauce

5 from 4 votes

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This Tri Tip Steak, cooked on the grill and served with our homemade barbecue sauce, is so tender and delicious. It is the star of the show for a special dinner and leftovers (if any) are ideal for salads and sandwiches.

Featured with this Recipe
  1. Tri Tip Steak
  2. Ingredients in Tri Tip Steak with BBQ Sauce
  3. Tri Tip Rub
  4. Supporting Role – Homemade BBQ Sauce
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. More BBQ Favorites
  7. How to Make Tri Tip Steak with BBQ Sauce
  8. Tri Tip Steak and Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

Tri Tip Steak

You know those first time food experiences that you remember forever? The ones that surprise you, but leave an indelible mark? It’s a little like that for us with this Tri Tip Steak. Our first exposure was while we were living in the bay area, it seemed like everyone was raving about Tri Tip. Once we tried it, we were hooked. It is now a favorite for grilling all summer long.

Ingredients in Tri Tip Steak with BBQ Sauce

  • Tri Tip Steak (also called Tri Tip Roast)
  • olive oil

Rub Ingredients

  • kosher salt
  • celery salt
  • pepper
  • granulated garlic

For The Homemade BBQ Sauce:

  • vegetable oil
  • minced garlic
  • ketchup
  • cider vinegar
  • firmly packed brown sugar
  • Worcetershire sauce
  • Yellow mustard
  • soy sauce
  • chili powder
  • Tabasco sauce – to taste

Tri Tip Rub

A flavorful rub is the key to the perfect Tri Tip Steak. To successfully “rub” meat, there are four essential steps:

  1. Allow meat to sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Place the meat on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. This will keep the mess to a minimum and make it easier to transport the meat to the grill.
  3. Wear rubber or plastic gloves to apply the oil and the rub. This keeps the rub on the meat, not your hands. With gloves, the rub goes on smoothly and evenly.
  4. Apply oil before applying the rub. The oil causes the meat to crisp or sear on the outside and keeps the juices on the inside. It also makes it possible for the rub to adhere to the meat.

Supporting Role – Homemade BBQ Sauce

At the time, we were in love with a little restaurant in Walnut Creek called the Buckhorn Grill and they made the most amazing BBQ Tri Tip sandwiches and salads. This tender cut of meat is also great on its own with a side of salad and potatoes. The real secret to this amazing version of our tri tip experience is the homemade BBQ sauce. This is my favorite bbq sauce in the world — for real! It’s tangy and a little sweet and has just enough of a little spicy kick to make it amazing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Tri Tip a good cut of steak?

Tri Tip has a rich flavor and is a lean cut of beef which makes it an especially tasty cut of steak.

How should Tri Tip steak be cooked?

Tri Tip is usually best cooked medium-rare or medium, for medium it should have an internal temperature of about 155 degrees. This keeps it a tender texture and makes for a delicious juicy steak.

Is Tri Tip called any other names?

Tri tip is also referred to as a California cut, Santa Maria steak, Newport steak, or bottom sirloin butt.

What if I don’t have a bbq grill?

You can also make this in a pan over the stove, in the oven, or in a smoker.

Read Next: Easy BBQ and Grilling Recipes

More BBQ Favorites

If your mouth is watering at the thought of this tangy dish, you’ll definitely want to consider some of these other favorite BBQ dishes. Use them to round out the tri tip meal or for another time you have a hankering for some delicious meat.

  • BBQ Pulled Pork Nachos are the ultimate party food. Crispy tortilla chips, pulled pork and a simple homemade BBQ sauce, you’ll reach for these again and again.
  • Crock Pot BBQ Baked Beans in a slow cooker are the perfect side dish for your next potluck or BBQ meal.
  • Blue Ribbon BBQ Ribs are fall-off-the-bone melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Seriously. The best you’ll ever have.
  • BBQ Twice Baked Potatoes are everything you love about barbecue, stuffed in a baked potato skin and baked to perfection.

How to Make Tri Tip Steak with BBQ Sauce

Tri tip steak on a white platter with homemade bbq sauce.

Tri Tip Steak and Homemade BBQ Sauce

5 from 4 votes
What makes this Tri-Tip Steak recipe especially delicious is the homemade bbq sauce. It is my favorite bbq sauce in the world, it is tangy and a little sweet and has just enough of a little spicy kick to make it amazing!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8


  • Outdoor Barbecue Grill


  • 2 pounds Tri Tip Steak (also called Tri Tip Roast)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Rub Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic

For The Homemade BBQ Sauce:


  • Let the tri tip sit out at room temperature at least 20 minutes before grilling.
  • Mix rub ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Use a pair of clean rubber or plastic gloves to rub the tri tip with olive oil, covering it completely. Then rub the spices evenly over the meat.
  • Grill over medium heat for 10 minutes on each side with direct heat. Continue to grill another 30 minutes with indirect heat. Use a meat thermometer to determine when the steak is cooked to your preference. For a medium cooked trip tip steak, the center temperature should reach 155 degrees.
  • When there is about 15 minutes left, baste the tri-tip with half of the homemade bbq sauce- recipe below.
  • Let the meat sit for at least 5 minutes after removing from the grill before cutting into it. Cut into thin slices and serve with the remaining bbq sauce for dipping.

For The Homemade BBQ Sauce:

  • Warm the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute or until the garlic turns golden.
  • Add the remaining sauce ingredients, including Tabasco sauce to taste, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes.
  • Divide the sauce in half (you will use half to baste the tri tip and the other half for dipping).


Recipe Tips:

  • Leftover sliced tri tip is delicious in salads or on sandwiches!
  • Reheat leftover try tip in a skillet – avoid using a microwave
  • Love BBQ sauce but want to switch it up? This trip tip is absolutely delicious with our creamy blue cheese sauce!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 290kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 24gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 675mgPotassium: 498mgFiber: 1gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 164IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 44mgIron: 2mg

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recipe modified from the Weber’s Big Book of Grilling (one of our favorite cookbooks!)

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About the author

Emily Walker

Emily lives in Meridian, Idaho, with her husband, Beau, a physician assistant, and her three incredible children: a son and two daughters. Travel is one of her favorite ways to experience new cultures and cuisines, and she has a love for all things Disney.

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  1. We followed the recipe exactly and it was delicious!
    It was easy to put together although it did have quite a few ingredients.
    We will do it again—

  2. I am from central California, we love our tri-tip too. I would add to slice against the grain To ensure the slices are tender. We have cooked the tri tip in the crockpot under shreddable for tacos. So yummy!

  3. 5 stars
    I love that this bbq tri-tip goes well on so many different things. I think my favorite way to eat it is on top of a salad.

  4. 5 stars
    I love tri-tip, so this recipe made it so easy for me to make it at home! And that sauce was the cherry on top 😉

  5. 5 stars
    I love tri-tip and this looks simple and flavorful, just the way I like it! I’m dying to try that bbq sauce! Probably this weekend since it’s still warm here. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Tri Tip is best when it’s Grilled and left with the inside pink… I season with pepper first and Garlic salt with parsley… Tri Tip does have it’s own flavor and doesn’t need anything else… However I tried a new sandwich shop and the Homemade BBQ sauce they put in my Tri Tip sandwich was absolutely DELICIOUS! The shop is no longer around and I am looking to find a recipe, close to what they used…

  7. Excellent Recipe! I applied the rub without using the oil – I didn’t find it necessary if you spray your grill well. I really loved the BBQ sauce recipe and made it exactly. I used a few dashes of Chipotle Tabasco. I will experiment with different types of mustards, and maybe add some diced onion. Thanks for posting.

  8. Born and raised on the CA Central Coast -the home of Santa Maria Tri Tip I’ve had more than my share of this delicious cut of meat. PLEASE DO NOT COOK A TRI TIP IN THE OVEN OR ON THE STOVETOP. NEVER. EVER. NEVER. Tri Tip is a cut of meat that is meant to be seared fat side down first over hot red oak coals and slow roasted (a good hour) using indirect heat. Baking it just results in a dry, flavorless, stringy piece of blob. I realize it’s not a cut that is popular all over the country (even though every cow has it hahaha). There are a lot of videos on YouTube from Santa Maria Tri Tip BBQ masters. I suggest you watch a few before cooking this BEST of all beef cuts! Also, I have to disagree with the BBQ sauce. Maybe on the side, but a good cut of meat that is adequately dry seasoned and cooked properly needs no sauce to cover up the flavor.

    1. I don’t know if I would do the oven, maybe over the stove in a fry pan on low to medium heat.