With the end of summer upon us, a lot of people think the time for outdoor grilling is at an end, but the truth of the matter is that it’s just the beginning. With cooler weather and football season kicking off, fall is the perfect time to light up the grill, toss on a couple of steaks, and enjoy a great time with family and friends, but how do you know the best steaks to grill for the best price that will deliver the taste and flavor you desire. While ribeye, tenderloin, and T-bone are common choices for the grill, tri tip steaks are lean, tender, and full of flavor while still being very affordable.

How Tri-tip Compares to Other Steaks

Tri-tip is known in some circles as the poor man’s sirloin but don’t let that stop you from throwing a few pounds in your grocery cart. Tri-tip is an excellent cut of beef that is great on the grill if done right, and the cost will save you money to put towards drinks and side dishes for your outdoor grilling party. Ribeye and tenderloin can range in price from $12 to $22 per pound while tri-tip falls in the $4 to $5 per pound range, so the savings is quite significant. Grilling tri-tip steak takes more than just a flame and a few seasonings. Here are some tips to make a great grilled tri-tip.

Tips for grilling a great tri tip steak
The tri tip steak is cut from a small triangle shaped cut from the sirloin. Tri-tip is a very lean cut and is not very common so you may have to request it from your butcher. Once you have your tri tip steaks, it is best to marinate them for two to three hours in your favorite marinade. If you’re unsure of what marinade to buy, you can combine lemon juice or lime juice, olive oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, salt, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, garlic, chili powder, and scallions. After whisking the ingredients together, place the steaks in a zip-lock bag then pour the marinade inside and seal the bag. Allow the steaks to marinade in the refrigerator for two to three hours, and never marinade tri-tip for longer than 12 hours as the marinade tends to overpower the flavor of the tri-tip.

The next step to grilling a great tri-tip is to allow it to reach 70 degrees or room temperature before any grilling begins. Allowing the tri-tip to reach 70 degrees will even out the temperature of the meat and allow for more even cooking. If you decide not to marinade on your steaks, then use your favorite rub and apply a generous amount to each one while the meat is resting.

Now it’s time to light your grill and bring it to the right temperature. As with most steaks, you don’t want the grill too hot or any flames or you run the risk of burning or drying out your steaks. Since tri-tip has very little fat within the meat, the chances of drying it out are greater than other cuts of meat that have more fat, so keep the heat of your grill between 350 and 375 degrees. This medium heat range will allow you to cook your steaks to the desired temperatures without the risk of overcooking or burning on the outside. Tri-tip steaks do have some fat around the outside so once your grill has reached the required temperature, place the steaks with the fat-side up on the grill. This will help prevent flare-ups that can burn or char the outside of your steaks before they reach the temperatures you want.

While the steaks are cooking, turn them frequently for even cooking. The amount of time to cook your steaks will vary according to the thickness of each steak, the temperature of the grill, and the doneness or temperature you want. Typically, a 1-inch steak will need to cook for 13 – 17 minutes to reach a medium temperature or doneness. If you like your steaks well-done, then you will need to cook your steaks a little longer. Once your steaks have reached the desired temperatures, remove them from the grill and allow them to rest for a few minutes before serving.