Asian marinated tri-tip

The star of this recipe is not the tri-tip but the marinade. It gives the meat a delicious sweet and savoury taste, making such a beautiful piece of meat even more delicious. The marinade works on any steak, but you can also use it for pork chops or a whole chicken.

This is a tri-tip. Show your butcher this photo if he doesn’t know what you need. The tri-tip is a unique cut of meat that can be prepared in many ways, and the result is always good. You can grill it low and slow for it to be pulled. Or grill it in smaller parts as steaks and as a whole as a roast.

We are going to marinate this tri-tip in a nice spicy Asian marinade. In general, we prefer only to marinate cuts of meat that are thin enough, but it works well in this recipe. Also because we keep part of the marinade aside to make a sauce. Before we marinate the tri-tip, we cut away thicker pieces of fat and silverskin. This can be done very quickly with a sharp and flexible filleting knife. The fat and silverskin would only hold back the marinade.

Let the marinade rest for about 4 hours. Longer is also allowed, but that has no added value for the taste. A marinade does not penetrate more than a few millimetres into the meat, and the rest remains on the surface. That is fine in the case of this marinade.

After a few hours in the fridge, we cook the tri-tip indirectly at 150ºC (302F) on our kamado. We insert a probe into the meat and close the lid. We have specifically chosen 150ºC (302F) because the sugars in the marinade burn at a higher temperature, making the meat bitter.

Of course, you can cook the meat at a lower temperature, but that is unnecessary. The meat is relatively lean and does not have much connective tissue that needs to be broken down. It generally takes about 45 minutes to an hour to reach the desired core temperature of 48ºC (120F).

After the tri-tip has come up to temperature, we pull the platesetters out of the kamado and open the lower slides. The charcoal will glow harder to grill the steak with a lot of direct heat.

We do this with tongs in hand. As we mentioned, the sugars on the surface of the meat can quickly burn. That’s why we keep flipping and turning the tri-tip every 10 to 20 seconds until a nice crust has formed. A few dark pieces are allowed but don’t overdo it.

The trick to a tender tri-tip, or any steak, is the cut. You are assured of the most tender meat if you cut the tri-tip across the muscle. You will see that an entire tri-tip consists of two groups of muscles that are at perpendicular angles to each other. From above, you can see how the muscles run through the meat by the lines on the surface. After cutting, you will see a block pattern.
Now you also see that the meat is perfectly medium rare. That is only possible if you use a good thermometer. Of course, you can gamble and feel it, but meat is too expensive for that.

This is our Asian marinated tri-tip. We kept half of the marinade aside and mixed it with a little extra honey. If you will make this tri-tip too, let us know in the comments below. Or better! Please take a photo and post it on Instagram. Tag @bbqhelden so we can see what you made.


  • 1 kilo tri-tip

For the marinade

  • 200 ml soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 spring onions finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp sambal manis
  • 1 thumb-sized piece ginger grated

For the sauce

  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsp honey


  1. Remove large pieces of fat and silverskin from the surface of the tri-tip and place the meat in a large ziplock bag.
  2. Mix everything for the marinade and pour half of the marinade into the bag with the tri-tip. Keep the rest aside to make the sauce later. Let the tri-tip marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours to overnight.
  3. Prepare a barbecue with an indirect temperature of 150ºC (302F) and place the marinated tri-tip on the grates. Place a thermometer in the thickest part of the meat and close the lid.
  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce by heating the remaining marinade in a pan with the extra honey. Mix the cornstarch with the water and stir it into the sauce to thicken it.
  5. When the meat has reached a core temperature of 48ºC (120F), remove it from the grates and rebuild your barbecue for direct heat.
  6. When the tri-tip has a nice crust all around, let it rest for 10 minutes. Then you cut it against the thread in nice slices.

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