Is it better to marinate, season or dry rub tri-tip?

Is it better to marinate, season or dry rub tri-tip?

Marinate, Season or Dry Rub Tri Tip, which is better

In fact we'll go one better...should you even bother no matter which method?  The plain and simple answer is YES, YES, by all means YES!  Now for the best of the methods which would enhance, improve and just all around make you tri tip the best tasting thing anyone has had on a plate or in a sandwich in a really long time.  We are torn, because the choices depend on what type of cooking element you have, how much time you have and generally what flavor you want.  But to cut through all that let's say you pickup up a respectably sized tri tip somewhere around 4 to 5 pouns.  You love it but you know you will have to season or marinate. it to get that rich flavor deep down.

So, if you have overnight say more than 8 hours of potential resting time then I would with all due course marinate the tri tip.  I would start with a handy batch of yellow mustard just the plain stuff.  Then after trimming off the silver membrane parts and washing the tri tip I would lather on the mustard  Once lathered I'd take the tri tip and place it in a plastic bag or sealable container.  Place that bag or container in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.  And you ask why the mustard if I'm going to be marinating.  Well the mustard will help breakdown that upper layer of muscle to make the meat even more tender and so it will accept the marinade better. 

Next start the marinade mixing process.  So, if you are just using some store bought marinade then as we say "more power to you".  But if you want to be adventurous and try out one of the marinade options we have, then let's push on.  I am listing below some of the marinade options I like.  We've made literally hundreds of tri tips from small to large and from charcoal, to wood, to gas and electric grills.  Each grill serves it purpose and as we said if you have the time you can achieve amazing results with either method.  So, let's get to the recipes.

Bourbon Glaze which is an excellent recipe because not only can you use it to marinate but you can make extra and hold that on the side for dipping.

 Bourbon Glaze Ingredients:


In place of Jake's Maple Bourbon BBQ Sauce you can use 3/4 C Bourbon (**Inexpensive is fine and optional, you can substitute something else with similar flavoring if desired)

**Bourbon substitutes: Vanilla extract. Champagne, Sparkling wines, Sparkling apple cider, sparkling cranberry juice, or sparkling grape juice.

In a large saucepan melt the butter with the oil over medium heat. Add the Onions and saute; for about 5 minutes, if your desire Onions cooking until they begin to turn golden. Add remaining ingredients; reduce heat to low and cook until mixture thickens about 30 minutes or so, stirring frequently. After the second glazing on the Tri-Tip, return the glaze to the stove and simmer for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until the glaze gets sticky. Serve with the Tri-Tip on the dinner table.

Our Tri Tip, Honey mustard recipe is just plain magnificent.  It's easy because basically if you've followed down this far you know we talked about using yellow mustard as a marinade base.  In this option you can opt out the yellow mustard and just use the Dijon instead.  

Tri Tip, Honey Mustard Ingredients:

1 Tri-Tip Roast

For Marinade

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce

Mix all ingredients except roast in a pan and bring to boil. Lower heat to medium and cook about 10 minutes. Place Tri-Tip in container and cover with marinade. Soak Tri-Tip for three hours until tender. If desired Tri-Tip can be soaked overnight for a better taste.

Here's an option you may not of thought of...using a steak marinade in place of what some call tri tip marinades.

Bourbon Steak Sauce Marinade Recipe:


  • 1-1/2-2 pounds of sirloin, rib eye or flank steak trimmed of excess fat
  • 1/4 cup of either bourbon (inexpensive is fine) sparking cider, sparkling grape juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

But with those great recipes what about using Dry Rubs.  Well dry rubs marinate just as well as wet marinades but we feel that dry rubs are more "here and now" as opposed to long marinating sauces.  A dry rub will be absorbed into the body of the roast more quickly than a wet sauce and will require multiple coverings.  With a dry rub you effectively layer the rub then allow it to rest.  If you don't layer the rub but instead go right to the grill you risk losing the newly applied rub and or burning the rub depending on how much sugar content is in the mix.  So, be mindful of the application process and the type or quality of the dry rub your decide to use.  

But with dry rubs seasonings in mind here are 6 great dry rubs recipes you can make to get you on track.  This is basically the point at which we tell you about all the wonderful products we make especially dry rubs and seasonings.  So, if you're like many of us just plan ahead and order our products online.  You can also order Jake's Famous seasonings through Amazon under our original name Jake's Righteous Rubs use this link to get access to quick shipping products.  Now to the recipes.

Tri Tip Roast Rub Recipe Santa Maria

  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

  • 4 cloves crushed garlic

Citrus Style Tri Tip Rub Recipe

  • 4 teaspoons Garlic Powder

  • 2 teaspoons Paprika

  • 2 teaspoons Dried Orange Peel

  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt 

Homemade Cajun Tri Tip Rub Recipe

  • 8 tablespoons paprika

  • 3 tablespoons cayenne

  • 6 tablespoons ground black pepper

  • 4 tablespoons garlic ground

  • 3 tablespoons onion ground

  • 6 tablespoons sea salt

  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin

  • 4 tablespoons dried oregano

  • 4 tablespoons dried thyme

Santa Maria Tri-Tip Rub Recipe Basic

  • 3 Tablespoons Granulated Garlic

  • 2 Tablespoons Salt

  • 2 Tablespoons Coarse Ground Black Pepper

Tri-Tip Dry Roast Rub Brown Sugar Sweet and Spicy

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic

  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt

Santa Maria Brown Sugar Tri-Tip Rub Roast Recipe Basic

  • 3 Tablespoons Granulated Garlic

  • 2 Tablespoons Salt

  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

  • 2 Tablespoons Coarse Ground Black Pepper

These are exceptional recipes for Tri Tip but they can also be used on many other barbecue dishes such as ribs, beef, pork, turkey, chicken and more.  

For those of you who like to use charcoal grills like we do we've enclosed the Snake Method grilling process.  As long as your experimenting give this process a try.  Keep in mind the Snake Method takes time so consider at least 6 hours to get everything done the right way.  Let's proceed. 

Snake Method Tri Tip grilling is easy and delivers amazing results.  Just like the standard barbecue method the Tri Tip requires searing of the meat.  An easy way to sear the meat is right at the beginning of the Snake Method process.  First arrange your charcoals and wood around the grill as you normally would for this method.  Then build a pile of charcoal in the center of the grill.  This is your starter charcoal which will be used to start the snake.  One the started charcoal pile has ashed down which usually takes approximately 20-25 minutes then place the grill grate on the barbecue and sear the meat over the starter charcoal.  After searing remove the tri tip to a pan or dish and hold aside in your oven or on your stove top without heat.  Remove the barbecue grate and add the starter charcoal to head section of the charcoal snake to begin the cooking process.

After the coals have normalized their temperature somewhere around 280 to 300 degrees place the grate back on the barbecue.  Now place the tri tip rubbed roast on the grate away from the major area of the heat.  We will be doing indirect cooking so find the coolest part of the grill to start cooking the tri tip.  Place the lid on the barbecue and begin monitoring the temperature.  After about 30 minutes check the grill and monitor the temperature.  There's no need to remove the lid from the barbecue just place a measuring thermometer in one of the vent openings on the top of the grill and check from there.  If the temperature is too high notch down the bottom vent to decrease the amount of air flow entering the grill.  In time the reduced amount of air will begin to lower the temperature. 

Cook the tri tip as you normally would turning the tri tip every 15 to 20 minutes.  We want even cooking throughout so turning the tri tip will ensure that all sides receive a similar amount of heat.  After about 1 hour and 30 minutes begin testing the temperature of the meat.  It's a good idea to have removed a small section of the meat so that you really have two portions cooking on the grill.  The smaller portion will be your test segment.  Just pierce the smaller segment with the thermometer or slice when you get really close to the desired endpoint temperature.  Once your tri tip is cooked you MUST remove it and wrap it up immediately with aluminum foil.  Let the trip tip rest for at least 20 to 30 minutes before serving.  The resting process will draw any loose liquids back into the meat making it more tender.  Once rested cut the meat perpendicular to the grain of the meat.  Cutting this way will improve the chew ability of the meat.  Cutting along the grain will make the chew process tougher and the meat will seam stringy. 

That's the entire tri tip dry rub marinade process.  If you have additional questions please checkout our FAQs or contact us at [email protected]


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This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 29 March, 2022.