Freshly cut grass, blossoming flowers and a sizzling steak on the grill make for quintessential summertime aromas.
But nothing is worse than a burned or too-rare steak — which is why you should take extra measures to ensure your tri-tip is cooked to perfection.
What Is a Tri-Tip Steak?
Tri-tip is a lean, flavorful and tender triangular cut of beef from the bottom sirloin cut. "The fat is left on the outside of the cut to enhance the flavor, so tri-tip is especially juicy and packed with flavor," says Anya Fernald, co-founder and CEO of Belcampo, which makes organic, grass-fed and grass-finished, Certified Humane meats.
Dietitian Maryann Walsh, RD, suggests that you select Choice-grade beef. Beef is categorized into Prime, Choice and Select. Prime is generally the most tender but also the highest in fat content while Select is on the tougher side. Choice is a happy medium.
Prepping the perfect steak starts with the choices you make at the grocery store. The quality and freshness of the meat you buy will effect your final product.
Pick a steak that has a balanced fat to lean meat ratio. As soon as possible, refrigerate your raw meat and keep it in a plastic any leaking, per the USDA.
How to Cook Tri-Tip Steak
Before you throw your tri-tip on the grill, consider Walsh's must-try recipe.
- Tri-tip steak
- Lemon juice
- Worcestershire sauce
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Garlic powder
- Pineapple juice (optional)
Add veggies, such as eggplant, asparagus, zucchini, cauliflower or mashed potatoes as a side dish.
- Create your marinade: Combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon garlic powder in a bowl. You can also include a 1/2 cup of pineapple juice to add sweetness, but this is optional. Pineapple juice also contains bromelain, which helps tenderize the meat, as does the lemon juice's acidity, Walsh says. Marinate your steak in a Ziploc bag for at least 2 hours before cooking.
- Preheat your grill: As you preheat the grill, let the steak sit out of the fridge for about 10 minutes to bring down the temperature of the meat.
- Cook the meat: Place your steak on the grill, allowing it to cook for about 5 minutes. Flip the meat and then let it cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cut. This cook time should give you a medium-rare to medium stake. You can cook longer if you prefer it well-done.
- Check the tri-tip temperature: You can either cut into the steak to check whether it's ready or use a meat thermometer to be extra precise. Usually, a rare steak will come to about 145 degrees Fahrenheit, medium will be 150 to 160 degrees and well-done should be cooked to about 165 to 170 degrees.
While your steak cooks, toss your veggies onto the grill, too, Walsh suggests. Grilled eggplant, zucchini and asparagus are all great options and you can just brush them with some oil and a bit of salt and pepper.
Remember to Enjoy Red Meat in Moderation
Every once in a while, adding some beef into your diet is OK. In fact, there are plenty of healthy red meat recipes to help you incorporate this tasty protein in the most nutritious way possible.
Nevertheless, beef, pork and lamb are higher in saturated fat, which can drive up your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Generally, you'll want to keep your saturated fat intake limited to under 10 percent of your total calories per day.
Moderation is the key when it comes to red meat. If you absolutely love fattier, Prime cuts, opt for a healthier prep method, like grilling or broiling, the Mayo Clinic suggests. Trim excess fat from your meat when possible and choose homemade or lower-fat marinades and condiments.
Also, watch your portion size! You'll want to keep your intake to about 3 ounces per meal, according to the Mayo Clinic. For reference, that's about the size of a deck of cards.