A peppery, bright arugula pesto is a great accompaniment to beefy whole grilled tri tip.
The tri tip is the tensor fascia latae – given the name because of three distinct point on the muscle. It’s somewhere between a roast and a steak in size – and can function as both. Though some people do cut them into steaks before serving, I prefer to cook them whole to retain maximum juiciness. The tri tip is also unusual because the grain (or direction) of the meat changes halfway through the muscle. So for maximum tenderness you need to know how to cut it properly. Don’t worry – I have you covered with this super detailed video tutorial.
My usual go-to for tri tip is this smoked recipe, but the grill produces a whole range of different flavors from the charcoal and maillard reactions. Grilling the tri tip is also faster, so it’s a great option for a weeknight meal solution. And if you can manage not to eat it all in one sitting- the thinly sliced leftovers make for incredible beef sandwiches.
This recipe will absolutely cover the basics for grilling this tasty cut, but what makes it really special is the arugula pesto. I use this just like a chimichurri and spoon in straight over the meat for the perfect bite. It’s packed with rich flavors like parmesan and textural crunch from walnuts, but the best part is the arugula itself with is fresh and peppery when paired with the beef.
Additional recipe notes:
- For best results, make sure when you grill your tri tip you rotate it on the grill to sear the thick end and the edges, not just the two main sides
- To get the gorgeous color and seasoning you see in the photo, I used Hardcore Carnivore Red. You can sub this out for 1 teaspoon of kosher salt (but if you like flavor, grab a bottle!)
- The trick to cooking this thicker cut is a two zone grill setup. You can find it described in the recipe below, but for more details and a visual, check out this guide.
- To check when the tri tip is cooked, I recommend using an accurate meat thermometer. Please note – though this recipe calls for a final temperature of 135f, the USDA recommends steaks be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F.