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Argentine Grilled Tri-Tip

Posted by Chef Perry Perkins on

Argentine Grilled Tri-Tip

~Chef Perry Perkins~

Argentines eat more beef per capita than any other country’s citizens, and when they cook it outdoors, they always do it over wood to infuse the meat with deep, smoky flavor. You’ll need an instant-read thermometer to know when the tri-tip has reached a perfect medium rare.

The tri-tip is a triangular cut from the bottom sirloin muscle. Untrimmed, a tri-tip typically weighs around 5 pounds. Tri-tip is the key cut in Santa Maria BBQ, and in sometimes referred to as a "Santa Maria Steak." The density of the meat requires either a long, slow braise, or a fast high-heat sear (not beyond medium rare, preferably rare) to avoid being boot-leather tough.

Grilled properly, and sliced thin, however, the tri-tip is one of the most flavorful, tender cuts of beef, and ideal for sandwiches and tacos.

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for oiling the grill
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
1 (2-pound) beef tri-tip roast
Argentine Chimichurri Sauce, for serving

4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
Juice of 1 medium lemon
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Combine oil, garlic, rosemary, and lemon juice in a small bowl; stir and set aside. Dry tri-tip with paper towels. Rub a generous amount of salt and pepper all over the tri-tip, followed by the reserved marinade.

Transfer tri-tip to a baking sheet and let sit at room temperature while you prepare the grill.

Lightly oil La Caja China grill, and lay on meat above a solid bed of hot coals (you can hold your hand at grill level only 1 to 2 seconds) cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Rotate the tri-tip 90 degrees (keeping the meat over the coals), cover, and grill until the underside is deep brown and grill marks appear, about 5 to 6 more minutes.

Flip the tri-tip and continue grilling over the coals, rotating 90 degrees once during the cooking time, until the meat is deep brown, grill marks appear, and the tri-tip reaches an internal temperature of 125°F (for medium rare) on an instant-read thermometer, about 10 to 12 minutes total.

Transfer meat to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice against the grain and serve with chimichurri.

Chimichurri Sauce

Grilled meats in Argentina are never served without a side of chimichurri, a brightly colored sauce with herbs, garlic, and tangy vinegar. If you can, make the chimichurri a day before serving to give the flavors time to meld.

Be warned...you may never use steak sauce again!

2 cups packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup packed fresh oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper

4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Place parsley, garlic, oregano, vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper (to taste) in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment.

~Chef Perry


As a third-generation chef, Perry P. Perkins focuses his love of cooking on barbeque, traditional southern fare, and fresh Northwest cuisine.

Perry runs the non-profit organization, MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, which teaches nutrition, shopping, and hands on cooking classes for at risk youth.

His cookbooks include La Caja China Cooking, La Caja China World, La Caja China Party, and the NEW “La Caja China Grill.”

You can follow the rest of Chef Perry’s cooking adventures at ChefPerryPerkins.com


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