Casa Rice Tri-Tip

valerie's tri tip

valerie's tri tip

A tri –tip roast is so Santa Barbara. Ok, well maybe so Santa Barbara County. This cut of beef first became popular just up the road from us in Santa Maria. Since it’s unique to this area, this tri-tip is often my go to recipe for out of town (non-vegetarian) guests and it’s always met with rave reviews.

Most of us have developed our own “house” recipe and here’s the Casa Rice rendition. It’s a perfectly Santa Barbara way to host a crowd. How am I almost five years in on writing this blog and haven’t shared this recipe?

valerie's tri tip

The marinade is an important step in this recipe because tri – tip is generally a pretty tough cut of meat (flavorful, but tough). The marinade makes it super tender at serving time. Note that tri-tip is best cooked up medium-rare.

If we’re having people over I’ll serve it with a salsa verde or harissa (recipe coming soon!). If it’s just the four of us, I’ll serve it plain — the kids love it with ciabatta rolls and they can make their own tri-tip sandwich. It’s always a total hit with my picky brood and makes a great recipe for your Memorial Day weekend.

valerie's tri tip

grilled tri tip

Casa Rice Tri-Tip

Casa Rice Tri-Tip

Serves 6


2 lbs tri-tip, well marbled

1/4 soy sauce

1/4 cup olive oil

3/4 cup orange juice

4 smashed cloves of garlic

1/2 tsp chile flakes

1/2 onion sliced


Put all of the ingredients in a zip lock bag with the meat. Allow to marinate at least 4 hours in the refrigerator. I usually do it overnight. Place the bag in a pie dish, just in case your marinade leaks out of the bag.


Fire up the grill. Pat meat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Over direct heat do a quick sear (2-3 min) on the fat side of the meat to create some caramelization. Flip the meat over and place on indirect heat. Cover and continue to cook about 20 -25 minutes. You’re basically using your grill as an oven at this point. Check temperature after 20 — for rare roast pull at 120 degrees and for medium rare pull at 130 degrees. Allow time to rest, about 15 minutes.


Slice thin and serve. Enjoy!