Tri Tip Marinade Recipe

This tri tip marinade recipe will transform this special cut of beef into something even more delicious. This easy marinade made with fresh orange and lime juice, soy sauce, and spices will not only infuse your tri tip with extra flavor, but it’ll also make it extra tender and juicy! Pair it with Brazilian rice and toasted cassava flour for the ultimate Californian Brazilian fusion barbecue!

A grilled tri tip, sliced.

Why I love this trip tip marinade recipe

Oi gente!!

Tri tip is massively popular here in California and rightfully so. It’s fairly tender, and very flavorful all on its own. So flavorful that in Brazil, where I’m from, we tend to keep our maminha, how we call tri tip in Portuguese, pretty simple. Just properly salted, and grilled to perfection.

Here in California, I’ve had some pretty boldly seasoned and spectacular tri tips that just blew. my. mind!!! So many flavors, so juicy and so tender, all thanks to marinades.

I’ve tried and tested a world of flavor combinations; some pretty meh, some OK, others pretty good. And this tri tip marinade recipe right here, meus amigos, is our winner!

I love it so much because it infuses the tri tip with so many bold flavors, that hit every corner of your mouth. It’s insane! And thanks to a great combination of acids from the lime and orange juice, the meat also comes out super tender.

We love this California inspired tri tip marinade recipe soooo much that for the last little while, we’ve been making it more often than my favorite grilled picanha recipe haha. That’s quite telling coming from this Brazilian girl!

I hope you love it as much I do!

Bom Apetite!

How to marinate tri tip

tri tip marinade recipe step instructions

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Prep. The only prep involved in this recipe is measuring out your ingredients, and juicing the lime and the orange! Other than that, just combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl, then whisk everything to combine – no blender or food processor needed!

Bag. Add the trip tip to a large Ziplock bag and then pour in the marinade. Close the bag and mix it around so the marinade covers the meat. If you don’t have a ziplock bag, you can use a bowl big enough to fit the meat, and ideally, have the meat submerged by the marinade. If your bowl won’t allow the marinade to cover the meat, just be sure to flip the tri tip in the bowl, every couple of hours, as often as you can, to coat it in the marinade. This will ensure the marinade flavors are distributed evenly throughout the meat.

Refrigerate. Place the bag of meat with the marinade in the fridge and let it rest for at least 4 hours, or as long as overnight, which is my recommendation. The longer it sits the better it’ll be!!

Want more marinade recipes to try? Check out my Ribeye Steak Marinade, and Chimichurri Salmon!

Tips for grilling tri tip

Take the meat out of the fridge about an hour before you plan on grilling it. This will ensure the meat isn’t all the way cold when it hits the grill, and will help make sure it cooks evenly.

When in doubt, use a thermometer. Since the tri tip is unevenly shaped, it’s best to cook it to medium rare, so the tip doesn’t dry out. The best way to check is by inserting a thermometer, on the the thickest part of the meat and when it reads 130F you should be good to go.

Check out the guidelines below, in case you prefer your meet less cooked, or more cooked!

Meat temperature guide

Let it rest. Letting the tri tip rest after you’ve finished grilling does two really important things. First, it’ll continue to cook through with the residual heat, at least a few more degrees. Second, it allows the juices inside the meat to recirculate, making sure the meat is juicy throughout, which allows the meat to retain those juices when you slice it. If you cut it too soon, too much of those juices will ooze out of the meat, instead of making their way through inside.

Start slicing from the tip. While the acids in this marinade will work overtime to tenderize the meat, you’ll still want to cut it against the grain to make sure you get the most tender chew. In the image above, the yellow arrows show you the direction of the grain, and the white dotted lines show you how to cut “against” it.

Of course, there will be some spillage regardless, especially if you’re like me, and like your meat on the rare side.

Freshly sliced, juicy, grilled tri tip

Tri tip marinade recipe FAQ:

What is tri tip?

The tri tip is a cut of beef that comes from the bottom sirloin part of the cow, in the lower abdomen area. It’s a small triangular cut of beef that usually weighs 1.5 to 2.5 pounds and sometimes goes by the name of a bottom sirloin butt. Tri tip is a fairly inexpensive and flavorful cut of beef.

Tri tip marinade recipe, after grilling and slicing.

These delicious sides pair wonderfully with this trip tip marinade recipe:

Don’t forget dessert:


5 from 116 votes

Tri Tip Marinade Recipe

This tri tip marinade recipe will transform an already delicious cut of beef into something even more special. This easy marinade made with fresh orange and lime juice, soy sauce, and spices will not only infuse your tri tip with extra flavor, but it'll also make it extra tender and juicy! Pair it with Brazilian rice and toasted cassava flour for the ultimate Californian-Brazilian fusion!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Marinating Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 403kcal
Author: Aline Shaw


  • 2.5 lbs tri tip
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice about 2 oranges
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice about 2 limes
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dry oregano
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt If you're sensitive to salt, reduce to 1 or 1.5 Tbsp


For the Marinade:

  • Combine all the ingredients, except for the tri tip, in a medium bowl and whisk to combine and set aside.
  • Add the tri tip to a ziplock bag large enough to fit the meat.
  • Pour the marinade into the bag with the meat, close and refrigerate for 4 hours to overnight.

For Grilling:

  • To ensure even cooking, remove the meat bag from the fridge at least one hour prior to firing up the grill, so that the meat doesn't hit the grill while it's still cold.
  • Gently remove the meat from the bag, and discard the bag and leftover marinade. There's not need to pat the meat dry before grilling, just make sure it's not dripping prior to placing it on the grill to avoid flare-up and burning.
  • Pre-heat the grill to 350F.
  • Sear the meat on both sides over direct heat, for approximately 5 minutes per side.
  • Move the meat to a medium section of your grill (in between burners is great!) and cook over indirect heat, turning as needed, until an instant read thermometer reads 130F when inserted in the thickest part for medium rare, or until you reach your preferred "done-ness".
  • Remove the tri tip from the grill, and let it rest in a cutting board approximately 10 minutes before cutting.
  • Slice against the grain and serve.

Bom Apetite!

    Did you make this recipe? Show me how it turned out! Snap a photo and share with me on Instagram tagging @aline_shaw!


    Calories: 403kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 125mg | Sodium: 2764mg | Potassium: 740mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 184IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 4mg

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    1. 5 stars
      I’m a native Californian and I’ve been grilling tri tip for decades – this is one of the best marinades I’ve ever used. Highly recommended.

    2. 5 stars
      Fantastic marinade! By circumstances it stays in marinade more the 24h, but was turned from side to side from time to time. It was not mushy or else. After searing in a pan I put it in the mini oven without heat to keep it warm It was there probably hour and a half before (by circumstances again) it was served,
      And OMG, it was superb, lightly pink inside, juicy, flavorful. Next morning we enjoyed it cold, non the less!
      Thank you for the recepie!

    3. my tr-tip is currently marinating. i added rosemary, thyme & minced garlic. .i tasted the marinate & it tasted, well, citrusy! i will sear on stovetop & roast @ 425 like i always do w/tri tip.. tastes very different from ones i have made but the reviews are good…i am looking forward to tomorrow when i’ll make it..

    4. 5 stars
      I cooked the tritip in my sous vide and seared it at the end. It was absolutely delicious and the marinade! Ooh! Fabulous!

      1. Hi Sasha, I have not tried but I personally would not use it in chicken. I think the flavors are a little too bold and I think it’d be a bit too much. Let me know if you end up trying tho! I’d love to know if it worked out. Beijos xx

    5. 5 stars
      Excellent marinade! Had a group of 9 people with a 5lbs tri tip and everyone raved about how good it was. This will be my go to for tri tip! Thank you!

    6. 5 stars
      Incredible! I’m also a born and raised CA guy so I know my way around a tri tjp. This one caught my eye cuz of the OJ and lime juice combo. Amazing flavors well done!

    7. 5 stars
      Incredible and now my go to marinade. Thank you so much for sharing, I poured your chimichurri over after slicing and what a treat this was! Can’t wait to make it again!

    8. 5 stars
      I didn’t have any OJ so doubled the lime juice. Ended up marinating mine for 48 hours because I wasn’t able to cook it when I wanted to. It was DELICIOUS! So flavorful and tender. Cooked it on my pellet grill at 225 for 2 hours. Perfect! Even the kids loved it. Thanks!

    9. 5 stars
      SoCal native here & we know our tri-tip. I’ve made nearly duplicate marinades like this for years, all the same ingredients, however your quantity & ratios used made the steak phenomenal with a 24 hr marinade time. I somehow stumbled across your website for this one, so glad I did! I also served this grilled Tri tip with some chimichurri sauce on the side.

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