I’m not exaggerating when I say my husband begged me not to share this tri tip recipe. It’s a secret weapon we pull out for dinner parties and barbecues that not only takes 5 minutes to put together, it turns out surprisingly delicious. Lucky for you, I didn’t listen. I couldn’t help myself. It’s just too easy, and too good.
The secret is in the Chinese black bean sauce, which is not at all related to the black beans you might find in your burrito. It’s a cooking condiment made from dried and fermented soy beans that smells terrible but turns into an umami bomb when it hits red meat and a hot grill. Our friend Lou introduced us to this recipe, and it’s been in heavy rotation ever since.
Be sure to ask your butcher to trim the silver skin off the tri tip so it’s ready to go. If you can’t find tri tip, substitute flank steak, There’s no need to marinate since the black bean sauce is beyond rich and flavorful. But if you want to prep ahead of time, spoon on the seasonings and sauce, cover and refrigerate for an hour or two ahead of time — just let the meat sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before grilling it). Look for Chinese black bean sauce in the Asian aisle of your supermarket, or better yet, head to your local Asian market. You might be able to score some gai lan, baby bok choy or longbeans to serve on the side.
Grilled Tri Tip with Chinese Black Bean Sauce
- 2 ½ lb tri tip
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 4 tablespoons Chinese black bean sauce or paste use just enough to thinly coat both sides of the meat
- Trim off any “silver skin” on the meat, or ask the butcher to do it for you.
- Sprinkle the salt, pepper and garlic powder evenly on both sides of the meat.
- Spread 2 tablespoons of black bean sauce over each side of the tri tip (if you end up with a tri tip that's smaller than 2 1/2 pounds use less black bean sauce, closer to 3 tablespoons of the sauce). Let the meat sit at room temperature while you heat the grill on high.
- Reduce grill heat to medium-high and grill for 8-10 minutes per side (for meat cooked medium). Do not poke or push the meat while it’s grilling. When you remove the meat from the grill, let it rest for about 5-10 minutes before slicing thin against the grain.