Red Wine Marinade for Tri Tip Steak {Easy, Delicious!}

Marinated Tri Tip Steak

Red Wine Marinade for Tri Tip Steak {Easy, Delicious!}

A tri tip roast is a wonderful cut of beef.  The tri tip is a 1-2 pound steak that comes from the bottom of the sirloin.  The name “tri tip” refers to the odd shape of the muscle.

Marinated and Smoked Tri tip

Tri Tips are one of “secret jewels” of the steak world.  Tri tips have very little internal marbling so they are rather mild on the flavor scale.

I like to make these extra special by soaking the tri tip in a red wine marinade then slow smoking the next day.  You can slice up a slow smoked tri tip and use it to make steak sandwiches good enough to make you cry!

My favorite tri tip marinade has a red wine and herb base.  Here is how I make it!

Smoked Tri Tip Roast Sliced


Prepare the Red Wine and Herb Tri Tip Marinade

Combine the following ingredients and mix well.

  • 2/3 cup Cabernet Sauvignon (use your favorite red wine)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

Use a nice wine in your marinade since the flavor really stays with the beef.  I use Rex Goliath Cabernet Sauvignon.

Marinate the Tri Tip {Fast or Slow Options}

There are a couple of ways to approach the step of marinating the beef depending upon how much time you have.  Both of these approaches work great but I believe I get more/better flavor when using he slow marinade process.

If you are short on time then:

  • Use a fork to punch a bunch of holes into the tri tip to help the marinade penetrate faster.
  • Place the marinade and tri tip into a one gallon Ziplok bag.
  • Place the Ziploc bag in a secondary container (baking tray, etc) just in case it leaks. 
  • Let the meat marinate at room temperature for two hours.

If you have plenty of time then:

  • Place the marinade and tri tip into a one gallon Ziplok bag.
  • Place the Ziploc bag in a secondary container (baking tray, etc) just in case it leaks. 
  • Let the meat marinate in the refrigerator for six to twelve hours.

This marinade is not very acidic so you can soak the meat for a long time without worrying about it becoming gray and mushy.

Cooking the Tri Tip

Remove the tri tip from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels.

If you would like to use the marinade for basting the meat while it cooks then you can pour it into a saucepan and bring it to a boil for five minutes.

There are a LOT of ways you can cook the tri tip including:

Personally I love to fire up my grills so this one got cooked on my Weber kettle.

Tri Tip Marinade with Red Wine and Herbs

This tri tip went onto a grill set up for indirect low heat (about 225F at the grate) and was smoked for two hours until it reached an internal temperature of 130F.

I then put the tri tip directly over the coals to sear it off.

Smoked Tri Tip Roast Wine

Like I said, you can easily cook these in an oven instead of on a grill.  I would probably set the oven to 275F and let the roast cook for 45 minutes.

Whichever method you use to cook the meat the most important thing to do is use a digital thermometer to monitor doneness.

When the steak is finished slice it thinly across the grain and serve!

Smoked Tri Tip Roast medium Rare

The sweetness and complexity of the wine can be tasted in every bite.  If you love red wine you then will love this recipe.

Since I used a California red wine for the marinade I decided to make some California inspired tri tip sandwiches.

Slice the smoked tri tip as thin as you can.

Slather a toasted hoagie roll on both sides with mayonnaise and Dijon mustard.  Add some fresh cracked  black pepper.

Make a little bed of lettuce and top with sliced tri tip, avocado and diced tomatoes.

Smoked Tri Tip Roast Sandwich

California Dreaming Tri Tip Sandwich

Marinated Tri Tip Steak

Red Wine Tri Tip Steak Marinade

Red wine, fresh herbs and other ingredients combine to bring out the best in this wonderful steak.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 5 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 35 kcal


  • 2/3 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tri tip roast 1.5-2 pounds


  • Combine the marinade ingredients
  • Place the marinade and tri tip into a one gallon Ziplok bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least four hours.
  • Remove the meat from the marinade and grill, smoke or bake to an internal temperature of 135F
Keyword tri tip marinade



Wow, I love these recipes! Now I just need a grill! I’ve never worked with a tri tip, so it’ll be new territory for me. Happy grilling my friend!


    Thanks for the kind words, Darie!

Dave Hare

Great post as usual! Thank you for the marinade recipes.


    Thanks for the kind words, Dave!


Nice pictures!! Making my mouth water!!


These look like some great recipes and I’ll have to give them a try. I live in California so Tri-Tip can be found everywhere and is an great cut of meat. It takes marinades very well and mesquite gives it a great sweet smoky taste. And as long as you cut across the grain, it will melt in your mouth. My preferred method is to sear them at high heat first and continue to grill with indirect heat.


    If I ever make it to California I will need to look you up!


We first grilled Tri Tip back in the 60’s

At that time we had a friend who would give us Tri-tips as there was very few people who knew the properties of this wonderful meat.

Not being boastful but, California did it first

dave sizemore

hi dave, the tri- tip sounds awesome. did you ever try using the weber rotisserie method while smoking it?


    Dave, yes, I have done a few tri-tips on the rotisserie. Using the rotisserie is a lot of fun but I am not convinced it brings anything other than entertainment to the party 🙂

Kris Reinhard

The Tri Tip… I just learned something new. I like it, gonna have to try this and keep it in the ‘tool box’ 🙂

Good marinades as well.


    Thanks, Kris! The hard part is finding them!


      Can you find a butcher that will cut one for you?

      FYI, in CA, depending where you are at and any sales, the typical average price is about $6.99 to $7.99 a pound with an average size of around 2-2.85lbs each.

Joe May

They finally started carrying these at my local grocer and this weekend I am gonna put one on my pellet smoker. I am going with your wine marinade but try a more traditional roast beef build. Horse radish cream and melted cheese. I have a question though, I have read that you can quickly overcook this cut making it tough due to the leanness of the meat. I see you take it off at 130. I have seen other’s go as hi as 140/145. What has your experience told you? Thanks.


    One of the tricky parts about tri-tips is that the irregular shape makes it cook uneven. I pull mine when it hits 130/135 at the thickest part of the tri-tip. However the thinner parts will already be at 140/145 by then. I take mine off at 130/135 because we like our steak more on the medium rare side. I don’t think cooking to a higher temp will make it tougher. The real trick is to double check and make sure you are slicing AGAINST the grain. The grain is tricky on a tri-tip. Proper slicing will make the biggest difference on tenderness.


      The irregular shape can be a pain but sometimes depending on how much thinner the end is, I cut it off and grill it separately. It needs to be cut like a skirt or flank steak, against the grain. Don’t worry though, the grain flow is easily determined. I prefer it more on the rare side as it is a very tender meat when cut correctly, so around 130 for me then rest.

      Joe, it is much better than a typical roast beef. It takes to marinade and spices very well. I prefer a good BBQ type rub or wet marinade. If you have the time to marinade overnight, all the better. Good luck and enjoy!


I have tried the coffee marinade and it is delicious! Thanks for posting because it is now a favorite! I was going to make it for company this weekend and just double checked the marinade recipe. It looks like part of it was cut off. I just want to confirm that it calls for 1 cup brewed coffee? I can only see “brewed coffee” with no measurement. Thanks in advance!


    yep, 1 cup.

Michelle Fasser

5 stars
I made this for my girlfriends at a cabin in the woods. So cold outside, couldn’t cook on the grill as planned. Did a reverse sear and it was perfect . Reduced the marinade into a lovely sauce. This was so amazing! No left overs & came home & made it for my sweetie. 💖

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