This Grilled Tri-Tip with Charred Corn Salsa is based on classic Santa Maria Tri-Tip dinners from central California. It’s made with juicy steak and then taken up a notch with spicy pinquito beans and homemade charred corn salsa!

finished grilled tri-tip w/charred corn salsa on a plate with pinquito beans

Grilled tri-tip steak with corn salsa and chipotle pinquito beans is a mouthwatering dish because it combines the smoky goodness of grilled beef with the vibrant flavors of charred corn salsa and the spicy kick of chipotle-infused beans. It’s the perfect combination of vibrant and smoky flavors for the ultimate meal. 

Love tri-tip? Check out my Smoked Tri-Tip, Grilled Santa Maria Tri-Tip, or Garlic Parmesan Rotisserie Tri-Tip.


Grilled tri-tip steak has incredible flavor, especially when basted with garlic, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Grilling tri-tip is my favorite way to cook this type of beef because the direct heat from the grill perfectly sears the outside and evenly cooks the inside, producing a tender texture and savory flavor. It’s a great recipe for those wanting to dip their toes into the world of tri-tip. 

closeup of three charred cobs of corn



  • Tri-Tip: Tri-tip steak is a lean cut of meat with a ton of tenderness and rich flavor, perfect for this delicious meal. 
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Onion Powder: Infuses a mild, sweet onion flavor to the steak.
  • Garlic Powder: Provides a subtle garlic kick, enhancing the overall taste.
  • Cayenne Powder: Adds a hint of spiciness, giving the steak a kick.
  • Canola Oil: Used for cooking to prevent sticking and achieve a nice sear.


  • Crushed Garlic: Infuses the oil with garlic flavor during basting.
  • Olive Oil: Helps baste and moisturize the steak during grilling.
  • Red Wine Vinegar: Adds acidity, balancing the richness of the meat.
ingredients for charred corn salsa being prepped


  • Pinquito Beans: These beans add a creamy texture and also absorb the flavors of the dish. These can usually be found in the hispanic food section of the grocery store. 
  • Diced Bacon: Adds a smoky, savory element to the beans.
  • Diced Tomato: Provides freshness and a juicy burst to the bean mixture.
  • Diced Jalapeño: Adds a spicy kick to the beans.
  • Chipotle Puree: Infuses a smoky and spicy flavor to the beans.
  • Brown Sugar: Adds a touch of sweetness to balance the dish.
  • Minced Garlic: Enhances the overall flavor of the beans.
  • Kosher Salt


  • Corn on the Cob: Provides a sweet and crunchy element to the salsa.
  • Diced Tomatoes: Adds juiciness and a fresh taste.
  • Sour Cream: Brings a creamy texture and a hint of tanginess.
  • Jalapeño Peppers: Adds heat and a spicy kick.
  • Red Onions: Contributes a sharp and slightly sweet flavor.
  • Cilantro: Brings a fresh and citrusy note.
  • Green Onions: Adds a mild onion flavor.
  • Hot Sauce: Infuses heat and extra flavor.
  • Limes: Provides acidity to balance the sweetness and richness of the salsa.

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First, we season. Great Grilled Tri-Tip with Charred Corn Salsa comes pretty darn easily if you start with a spice rub. So, lather your trimmed tri-tip generously with canola oil and stir together kosher salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne powder. Next, use your hands to rub the seasonings all over the outside of the steak. Be sure to get all the nooks and crannies so your steak is nice and flavorful. 

overhead of a seasoned tri-tip on a grill grate

Next, set the seasoned steak in the fridge for 45 minutes to dry brine. We want to give it plenty of time to really soak in all of that flavor. Fifteen minutes before you’re ready to get cooking, pull the steak out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. This helps it cook more evenly!


Next, it’s time to whip up a quick batch of smoky and spicy chipotle pinquito beans because beans, corn, and steak are the magical trio you didn’t know you needed.

Preheat your fire to medium-high heat of around 375ºF for direct heat. Add a cast-iron skillet onto the hot grill, then add in diced bacon. Cook until browned and crispy, then transfer to a separate container and drain all but 1 tablespoon of the grease.

overhead of a skillet filled with spicy pinquito beans

Next, add in the canned pinquito beans but don’t strain! The liquid is used in the chipotle pinquito beans for your Grilled Tri-Tip with Charred Corn Salsa.

To the beans, add in tomatoes, jalapeños, chipotle puree, brown sugar, minced garlic, and kosher salt. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally. This usually takes around 30 minutes. To finish, stir the bacon back into the mix, then pull the beans off the grill and keep them warm while you cook your steak.

Love the fiery heat of chipotle? Try out these Chipotle Beer Steak Tacos, Chipotle Garlic Chili Con Carne and Chipotle Espresso Crusted Ribeyes with Potatoes.


Our tri-tip starts with a simple basting liquid. First, add a basting skillet onto the grill, then mix in crushed garlic, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then pull the skillet off of the heat. 

tri-tip on the grill next to three cobs of corn

Next, clean and oil your grill grates, then add the tri-tip onto the grill. Cook with the fat side down for 5 minutes, then flip it over and baste with your prepared liquid. Repeat this process every 5 minutes. Be sure to baste after each flip to keep the steak nice and moist!

When the internal temperature of the steak reaches 130ºF, pull it off the grill and set it aside to let it rest for about 15 minutes. This gives the flavor and moisture time to settle back into the meat. 


Grilled Tri-Tip with Charred Corn Salsa just isn’t complete without the corn salsa itself. First, add the corn on the cob onto the grill. Roast it, rotating as needed, until well charred. Pull it off the heat and then slice the corn off of the cob, placing it into a small bowl.

corn being sliced off of the cob

To the bowl, add diced tomatoes, sour cream, diced jalapeño peppers, diced red onions, chopped cilantro, chopped green onions, hot sauce, and lime juice. Mix it all up, then set it aside until you’re ready to serve.

Got corn salsa leftovers? Serve it on Salmon Al Pastor Tacos, Chipotle Beer Steak Tacos, or Loaded Huevos Rancheros Nachos

SERVing Grilled Tri-Tip

Now, it’s time to serve up your Grilled Tri-Tip with Charred Corn Salsa! Place the rested tri-tip on a cutting board and slice into thin slices using a sharp knife. Don’t forget to slice against the grain of the meat because that’s the key to getting that perfect tender bite.

Next, serve your steak with your prepared beans and corn salsa!

grilled tri-tip being sliced on a cutting board

Grilled Tri-Tip Tips 

  • Use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat to ensure the internal temperature reaches at least 130F for medium-rare steak. We don’t want to overcook tri-tip too much or it can become tough, so trust me on the medium-rare temp.
  • Pay your tri-tip steak down with paper towels to remove excess moisture before cooking your steak so it produces a crispy crust.

How to Store Leftovers & Reheat

Store leftover steak in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. 

The beans and corn will last 3-5 days in the fridge in separate airtight containers. 

To reheat your steak:

  1. Place a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add your slices of steak.
  3. Reheat for a few minutes until warm. 

To reheat your beans and salsa:

  1. Place 2 small pots on the stove and add your beans and corn salsa.
  2. Reheat until warm. 

More Steak Recipes

What to serve with Grilled tri-tip steak

This mouthwatering ensemble would pair perfectly with a medley of grilled vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms. The charred flavor from the grill pairs well with the savory tri-tip steak. If you want to add another zesty Mexican side, add some cilantro lime rice. The citrusy notes complement the flavors of the corn salsa and add a vibrant touch to the meal.

Grilled Tri-Tip Recipe FAQs

What type of grill can I use for this recipe?

You can use a gas grill or a charcoal grill for this recipe. The charcoal grill will give the steak more of a smoky flavor, whereas the gas grill will give it more of a neutral flavor. 

Could I make this recipe with another type of meat?

Yes! Technically, you could make this recipe with flank steak or skirt steak if you like.

What is tri tip steak?

The tri-tip cut is a triangular cut of beef that comes from the bottom sirloin of the cow, a.k.a. the tri-tip roast. It’s a triangle steak that’s rich in flavor but low in fat. When we baste our tri-tip steak with basting liquid, it helps break down the tough muscle fibers and connective tissue, resulting in a tender steak. 

Where can you buy tri-tip steak?

You can usually find tri-tip steak at your local grocery store, but your best bet might be your local butcher or even online since it’s not the most popular type of steak. 

Do I need to trim the fat cap?

Nope! We’re leaving it on for this recipe to distribute flavor into the steak. 

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The finalized grill tri-tip meal.

Grilled Tri-Tip with Charred Corn Salsa

This Grilled Tri-Tip with Charred Corn Salsa is made with juicy grilled steak, spicy pinquito beans, and homemade charred corn salsa!
Author:Derek Wolf
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people



  • 1 Tri-Tip trimmed
  • 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tbsp Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp Cayenne Powder
  • Canola Oil

Basting Liquid:

  • 3-4 Crushed Garlic
  • 2 cups Olive Oil
  • 1.5 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

Chipotle Pinquito Beans:

  • 30 oz Pinquito Beans do not strain
  • 2 cups Diced Bacon
  • ½ cup Diced Tomato
  • ¼ cup Diced Jalapeño
  • 2 tbsp Chipotle Puree
  • 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
  • Kosher Salt to taste

Charred Corn Salsa:

  • 3-4 Corn on the Cob
  • 1 cup Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Sour Cream
  • 2 tbsp Diced Jalapeño Peppers
  • 2 tbsp Diced Red Onions
  • 1.5 tbsp Chopped Cilantro
  • 1 tbsp Chopped Green Onions
  • 2 tsp Hot Sauce
  • 3-4 medium Limes juiced


  • Begin by lathering your tri-tip with oil and mixing together the seasoning.
  • Season the steak generously then place in the fridge for 45 minutes uncovered to dry brine. Pull the steak out 15 minutes before cooking.
  • Preheat your fire to medium high heat temperature (around 375F) for direct cooking.
  • Add a cast iron skillet to the grill and add your diced bacon to the skillet. Cook until they reach an amber brown color (about 8-12 minutes).
  • Once the bacon is done, pull it off and remove all the bacon grease except for 1 tbsp of it.
  • Add your pinquito beans to the skillet along with the tomatoes, jalapenos, chipotle puree, brown sugar, minced garlic and kosher salt.
  • Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until they thicken (about 30 minutes). Once thickened, add your bacon back to the beans and mix into the skillet.
  • Pull off and keep warm.
  • Add a basting skillet to the grill with the crushed garlic, olive oil and red wine vinegar. Let come to a low simmer, stir then pull the skillet off the fire.
  • Making sure your grill grates are cleaned and oiled, add your tri-tip to the grill fat side down first.
  • Cook for 5 minutes, then flip over and baste with your basting liquid. Repeat this every 5 minutes, making sure to baste after the flip until the tri-tip reaches 130F internal at its deepest point (about 25-30 minutes).
  • Once done, pull off and let rest for at least 15 minutes.
  • Finally, add your corn on the cob to the grill and roast until they are well charred. Sliced your corn off the cob and add to a bowl along with the rest of the ingredients for the Charred Corn Salsa. Mix and set aside.
  • Once rested, pull out your tri-tip and slice against the grain. Serve with the beans, corn salsa and enjoy!



Calories: 1907kcal | Carbohydrates: 92g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 159g | Saturated Fat: 32g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 20g | Monounsaturated Fat: 100g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 2826mg | Potassium: 1701mg | Fiber: 25g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 990IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 187mg | Iron: 8mg

Derek Wolf

Derek is the driving force behind Over the Fire Cooking. He started cooking with live fire in 2016 and decided to start a social media page so his friends and family could follow the journey. Fast forward to today and Over the Fire Cooking has spread across multiple platforms with millions now following Derek's fire cooking journey. He's a southern fellow who enjoys everything from classic BBQ to Central and South American inspired dishes. Whatever he's cooking up, it's guaranteed to be so freakin' delicious!

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