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Barbecued Tri-tip of a Thousand Tears

Updated on August 29, 2014

Why the Tears?

The key to success with this Tri-tip is the chef's tears. Everything tastes better when it has been cried over, doesn't it? And the key to good tears is a good onion.

In conjunction with Worcestershire sauce, the fresh onion juice we extract helps to soften the meat and, in my humble opinion, allows the spice elements to fuse quite nicely.

A Note About Cutlery

Somewhere, there's a rule that meat must be trimmed and cut with carving knives. Admittedly, there is some validity to this rule. A carving knife has a thinner blade than a chef's knife, for example, making slicing a bit easier.

Well, I prefer an 8" Farberware chef's knife... It has a good weight, comfortable size, fits nicely in my hand. And it's inexpensive. Sure, there are rules... but you'll get the best performance when you're most comfortable. Use what you like.

Cook Time

Prep time: 2 hours 30 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 3 hours
Yields: One 3lb roast to cut into servings of your choice.


  • 3lbs Whole Tri-tip roast, trimmed
  • 1/2 Large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce


  1. Trim Tri-tip of excess (as you please, satisfy your own taste).
  2. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 tsp each of salt, garlic powder, paprika, and cumin.
  3. Sprinkle half of the spice mixture onto one side of the Tri-tip, taking care to distribute evenly. Drizzle 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce over seasoned side (really, it's only there to add a little moisture for the spices to stick to the meat). Rub moistened spices into meat, allowing full coverage of the working side.
  4. Flip Tri-tip and repeat the seasoning process (in previous step) to coat second side.
  5. Transfer seasoned Tri-tip into a medium bowl.
  6. Slice half of a yellow onion as thinly as possible. The thinner it's sliced, the more it'll bleed... and that's precisely what we want.
  7. Crush sliced onion by hand (a portion at a time) directly over bowl, forcing the onion juice to bleed onto the meat. Spread crushed onion onto the meat. Repeat until all onion is crushed and layered. Be prepared to cry.
  8. Cover bowl with foil or place into a large bag to contain all aromas. Allow to marinade in the refrigerator for approximately two hours, longer if desired.
  9. Prior to cooking Tri-tip, remove as much of the onion layer as possible. Discard or sauté to serve with meat.
  10. Barbecue over direct high heat for approximately 5 minutes per side, allowing the Tri-tip's exterior to sear slightly and create a crust. Move to indirect heat and cook (covered) for an additional 20 minutes, flipping once. Meat's internal temperatures should reach 160 degrees F.
  11. Remove from fire and allow to rest on platter for approximately 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 3 oz
Calories 156
Calories from Fat63
% Daily Value *
Fat 7 g11%
Saturated fat 3 g15%
Protein 23 g46%
Cholesterol 60 mg20%
Sodium 125 mg5%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

A Note About Serving Size

According to Jayne Blanchard of, a serving size of meat is 3 oz. That's a piece of meat about the size of a deck of cards. I, personally, don't know anyone that can be satisfied by eating only 3 oz of meat... but, for the sake of data standardization, I've calculated the nutrition facts based on the 3 oz serving. Do with it what you wish...

Side Dish?

If you're going to light a fire, you may as well make the best of it. Serve this meat with roasted carrots and garlic. It's a healthy winning combination.

What do you think?

Cast your vote for Barbecued Tri-tip of a Thousand Tears


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