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Pan Seared Tri Tip Steak with Couscous Salad

5 from 1 vote
Brian Humiston, @brians_eats_lv
This tri tip steak with couscous salad is a mouthwatering dish that combines the succulent flavors of perfectly seared meat with the light and refreshing notes of a vibrant salad.
Prep Time :10 minutes
Cook Time :1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time :1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 4



  • pounds/1¼ kilogram tri tip steak (AKA Santa Maria, California cut, Newport), poked with a fork


  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped½
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 red chili, grated
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon coarse salt

Couscous Salad:

  • 2 cups couscous
  • cups chicken stock or water
  • 1 large sweet potato, diced
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, quartered
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 10-12 sage leaves
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 8 ounces/1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved


Tri tip:

  • Sous vide at 118F for 2½ hours. If you don’t have a sous vide, you can cook over indirect heat until an internal temp of 120 F (49 C).
  • Sear in a large skillet until you reach your desired doneness, 130-135 F for medium rare.

Couscous salad:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F (205 C).
  • Toss the onions, brussels sprouts and garlic with olive oil, salt and pepper on a sheet pan. Mix the sweet potatoes, sage, olive oil and salt and spread out on a sheet pan. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until tender and slightly browned.
  • Bring the liquid to a simmer and stir in the couscous. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and set aside for 10-15 minutes until all the liquid has absorbed. Fluff with a fork.
  • Combine the couscous, sweet potato, brussels, cherry tomatoes, parsley and walnuts in a large bowl. Serve with the steak and enjoy!


tri tip steak recipe
Credit: Brian Humiston

Is tri tip steak a good cut?

Tri tip steak is considered a good cut of beef. It is a triangular-shaped muscle located at the bottom of the sirloin region, known for its rich flavor and tenderness. Tri-tip steak is often praised for its juiciness and versatility in cooking methods. It can be grilled, roasted, or pan seared to perfection, allowing the meat to develop a caramelized crust while retaining its moistness and tenderness.

How do you tenderize tri tip fast?

Marinating: Marinating the tri tip in a tenderizing marinade can help break down the muscle fibers and make the meat more tender. Allow the tri-tip to marinate for at least 30 minutes, but preferably a few hours or overnight for best results.

Mechanical tenderization: You can use a meat tenderizer tool, such as a meat mallet or a meat tenderizing hammer, to physically break down the muscle fibers and tenderize the tri-tip. Gently pound the meat with the tenderizer tool, working in even motions across the surface. Be careful not to overdo it and excessively flatten the meat.

Salt brining: Brining involves soaking the tri tip in a saltwater solution to enhance its tenderness and juiciness. Dissolve salt in water, and submerge the tri-tip in the brine for 30 minutes to an hour. Rinse the meat thoroughly before cooking to remove excess salt.

Does tri tip get tender the longer you cook it?

To keep tri-tip tender, it should be cooked to medium-rare or medium doneness as overcooking can make it tough and chewy. High temperatures or excessive cooking time can cause proteins to tighten and moisture to be lost, resulting in a tougher texture. Slicing tri-tip against the grain enhances tenderness by shortening muscle fibers. Monitoring cooking time and internal temperature is crucial for achieving optimal results.

How to slice a tri tip steak

To slice a tri tip steak, it is important to cut against the grain. Look for the direction of the muscle fibers, which will be visible on the surface of the meat. Cutting across the grain shortens the muscle fibers, resulting in a more tender bite.

tri tip steak recipe
Credit: Brian Humiston

What Flavors Pair Well with Tri Tip?

Tri-tip pairs well with a variety of flavors. Traditional seasonings include salt, pepper, garlic, and herbs like rosemary or thyme. You can also experiment with spice rubs, marinades, or even a barbecue sauce for added flavor. Tri tip complements well with side dishes like roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, or a fresh salad.

Is Couscous a Healthy Grain?

Couscous is a grain made from semolina derived from durum wheat. It offers complex carbohydrates, fiber, some protein, B vitamins, and minerals such as selenium and magnesium. The nutritional profile can vary, with whole wheat couscous being more nutrient-rich compared to regular couscous. To boost couscous’s nutritional value, pair it with vegetables, protein, and healthy fats in a balanced meal. Alternatively, consider whole grain alternatives like quinoa or bulgur for higher nutritional content.

tri tip steak recipe
Credit: Brian Humiston

What Takes the Bitterness out of Brussels Sprouts?

To reduce the bitterness of Brussels sprouts, consider adding salty, sweet, or acidic ingredients like honey, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, or dried fruits. Roasting or sautéing the sprouts can bring out their natural sweetness and mellow the bitterness. Blanching, a process of boiling followed by an ice bath, can also help reduce bitterness. Simply cook the sprouts in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes, then transfer them to ice water before proceeding with your preferred cooking method.

How Long Does Couscous Salad Last in the Fridge?

Couscous salad can typically last for about 3 to 5 days when stored properly in the refrigerator. To maximize its shelf life, it’s important to store the salad in an airtight container to prevent moisture loss and protect it from absorbing odors from other foods in the fridge. It’s recommended to keep the salad refrigerated at temperatures below 40°F (4°C) to maintain its freshness.

tri tip steak recipe
Credit: Brian Humiston

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