Tri Tip with Coffee-Fennel Crust

April 18, 2011
5 Stars
Author Notes

Spring has arrived in the Napa Valley and we've begun firing up the grill for dinner. Tri Tip, like flank and hanger steaks which can be used as a substitute, is one of our favorites to use with a rub or marinade and it is both tender and flavorful. I like to cook the meat so it’s medium-rare because the rub becomes a crispy crust that soaks up the juices of the meat when it is sliced and the longer the meat cooks the less juice it will release. - lorinarlock —Lori Lyn Narlock

Test Kitchen Notes

Simple and tasty are two things which rank high on my list for grilled meat. This rub has a spicy kick (thanks to the peppercorns), an earthy touch (thanks to the coffee grounds), and lovely high notes (thanks to the fennel seeds). I had trouble finding tri-tip, so used skirt steak instead and it was absolutely delicious. Turn the grill on and by the time its ready, the meat will be, too. - thehappycook —Victoria Ross

  • Serves 4 to 6
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole coffee beans or 1 tablespoon finely ground coffee
  • 2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds tri tip steak (sometimes called roast)
  • Kosher salt
In This Recipe
  1. Toast the fennel seeds in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Transfer the fennel seeds to a spice grinder or mortar. Add the coffee, peppercorns, and salt. Grind to a medium-fine mixture. Transfer to a small bowl and add the olive oil, mustard and garlic. Rub over the steak to coat completely. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high.
  4. Add the steak to the grill and cook until medium rare, about 6 minutes on each side. Transfer to a cutting board to rest at least 5 minutes. Cut the steak into thin slices, arrange on a platter, and pour the juices over the steak. Sprinkle with kosher salt.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • rapearson
  • Lori Lyn Narlock
    Lori Lyn Narlock
  • adashofbitters
  • Midge

4 Reviews

rapearson May 29, 2012
This was delicious! I broiled instead of grilled but it still turned out fantastic.
Author Comment
Lori L. May 1, 2011
Thank you! I hope you like it. It's definitely one of our summer faves.
adashofbitters April 29, 2011
This is what we're having for dinner tomorrow night.
Midge April 20, 2011
I love the coffee and fennel combination. Will have to try this!