What meat-eating person doesn’t love good steak tips? When it comes to quality steak, I’m a proponent of less is more. A little salt, a little pepper, maybe a pat of butter melting on top if you’re feeling fancy and that’s all you need for a good steak. Good beef shouldn’t need anything else unless you’re trying to mask its flavor.
Steak tips on the other hand, I’m more willing to experiment with. Don’t get me wrong, steak tips are delicious with just a little salt and pepper, but I can honestly say that some of the most memorable ones are those that were marinated well. The key is for the marinade not to overpower or hide the beef flavor, but rather to accentuate it. A light bourbon glaze or barbecue sauce that isn’t too sweet is a good example.
In this case, using yogurt takes a page out of the books of Persian/Middle Eastern and Indian chefs. The yogurt is acidic and therefore tenderizes the meat, but it also has a somewhat passive flavor profile when up against beef. That means it tenderizes and rounds out the overall flavor without covering it up.
As far as the garlic powder and onion powder in the recipe go, they are somewhat optional, but they also lend the steak some nice accent flavors. You could switch those spices out or add to them with something like oregano or turmeric or even chili powder depending on what kind of flavors you want to experiment with.
One of the best parts of this marinade is that it turns something like steak that usually isn’t forgiving when it comes to internal temp to something that is. What I mean is that the yogurt tenderizes enough so that even if you overcook the steak a bit (perhaps you hit medium well instead of that perfect medium), the meat is still juicy and tender.
It doesn’t get as dry or tough as it normally would at those higher internal temps. That’s especially great for me because I have family members that prefer medium-well to well done beef, which I don’t enjoy that much. This is a fantastic compromise because I can cook the steak tips to that slightly higher temp, but it’s still tender. Of course, if you like them medium to medium-rare they’ll come out wonderfully as well.
Grilled Steak Tips Marinated in Yogurt
- 3 pounds sirloin steak tips (Whole tips are ideal, but if you find them pre-cut too, that'll work.)
- 0.5 cup whole fat yogurt
- 1 tsp onion powder (If you want to use fresh, pureed onion, then use no more than a quarter cup.)
- 1 tsp garlic powder (If you want to use fresh crushed garlic, then no more than 2-3 cloves.)
- 1/2 tsp coarse crushed black pepper
- 1 tbs kosher salt (This is just for salting while grilling.)
- Plastic zipper bag or airtight container
- Tongs / Spatula
- Teaspoon and cup measurements
- Cutting board
- If the sirloin steak tips aren't cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces, go ahead and cut them up evenly. This makes them cook like traditional steak tips, but they do require more tending on the grill. If you're in a rush or feeling lazy then you can cook the steak tips whole and slice them after cooking. You won't get a nice char on all sides of each piece and you will definitely need to let the pieces rest before cutting or you'll lose all the juices.
- Place steak tips into a plastic zipper bag along with the 1/2 cup of yogurt, 1 tsp of onion powder, 1tsp of garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of coarse crushed pepper. Seal the bag with a lot of air in it and shake up the bag or rotate the contents to get all of the steak tips covered in the marinade.
- When the steak tips are well covered, open the bag, carefully squeeze out the air, and reseal it. Place it in the refrigerator for at least 4 or up to 8 hours before cooking to allow the yogurt to tenderize the meat. Flip the bag over onto the other side, halfway through the marination time.
- Roughly 30 minutes to an hour before you are ready to grill, take the steak tips out of the refrigerator and let them sit at room temp until ready to grill.
- Get the grill very hot on high to medium-high heat (roughly 500 - 600 degrees F when the lid is closed). Place each of the steak tips on the grill using tongs and sprinkle some kosher salt over them quickly before closing the lid. Grill them for 4 minutes before opening the lid, flipping them, and grilling for another 3 minutes for medium. (Cook them 3 minutes on one side and 2 or three minutes on the other side for medium rare).
- Remove the steak tips and place them on a large plate or serving dish. Let the steak tips rest for 10 minutes before serving to allow a redistribution of the juices.
- Serve them up with your favorite veggies, rice, mashed potatoes, or with a side of your favorite sauce. They go wonderfully with barbecue sauce, ranch, or hot sauce, but are more than excellent on their own!
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