Kalyn's Kitchen

Carol’s Completely Fabulous Steak Marinade

Carol’s Completely Fabulous Steak Marinade is a recipe I got from my former neighbor Carol, and it’s one of my favorite recipes for marinating beef to cook on the grill. 

PIN the steak marinade recipe to make it later!

Carol's Completely Fabulous Steak Marinade photo of cooked steak on plate with salad

As you can see from the title of the recipe, Carols Completely Fabulous Steak Marinade made quite an impression on me. And the story about how I got the recipe is as fun as the delicious grilled steak you’ll get if you try the recipe. So who is this Carol and how did I get her completely fabulous recipe for marinated and grilled steak?

Once upon a time a great family lived next door to me, and one night the mom (that would be Carol) knocked on my door and offered to bring me steak and grilled asparagus for dinner. I was working on the blog, hadn’t had dinner, and when someone offers to bring you steak and asparagus, you never say no, do you?

The steak was amazing, and when I told Carol how much I loved it, she gave me the recipe to share with my readers. The only slightly bittersweet part of the whole story is that a few days later Carol and Kevin found the house of their dreams, and moved away. I saw them a few times after that and then lost touch with them, but maybe through the magic of the internet they’ll see this and get back in touch!

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

Carol's Tri Tip process shots collage

How to make this recipe:

(Scroll down for complete printable recipe.)

  1. Tri-Tip steak is what we used for this recipe, but use any cut of steak you prefer. I buy Tri-Tip at Costco when I get that craving for red meat. Trim off the visible fat and cut into serving-size pieces as desired.
  2. Rub the tri-tip pieces on both sides with Montreal Steak Seasoning.
  3. Mix together lime juice, Worcestershire Sauce (affiliate link), balsamic vinegar, garlic, and olive oil; if you’d like you can mix it right in the bag like Carol did.
  4. Then put the tri-tip pieces and marinade into a Ziploc bag (or plastic container with a tight lid) and let the steak marinate all day, or even overnight if you’d like.
  5. When it’s time to eat, take the marinating steak out of the fridge, drain in a colander placed in the sink, and let it come to room temperature while you preheat the grill to high.  
  6. When you’re ready to cook, lay pieces on the diagonal across the grill grates, cook until you see grill marks (about 3 minutes), rotate so the pieces are going diagonally in the opposite direction and cook about 3 minutes more, then turn over and cook to desired doneness.
  7. I recommend using an inexpensive instant-read meat thermometer (affiliate link) to check for the level of doneness you prefer. Serve hot.

Carol's Completely Fabulous Steak Marinade square image of cooked steak on plate

Make it a Low-Carb Meal:

We enjoyed Carol’s Completely Fabulous Grilled Steak with Marinated Zucchini Salad with Olives, Artichokes, and Red Pepper for a low-carb meal.

More Recipes for Tasty Beef:

Marinated Beef Kabobs 
Amazing Low-Carb and Keto Beef Steak on the Grill 
Grilled Cuban Flank Steak 

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a category called Weekend Food Prep to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Carol's Completely Fabulous Steak Marinade

Carol's Completely Fabulous Steak Marinade

Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

I’ve been using Carol’s Completely Fabulous Steak Marinade for many years, and this recipe always results in the tastiest grilled steak ever!



  • 2 lbs. Tri Tip steak
  • 3-4 T Montreal Steak Seasoning (see notes)

Marinade Ingredients

  • 2 T fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 T Worcestershire Sauce (see notes)
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic (can use garlic powder but I used minced garlic)
  • 2 T olive oil


  1. Trim any visible fat on outside of Tri Tip pieces, and cut into serving size pieces if desired.
  2. Rub all sides of steak pieces with Montreal Steak Seasoning.
  3. Mix the add lime juice, Worcestershire Sauce (affiliate link), balsamic vinegar, garlic, and olive oil (or you can mix it right in the container you marinate in like Carol does. Put steak into large Ziploc bag or plastic container with tight-fitting lid and add the marinade. Seal bag or plastic container and turn over a few times to mix marinade ingredients.
  4. Let steak marinate in refrigerator 8 – 24 hours.
  5. When ready to cook, take meat out of refrigerator, drain marinade, and let meat come to room temperature.
  6. Preheat gas or charcoal grill to high (you can only hold your hand there for a few seconds at that heat.)
  7. When steak is room temperature and grill is hot, put steak on grill. For nice grill marks, place steak at a diagonal to grill slats, after about 3 minutes, rotate 45 degrees on same side and cook a few more minutes. Turn steak over and cook until desired doneness.
  8. You can see from the photos that I like my meat fairly rare, and I cooked this tri tip just over 8 minutes, but actual cooking time will depend on grill temperature, thickness of the meat, meat temperature, and even the temperature of the air if cooking outside.
  9. With steak this thick, I recommend using an inexpensive instant-read meat thermometer (affiliate link) to tell when it’s done. Here’s a chart showing recommended temperatures for various levels of doneness.


Carol says she has marinated this as long as two days, and it still turned out great. She’s also frozen the meat in the bag with the marinade and thawed it when she wanted to cook the pre-marinated meat.

You can make this with purchased Montreal Steak Seasoning, or use the recipe for Kalyn’s take on Montreal Steak Seasoning. Be sure to use Gluten-Free Worcestershire Sauce (affiliate link) if needed.

Nutritional information is for this recipe with two pounds of Tri Tip Steak, but use any kind of beef steak you prefer.

This recipe from my former neighbor Carol.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 408Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 125mgSodium: 3023mgCarbohydrates: 2.6gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 41g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Steak that was marinated with Carol’s Completely Fabulous Steak Marinade Recipe would be a great dinner option for low-carb diet plans. The South Beach Diet recommends choosing steak that’s less than 10% fat, and although this is a fairly lean cut, I’m guessing it’s slightly higher than that so if you’re strictly following South Beach this would be an occasional treat.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Grilling Recipes for more ideas like this one. Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe was first posted in 2008! It was last updated in 2021.

Pinterest image of Carol's Completely Fabulous Steak Marinade

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    38 Comments on “Carol’s Completely Fabulous Steak Marinade”

  1. Kevin, part of my emphasis is making the recipe suitable for the South Beach Diet, so some of your variations won't work for that (even if they sound good). I can assure you that this was tender and delicious though.

  2. hi Kalyn, hmmm, i have cooked tritips for 30years or so. usually on the grill, either gas or charcoal. i live in so cal,, used to work 1 day a month in santa maria in the 70s and 80s, so i have had tritip at 'the source'. first, we never cut it up in pieces, and always left the fat layer on the flat bottom side. we would marinate it in various things…salsa, beer, spices, also sometimes orange juice and freshly crushed garlic. salt, pepper etc. i like the montreal seasoning idea, and am doing it right now for tomorrow. now, tritip is a tough piece of meat and, until the market in santa maria started bbqing it back in the 50s, usually got ground up for hamburger. so it needs to tenderize. i like the idea of the tenderizer device from Cost Plus World Market that is on this comment section. i never did that, though it would make it faster. i have used wine or vinegar and marinated for 3 days like a sauerbraten. that helps. tastes great, too. what i did always do was to marinate it in a dry rub or in wet marinade overnight or so, then to put it fat side down on the grill and put the lid down on it. now, i did not use a hot grill with the flames going everywhere. it needs to grill/bake/roast/etc for HOURS like that. i even remember hearing in Santa Maria…'never turn it'. well, i have never really been able to do that, though i have tried. but i leave it for hours on a slow bbq grill, even indirect heat. the fat turns completely black and burns, but that seems to protect the meat and helps to make it tender. so does cooking it forever, too. then after bringing it in on a meat rack, you let it rest a while and then slice the whole fat side off of the bottom of the tritip and throw it away. then you slice it very thinly against the grain. this is important, too, as thick pieces may be chewy and with the grain, well, very chewy. it should still be very moist and also will not be overdone. i have also put it on the rotisserie on my weber grill and let it go for several hours. it was good and i would do that tomorrow but my rotisserie motor broke. (ok, it made it easy and it was still good) . Santa Barbara and Santa Maria would serve it with 2 different though similar things… in one place was Bread, Sour Cream, and Pico de Gallo (fresh tomatoes, chillies, onions, peppers chopped up. some call it salsa, but really pico de gallo) the other was Bread, Butter, and Pico de Gallo. now, they would rant and rave against the other city's blasphemy of using sour cream/butter. i found both were great. or any combination thereof. i also like it w/either corn or flour tortillas freshly heated up on the grill w/corn on the cob cooked on the grill in the husk, too. and maybe a baked tomato (ok, east coast food) on the grill with raz el hanout mixed in with the items put back into the tomato shells. o yum, so good w/santa barbara county style food. (i have also done a tritip in just raz el hanout spice mix as the overnight rub (w/salt, garlic, etc) and then harissa on it too after the marination. much more moroccan than Californiian, but still awesome. enjoy. Kevin in LA, CA. 🙂

  3. I guess that must be why I said I cook it less than those temperatures, but that's what the thermometer says.

  4. Nice tri-tip recipe. I'm going to give it a try. Your temps are way too high for steak though.

    Rare – 120 F
    Medium Rare – 126 F
    Medium – 135 F
    Medium Well – 145 F
    Well Done – 160 F

  5. Anonymous, there's no way for me to know why you had problems with the recipe from what you've said here, but I've made this many times and it's always been tender and delicious.

  6. Not sure whether this is a word to the wise or a confession of my own incompetence, but I prepared this recipe with tri-tip from Trader Joe's and it is too tough to eat. Before marinating, I first cut it up into individual portion. I cooked it in a broiler pan in the oven. I have half of it in the freezer in marinade. Don't know what I'll do with it, or with the cooked leftover. I tried simmering it, thinking that if it would soften I could at least make soup. Didn't soften at all.

  7. Anonymous so glad you liked it, but credit goes to Carol, as it’s her recipe. Will have to look for one of those tenderizers at World Market, sounds cool.

  8. OMG Kalyn! Your Tri-tip recipe is unbelievably good!!!
    What fantastic flavor! I accidentally found your recipe and was so happy that I did. I had a huge package of Tri-tip steaks from Costco and wasn’t sure what to do with them. One thing I did, that made a big difference though, is I tenderized the heck out of them first. I have this awesome tenderizing device I bought at World Market that has lots of tiny blades about the size of match sticks that you pound the meat with. Between that and your amazing marinade/recipe, they were tastier than the most expensive cuts of meat I’ve ever bought! I will use this recipe again and again!!!! Thank you!

  9. Your tri tips appears delicious.
    I like how you make seemingly hard recipes easy.

    I found out that the acid in lime may break down tissues, making the beef more tender.

    Don’t quote me though.
    Keep writing!

  10. Looks fabulous Kalyn!

  11. Hi Kalyn! Thank you for the link love 🙂

    Needless to say, we are big fans of tri-tip steak, so we are going to give Carols Completely Fabulous Steak Marinade recipe a try next time we see the cut on sale.

    You have a wonderful blog and history archive to boot! We will be back to grab more goodies from you soon.

    Thanks again for sharing.

    Your friends at Wasabi Bratwurst

  12. It’s Montreal!

  13. I love this cut of meat. It seems beefier to me that other cuts.

  14. Neighbors who bring you steak and asparagus! I love a good marinated steak. I really need to get some of that steak seasoning.

  15. My husband isn’t that fond of tri-tip so maybe if I make this I can change his mind!

  16. Peter, that’s okay for you young skinny guys, but people who are watching their weight need to choose leaner steak most of the time. Even with lean steak, this marinade will make it tender and juicy.

    Michelle, I like eggs a lot, so I’ve never thought much about options to eggs for phase one, but you can certainly eat things like cottage cheese, cheese, lean turkey or ham, or any protein option that’s not too high in fat. As soon as you get to phase two, I have some recipes in the archives (left side, top) for Peanut Butter Oatmeal and protein pancakes.

    Lydia, I think any kind of flank steak or london broil would be great with this marinade. In fact I’d use it on just about any cut of beef except for the ultra tender cuts like filet mignon.

    Genie, good to know about that marinating tip and that it will work on chicken too. I’ve never done that, but I think I’ll try it.

  17. Sounds really delicious, Kalyn. And I second the idea of pre-marinating and freezing the meat — it’s a great way to handle boneless-skinless chicken breasts, too — I have been known to buy them on sale in big packages, then split the package up into little bags of marinated chicken, then pop them in the freezer. That way, you can take one out in the morning, leave it in the fridge, and it thaws while marinating a little further!

  18. Tri-tip seems to be a regionally popular dish; it’s quite hard to come by here in the Northeast, even in Costco. What cuts would you recommend instead?

  19. Dear Kalyn,
    I just found your blog, and I am really enjoying it. I just started on the South Beach Diet, and have run into a problem. I hate eggs. I didn’t know I hated them, because I have eaten them lots of times in the past, all be it not every morning. My question is, what do you eat for breakfast when you don’t like eggs?? I am either going to have to give up on breakfast or start eating my lunch and dinner options instead. If you or your readers have any suggestions, I would greatly love to hear them. Thank you!

  20. Kalyn, those tri-tips are gorgeously marbled and essential for a good steak. The fat on the outside can be trimmed but one should look for a marbled steak like these…equals juicy flavour.