Michael Toyoshima traces his family teriyaki marinade to the time when his grandmother worked on Kauai in the sugarcane and pineapple fields. Now he and his children use the marinade on chicken, pork, and beef. For the most flavor, marinate the tri-tip overnight.
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup washed raw cane sugar or 1/2 cup granulated sugar plus 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup thinly sliced onion
1/2 cup sake
1/2 cup mirin (sweet sake; or 1/2 cup additional regular sake plus 1 teaspoon sugar)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon coarse-ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 beef tri-tip (1 1/2 to 2 lb.), fat trimmed, rinsed, and patted dry
How to Make It
Stand a gallon-size zip-lock plastic bag in a bowl. Pour in soy sauce, sugar, onion, sake, mirin, garlic, ginger, pepper, and mustard. Hold bag closed and shake until sugar is dissolved. Add beef; seal bag. Chill at least two hours or up to 1 day, turning occasionally.
Lay tri-tip on a lightly oiled barbecue grill over a solid bed of medium coals or medium heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 4 to 5 seconds); close lid on gas grill (discard marinade). Cook, turning every 5 minutes, until rare in center of thickest part (cut to test; 125° to 130° on a thermometer), about 25 minutes, or until as done as you like.
Transfer tri-tip to a cutting board. Let rest about 5 minutes, then cut across the grain into thin, slanting slices.