Santa Maria Style Tri Tip 8

Arthur is broadening our horizons (and  waistlines) again.  Santa Maria BBQ is becoming quite popular.  It normally starts with garlic (granulated, powder or salt), salt, and black pepper, as the base for a dry rub.  The rub can be modified, but these three ingredients are the core of the rub.  Once the rub is applied Santa Maria style BBQ is done over high heat, with purists using red oak.  Beef sirloin or tri tip specifically, are the meat of choice for this style. It’s as delicious as it is simple.  I’ll hand it over to Arthur to show you just how simple and delicious it is…

***Editor’s Note ~ Arthur has started his own blog and I’m more than happy to promote his on mine.  His new site is called MajorLeagueGrilling.com***

Boy, I was so excited to see these in St. Louis, MO. Tri tip is very hard to find around here. It’s commonly found on the west coast because it was a cuisine to ranchers in the Santa Maria, CA region. Eventually, these west coast cowboys came up with Santa Maria style BBQ. This style has been expanding beyond Santa Maria over the years and I couldn’t be happier to try this unique cuisine.

The great characteristics of tri tip are: it’s lean, flavorful, inexpensive and it’s ultra tender when cooked right. I picked up a two pack of the triangle shaped beef roasts at Costco. As you can see, the name is given after the shape of the cut of beef:

Santa Maria Style Tri Tip 1

Tri tip comes from the bottom sirloin primal cut and usually weighs in between 1.5 and 2.5 pounds.

The recipe is simple.

Ingredients:

Granulated garlic
Seasoned salt
Course black pepper
Olive oil

Santa Maria Style Tri Tip 2

No measurements needed here, use enough to coat the meat

First, I rinsed the tri tip off with water and pat dry with paper towels.

Second, rub the oil all over the meat. This process helps the spices stick to the tri tip.

Third, sprinkle on the seasonings. Start with the garlic, get a lot on there. This is the base ingredient to a perfect product:

Santa Maria Style Tri Tip 3

Next, add the seasoned salt:

Santa Maria Style Tri Tip 4

Finally, add the pepper:

Santa Maria Style Tri Tip 5

Now, in the next phase, the grilling process is just as important as the ingredients. Authentic tri tip is grilled directly over high heat with red oak coals. The grills themselves are very unique. They have a large cooking surface fixed to wheels and pulley’s that raise or lower the grill grate meant for heat management.

Fortunately, I reproduced this on my kettle. A chimney full of lump charcoal was lit up and banked to one side for indirect grilling. I want to have a hot and cool side for this process.

But most importantly, for true Santa Maria style, I have chunks of red oak. I picked up a bunch from a BBQ store in Ankeny, IA earlier this year:

Santa Maria Style Tri Tip 6

It is also a good idea to have a meat thermometer because we do not want to over cook the tri tip. Add the red oak to the hot coals.

Place the tri tip on the grill directly over the hot coals. However, do not put the lid on, that will only lower the heat. I seared the first side for 7 or 8 minutes:

Santa Maria Style Tri Tip 7

I seared the other side for 5 minutes to get a great flavor crust:

Santa Maria Style Tri Tip 8

Move the Santa Maria style tri tip to the cool side of the grill. I inserted my digital thermometer into the grilled meat. Then, I added a couple more chunks of red oak and put the lid on with the vents wide open.

After roughly 15-20 minutes, the interior temp of the tri tip reached 135 degrees:

Santa Maria Style Tri Tip 9

I pull the grilled beef off at medium rare:

Santa Maria Style Tri Tip 10

I let the Santa Maria style tri tip rest for 10 minutes:

Santa Maria Style Tri Tip 11

When meat comes off the grill the juices are in an excited state from the heat.  Letting the meat rest allows all the juices to settle down back to its proper place, so the juices don’t run all over the plate as soon as you cut into the meat.  Resting allows for the juices to remain in the meat for the entire meal. During this time the interior temp jumps up to 140 degrees. As a result, the tri tip is cooked to medium. I would not cook it more than this as it can be tough to eat.

To serve, slice the Santa Maria style tri tip against the grain. When this is done, the meat pulls apart easier, as opposed to with the grain:

Santa Maria Style Tri Tip 12

Now, I’m going to put down the camera and get my eat on:

Santa Maria Style Tri Tip 13

Forget grilling strip steak, t-bone, or tenderloin, this is my favorite cut of beef hands down. Next time, I’m going to shoot for rare or about 125 degrees interior temp. I used the leftovers for steak burritos the next night. The iron skillet was used to reheat and it was still tender and tasty. I’m going back to Costco to stock up on some tri tip.

If you have any questions about the Santa Maria Style tri tip, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email and I’ll send it over to Arthur.

If you liked this recipe and would like to see other grilled beef recipes, click here.

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5.0 from 2 reviews
Santa Maria Style Tri Tip
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
A sirloin tri tip roast grilled Santa Maria Style
Ingredients
  • 1 beef tri-tip roast
  • Granulated garlic
  • Seasoned salt
  • Course black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • No measurements needed here, use enough to coat the try-tip
Instructions
  1. Rinse the tri-tip off with water and pat dry with paper towels
  2. Rub the oil all over the meat
  3. Sprinkle on the seasonings
  4. Set up the grill for indirect/two zone grilling with coals and smoke wood on one side and nothing on the other
  5. Target temperature inside the grill is 300-325
  6. Add red oak to the coals
  7. Place the tri-tip right over the hot charcoal to sear
  8. Sear it 5-8 minutes per side depending on the heat of the grill to get some nice char marks
  9. Move the tri-tip to the cool side of the grill and insert a meath thermometer
  10. Add a couple more chunks of red oak and put the lid on with the vents wide open
  11. Pull when the internal temperature of the tri-tip reaches 130-135 degrees for medium rare
  12. Pull it sooner for rare and wait till it reaches 140-145 for medium
  13. Let the tri-tip rest for 10 minutes
  14. Slice across the grain and serve
 

 

Boy, I was so excited to see these in St. Louis, MO. Tri tip is very hard to find around here. It’s commonly found on the west coast because it was a cuisine to ranchers in the Santa Maria, CA region. Eventually, these west coast cowboys came up with Santa Maria style BBQ. This style has been expanding beyond Santa Maria over the years and I couldn’t be happier to try this unique cuisine.

The great characteristics of tri tip are: it’s lean, flavorful, inexpensive and it’s ultra tender when cooked right. I picked up a pack of 2 triangle shaped beef roasts at Costco. As you can see, the name is given after the shape of the cut of beef.

[01 tt meat.JPG]

The recipe is simple. An easy Santa Maria style rub is prepared.

Ingredients:

Granulated garlic

Lawry’s seasoned salt

Course black pepper

Olive oil

[11 tt resting.JPG]

No measurements needed here, use enough to coat the meat

First, I rinsed the meat off with water and pat dry with paper towels.

Second, rub the oil all over the meat. This process helps the spices stick to the tri tip.

Third, sprinkle on the seasonings. Start with the garlic, get a lot on there. This is the base ingredient to a perfect product.

[03 tt garlic powder.JPG]

Next, add the seasoned salt.

[04 tt lawry’s salt.JPG]

Finally, add the pepper.

[05 tt pepper.JPG]

Now, in the next phase, the cooking process is just as important as the ingredients. Authentic tri tip is grilled directly over high heat with red oak coals. The grills themselves are very unique. They have a large cooking surface fixed to wheels and pulley’s that raise or lower the grill grate meant for heat management.

Fortunately, I reproduced this on my kettle. A chimney full of lump charcoal was lit up and banked to one side for indirect grilling. I want to have a hot and cool side for this process.

But most importantly, I have chunks of red oak. I picked up a bunch from a BBQ store in Ankeny, IA earlier this year.

[06 tt red oak n thermo.JPG]

It is also a good idea to have a meat thermometer because we do not want to over cook the tri tip. Add the red oak to the hot coals.

Place the tri tip on the grill directly over the hot coals. However, do not put the lid on, that will only lower the heat. I seared the first side for 7 or 8 minutes.

[07 tt on grill1.JPG]

I seared the other side for 5 minutes to lock in the juicy flavors.

[08 tt on grill2.JPG]

Move the meat to the cool side of the grill. I insert my digital thermometer into the tri tip. Then, I added a couple more chunks of red oak and put the lid on with the vents wide open.

After roughly 15-20 minutes, the interior temp of the tri tip reached 135 degrees.

[09 tt med rare temp.JPG]

I pull the beef off at medium rare.

[10 tt done.JPG]

I let the tri tip rest for 10 minutes.

[11 tt resting.JPG]

Letting the meat rest allows all the juices to settle down back to its proper place. During this time the interior temp jumps up to 140 degrees. As a result, the tri tip is cooked to medium. I would not cook it more than this, it can be tough to eat.

To serve, slice against the grain. When this is done, the meat pulls apart easier, as oppose to with the grain.

[12 tt plate1.JPG]

Now, I’m going to put down the camera and get my eat on.

[13 tt plate2.JPG]

Forget the strip steak, t-bone, or tenderloin, this is my favorite cut of beef loin hands down. Next time, I’m going to shoot for rare or about 125 degrees interior temp. I used the leftovers for steak burritos the next night. The iron skillet was used to reheat, it was still tender and tasty. I’m going back to Costco to stock up on some tri tip.

Arthur Aguirre
Major League Grilling’s founder, Arthur Aguirre, is a BBQ enthusiast with a passion to cook anything on the grill. Before reaching the level of pitmaster, Arthur spent years of hopelessly under cooking and overcooking various cuts of succulent meats. With the help of internet forums such as the BBQ Brethren, Char-Broil, and the experts from the GrillinFools, Arthur’s grilling exploits soon followed.
Arthur Aguirre
Arthur Aguirre
Arthur Aguirre

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12 comments

Great tritip. Wish I could find a tritip in my area to give it a shot.

Reply

Thanks Jason, I’m a fan of your site.

We are in the same boat now. Costco has officially axed tri tip in the midwest, according to the meat cutter there. My butcher told me he can get it for $10/lb!?!?!? No demand, that is unfortunate.

Reply

I found it at Trader Joe’s on the east coast.

Great looking tri tip cook Arthur!

I gave up all other steak cuts for t-tips, and was also not happy when Costco stopped selling them.

I’ve been able to get them at the Schnuck’s on Richardson Rd. in Arnold.
They charge the same as for top sirloin steak, and this week the steaks are on sale for $5.99/lb.
Other locations may offer the same, not sure though.

Reply

Good tips! Just grilled up my 3rd Tri tip. bought a premade santa maria seasoning the first time, but made my own this last.

one thing i have found is that if you add just about a tablespoon of brown sugar to the rub it makes it even juicier!

Lived Near the Central CA coast, for a few years and loved getting the REAL Santa maria Style tri tips. so now that i know how to make my own its even better! (cheaper too!)

Reply

great looking recipe. I’m a Santa Maria native and it looks to me like youve done your homework. one thing i noticed was that your cut was awfully lean. Here in SM we usually like to have one side with some fat on it but not too much. Also, try and find some Susie Q’s seasoning, its very popular in Santa Maria, we use it for everything.

Reply

SM Native,

They come with one side with a thick layer of fat that I trim off. In my younger days, I would’ve left the fat, but as I get older, I go leaner. Leaving the fat is certainly optional…

…….Scott

tried this receipe and thought was great!!!!

Reply

Merle,

I’m glad you liked it. I’m a HUGE fan of the tri tip. Those cuts are awesome for a my wife and I and a couple other couples and so quick to grill…

…….Scott

I found tri-tips @ Costco yesterday and grilled them last night using Chicago steak seasoning. Delish!

Reply

SCORE! That is one of my favorite things to grill for a crowd. I can feed a lot of people with a couple Tri’s!

…….Scott

I had to really fake this tri tip…but used your recipe and it turned out great. I don’t have red oak chips yet, nor do I have Suzie Q’s rub. But one thing I really wished I had was the authentic side dish in Santa Maria–pinquito beans. So I nuked one of those 60-second Minute Rice cups (so easy!)–wild rice & quinoa–and added a little cumin, fire roasted hot red pepper flakes, and tiny bit of salt. It was the perfect taste complement to the tri-tip. Thank you for the excellent instructions, especially temps and times. Glad I live alone…the rest is mine!

PS I create a poster per month with the ampersand (&) in it. Soon I’ll do “Low & Slow” but since tri-tip isn’t like that, it can wait. Subscribe at amperart.com and you’ll see it soon.

Reply

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