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Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip

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Apparently summer has arrived in Arizona, and I am celebrating with my favorite Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip!! If you do not live near California you may not have any idea what I am talking about, and worse, you might not be able to find this cut of beef in your local grocery store…I know this from first hand experience…..

slices of tri-tip laying on a wood cutting board with a red and white check napkin in the background

I was devastated when I moved to Iowa and could not longer get my favorite Tri-Tip. It then became the first meal we would search for as soon as we crossed into the state of California on vacation, lol.

What is Tri-Tip?

Tri-tip is a cut of beef from the bottom sirloin subprimal cut. It is a small triangular muscle, usually 1.5 to 2.5 pounds per side of beef.” The most famous version is the Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip, that was created on the Central Coast of Santa Maria Valley in Santa Barbara, California.

Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip raw cookingwithcurls.com

I first tried Tri-Tip when I moved to the central valley to go to college. All of my friends had grown up with this delicacy and I was more than happy to join in the fun! You can purchase pre-seasoned Tri-Tip roasts in just about every grocery store in Central California, or some of my friends would cheat and marinate their Tri-Tip in Italian dressing…which is just as delicious!

How to cook Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip:

Traditional Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip is grilled over coals of Red Oak, but I have a gas grill {and they don’t sell red oak here} so that is the first of many changes that I made. 😉

Mix seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl, set aside…..

Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip Seasoning | cookingwithcurls.com

The original recipe calls for pepper, salt, and garlic salt, but there are a million different variations. Some call for sage or oregano, but I chose to use tarragon and I love the results!

Place tri-tip roast on a foil lined baking sheet. Rub seasoning on all sides of tri-tip…..

Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip season cookingwithcurls.com

Cover with foil and allow to sit at room temperature for one hour.

Heat grill and lightly coat grate with olive oil. Place tri-tip on hot grill and sear both side, about 10 minutes each side…..

Summer is coming, time for Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip | cookingwithcurls.com

Continue cooking, keeping the temperature between 250 and 300 degrees, until cooked to desired doneness…..

Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip temp cookingwithcurls.com

Sometimes I get bored while waiting and take silly pictures. 🙂

Remove from grill, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving…..

Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip cut open on a wood cutting board

The smoke coming off the grill smelled absolutely amazing! The tarragon adds a sweet, almost licorice aroma to the smoke that will have you drooling. 😉

Notes:

  • Meat will continue cooking after you remove it from the grill…something that I keep forgetting.
  • Rare – 120 degrees
  • Medium-Rare – 130 degrees {that’s the one you want}
  • Medium 140 degrees

This Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip was AMAZING!! Have I said that enough times yet? It took me back to those awesome summers from long ago that were filled with barbecues, boating on the lake, and the most delicious Tri-Tip Sandwiches…..

sandwich roll filled with sliced tri-tip and provolone cheese covered with barbecue sauce and sitting on a wooden cutting board with extra rolls in the background

How to make Tri-Tip Sandwiches:

Sandwich rolls sliced in half.

Spread Garlic Aioli on the bottom of the roll.

Top with thinly sliced Tri-tip, slices of provolone cheese and your favorite barbecue sauce. Bourbon and Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce is my favorite!

Perfect side dish recipes to serve with Tri-Tip:

Have you ever tried Tri-Tip? Have you ever heard of it?

Enjoy!!

slices of tri-tip laying on a wood cutting board with a red and white check napkin in the background

Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip

Juicy and delicious Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip perfect for summer grilling!
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef, style, rub, santa maria, california, grill, recipe, barbecue, sauce
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 232kcal
Author: Lisa Johnson

Ingredients

Santa Maria Style Seasoning

  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 ½ pound tri-tip roast

Instructions

  • Mix seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl, set aside.
  • Place tri-tip roast on a foil lined baking sheet. Rub seasoning on all side of tri-tip.
  • Cover with foil and allow to sit at room temperature for one hour.
  • Heat grill {I use gas} and lightly coat grate with olive oil.
  • Place tri-tip on hot grill Fat Side Up and sear both side, about 10 minutes each side.
  • Continue cooking, keeping the temperature between 250 and 300 degrees, until cooked to desired doneness.
  • Remove from grill, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Thinly slice Tri-Tip and serve with your favorite sides or in sandwiches.

Notes

  • Meat will continue cooking after you remove it from the grill…something that I keep forgetting.
  • Rare – 120 degrees
  • Medium-Rare – 130 degrees {that’s the one you want}
  • Medium 140 degrees

Nutrition

Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 952mg | Potassium: 490mg | Vitamin A: 310IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 2.4mg

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4 Comments

  1. My husband grew up in that area of California. Icoming from the east coast I didn’t know what tri-tip was until his mother cooked it for dinner the first time I visited. I am not able to get that cut at the local grocery stores. However, I found a stand-alone meat market in the next town over owned by a butcher, originally from California, who cuts it for me. Thanks for your recipe and the reminder that we need to get back to the meat market!

  2. Our Santa Maria home has always enjoyed tri-tip best when sliced as thin as possible. It just melts in your mouth. And that comes in handy if you have a griller who has a tendency to overcook the meat.

  3. Lisa, thanks for the recipe but aren’t those temps you listed in Centigrade? The photo of the thermometer says 130 degrees C, which is around 265 F.

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