Santa Maria Tri-Tip

READY IN: 4hrs 35mins
Recipe by MaryMc

Santa Maria is a town in central California, north of Santa Barbara. Grilled tri-tip is a local specialty. It's traditionally served with corn tortillas, Santa Maria-Style Salsa and Santa Maria-Style Pinquito Beans.

Top Review by slo_cook

Living in San Luis Obispo, just to the north of Santa Maria, where it's reported that the cut of meat "tri tip" was originated at Cal Poly, it's a staple, even in the winter months. What gives the Santa Maria style tri tip it's true great flavor is a simple seasoning of salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder and most importantly it is bbq'd/smoked over oak and only oak.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Mix together the black pepper, garlic, onion, paprika, cayenne, rosemary, and salt and rub on the meat. Let stand at 1-4 hours.
  2. Prepare the barbecue grill, using water-soaked oak chips (preferred, if you can find them) or mesquite chips on the charcoal to produce smoke.
  3. Drizzle the oil slowly into vinegar, whisking rapidly. Brush on the meat as soon as you put it on the grill.
  4. Grill the meat over direct heat, medium-high. Turn at least 3 times, basting every time. Grill 30-35 minutes, to 140 degrees F.
  5. Slice about 1/8" to 1/4" thick across the grain and serve with corn tortillas and salsa.

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