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    You are in: Home / Recipes / Santa Maria Tri-Tip Recipe
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    Santa Maria Tri-Tip

    Santa Maria Tri-Tip. Photo by Pasty Cornish

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    Total Time:

    Prep Time:

    Cook Time:

    4 hrs 35 mins

    4 hrs

    35 mins

    MaryMc's Note:

    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.

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    Units: US | Metric


    1. 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. 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. 3
      Drizzle the oil slowly into vinegar, whisking rapidly. Brush on the meat as soon as you put it on the grill.
    4. 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. 5
      Slice about 1/8" to 1/4" thick across the grain and serve with corn tortillas and salsa.

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    Ratings & Reviews:

    • on June 26, 2009

      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.

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    • on June 26, 2009


      I use this rub and oil mixture at least once a month, either on steaks (flank, skirt, or filet mignon) we grill or on roasts (twice tri tri and once bottom round). It is delicious and easy to prepare! Be sure to not use the rub without the oil mixture because the rub has a tendency to burn in parts if it's not protected by oil.

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    • on May 15, 2011


      No way could we not give this a 5!! Better than Moe's in Pismo Beach! Followed your recipe exactly but we did use smoked paprika. What a perfect flavorful crust on the outside & so juicy throughout. Thanks Mary and by the way "central coastal" might be a more accurate description of the region in CA where you will find beautiful little Santa Maria.

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    Read All Reviews (26)


    Nutritional Facts for Santa Maria Tri-Tip

    Serving Size: 1 (24 g)

    Servings Per Recipe: 6

    Amount Per Serving
    % Daily Value
    Calories 13.8
    Calories from Fat 1
    Total Fat 0.1 g
    Saturated Fat 0.0 g
    Cholesterol 0.0 mg
    Sodium 390.8 mg
    Total Carbohydrate 2.3 g
    Dietary Fiber 0.7 g
    Sugars 0.1 g
    Protein 0.4 g

    The following items or measurements are not included:

    tri-tip roast

    garlic-infused vegetable oil

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