The meat for Tri Tip barbecue was originally prime, boneless, top sirloin, but about 3" thick and weighing 3 to 4 pounds. (Note that all but the largest tri-tips weigh less than 2 pounds.) Cooked over a bed of red oak wood coals. The "Santa Maria style of California Barbecue" started around 1950 in Santa Maria. The meat is strung on flat steel rods and rubbed before cooking with a mixture of black pepper, salt and garlic. Although most sites report that the cooking time is about 45 minutes, by actual experience the cooking time should be not much more than half that -- about 25 minutes, over a very hot bed of wood coals. What is unique about this Santa Maria barbecue is that there is no preparation -- the rub is applied immediately before cooking, and the meat is not trimmed until done cooking.