Grilled Santa Maria Tri-Tip

Regional BBQ

The town of Santa Maria, California, is famous for its delicious grilled tri-tip. I know that tri-tip is a west coast cut of beef. In the east you could buy a triangle roast, sirloin tip roast or bottom sirloin.  Truth be told, I actually put it in the crock pot due to lack of gas in my grill.

Santa Maria style beans is the classic side dish for the tri-tip. Santa Maria style beans are traditionally made using pinquito beans. The pinquito bean, a small pink bean that retains its firm texture even after long slow cooking, is unique to the Santa Maria Valley but any dried bean will work for this great barbecue side dish.

The history of Santa Maria Barbecue dates back to the early 1800s, when the mainstay of the Early California economy was cattle and America’s first cowboys, the colorful vaqueros, held large beef barbecues at the rancho following every cattle roundup.
The only secret of the Santa Maria Barbecue is its simplicity — no special sauces or magic ingredients. It consists of thick cuts of beef, seasoned with nothing but salt, pepper, and garlic salt, and cooked over Santa Maria Valley red oak coals. It’s all served with toasted sweet French bread to sop up the natural juices from the serving pan.

You can actually buy the pre-marinated Santa Maria tri tip at Trader Joe’s and Fresh & Easy.
You can order the spices and beans here.

Grilled Santa Maria Tri-Tip

Serves 6

2 to 2 1/2 lb beef tri-tip roast
1 Tbs fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp salt
1/2 Tbs paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 cloves crushed garlic

Combine the black pepper, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, rosemary, and cayenne in a small bowl. Rub on to all surfaces of the tri-tip. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours. Remove and let sit out for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Add the Dijon, vinegar, vegetable oil, and crushed garlic to a jar with a lid and shake vigorously until emulsified.

Prepare your charcoal or gas barbecue grill. Place the tri-tip on the grill and brush with the oil and vinegar mixture. Turn every 3-4 minutes, basting generously each time. Grill for 25-30 minutes for medium-rare (internal temp of 135 degrees F.). The outside of the roast will get very dark and develop a charred crust, this is desired and one of the signature characteristics of this barbecue recipe.

Remove the tri-tip from the grill to a large platter. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing in 1/4″ thick pieces across the grain. Serve as you would any barbecued beef, but in California this is often served with tortillas and salsa.  See recipe for Santa Maria Style beans below….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s