1. Food
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Santa Maria Tri-Tip

User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)


Long ago, in the days of cattle drives their emerged in the Santa Maria Valley a traditional cookout known as Santa Maria Barbecue. These days, this tradition consists of grilled beef tri-tip roasts, pinquito beans, and a salad. This is a great way to throw a cookout and this recipe, a simple way to prepare the main dish.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 2 to 3 pounds/1 to 1.3 kg beef tri-tip roast
  • 2 teaspoons/10 mL salt
  • 2 teaspoons/10 mL garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons/10 mL sugar
  • 2 teaspoons/10 mL black pepper


Combine the seasonings and sprinkle over the surface of the beef tri-tip. Set aside for about 30 minutes. Preheat grill. Preheat grill to a high temperature. Place tri-tip on the hot grill and sear the surface for about two minutes per side. Move away from the high temperature or reduce to a low fire and continue cooking until done. This is preferably done with the lid up to prevent burning or over cooking but this is up to your discretion based on your equipment. What you want is a grilling temperature around 300 degrees F. (150 degrees C.). Continue cooking until the meat reached the desired doneness and remove from grill. Plan on about 45 minutes total cooking time but keep an eye on the meat. Preferably this meat should be served medium rare.

Traditionally this tri-tip is grilled over red oak coals and charcoal grills with adjustable grates. The meat is seared close to the fire then the grate is raised to allow the meat to slow roast until done.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
Incredible BBQ, Member rpking3

Nice insight. I lived in Santa Maria, CA for 9 years and Tri-Tip was a staple food--once a week for sure. Everyone I ever knew who barbecued Tri-Tip seasoned the meat liberally with Susie Q's, manufactured right there in Santa Maria. I've never heard of mixing sugar in with the seasoning. Will have to try that. Cooking over red oak is by far the best way to cook it...by far. Also, everyone I ever knew who barbequed Tri-Trip also ate it with salsa spread over it. The best salsa is from McClintock's restaurant which is just up the road in Pismo Beach.

32 out of 33 people found this helpful.

  1. About.com
  2. Food
  3. Barbecues & Grilling
  4. Beef
  5. Beef Recipes
  6. Tri Tip Recipes
  7. Santa Maria Tri-Tip Recipe

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.