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Real Deal Santa Maria Tri-Tip Recipe

Real Deal Santa Maria Tri-Tip Recipe

A Santa Maria tri-tip recipe so good, it will satisfy even the hardest critics. Buckle up and fire up the pit, this grilled tri-tip recipe is guaranteed to become your next favorite thing!

You Will Need

The Prep

There are a few things that can make or break a grilled tri-tip roast, and arguably the most important is how you're going to add flavor without drowning out its natural beefy goodness. So, let's start there: in this recipe, the roast will marinate overnight, allowing just the right amount of flavor to get below just the surface.

But first, let's trim this baby. You generally want about ⅛ inch (0.3 cm) of fat on the outside, so if there's more than that on the cut you bought, peel the excess layers off. Some roasts, especially the ones found in supermarkets, tend to be already over trimmed - if that's the case, just go with it.

Next up, the marinade. Grab a small mixing bowl, and in it combine the Brisket MOP, Cow Cover & Texas Beef rubs, as well as the beef base. Mix well to a loose paste. 

Now you have to give the roast its mud bath with the seasoning paste. Place the tri-tip in a large enough container, and pour the marinade on top. There ain't no pretty way to do this - you've just gotta dive in and get your hands very dirty. Make sure you get it completely covered as evenly as possible.

Once the roast is covered, put it in a zip top bag, seal it (while pushing out as much of the air as you can), and place it in the refrigerator. It should stay in there for at least 6 hours, but leaving it overnight is preferred. This will give the flavor time to penetrate the outer layers of meat.

The Cook

About an hour before you're ready to cook, get the zip-top bag out of the fridge, pull out the tri-tip, and let it sit at room temperature. Don't rinse or wipe any of the marinade off!

Time to fire up the pit! Start a good sized fire with a 50/50 mix of mesquite lump charcoal and whatever briquets you use, and prepare for indirect cooking. You are shooting for a cooking temp of 350ºF (177ºC). If you're using a gas grill, make a smoker pouch with some mesquite chips. 

Once your grill or cooker is hot, commence cookage! Place the tri-tip roast over indirect heat, starting with the fattier side facing down (towards the heat source). Close the lid, and let the magic happen.

At around 30 minutes, get your thermometer probe and check on the internal temperature in the thickest part of the roast. When it hits 120ºF (49ºC), flip it over. Then let it cook to a core temperature of 130ºF (55ºC), which should take about 20-30 more minutes.

The Payoff

Once it's done cooking, pull the roast off the heat. Place it on a platter, tent it with tin foil, and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.

To serve, slice your Santa Maria tri-tip across the grain into 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) slices, and plate with some nice salsa and some warm flour tortillas - or anything else you like. You've got yourself a crowd-pleasin' spread o' cow. 



2 Responses


April 11, 2021

Try this with some oakwood chunks. Santa maria style cooking orginal used roble oak wood that is native to California.


April 02, 2021

Will this work if I smoke it?

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