Santa Maria Grilled Tri-Tip Beef Recipe -
Santa Maria Grilled Tri-Tip Beef  Recipe
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Santa Maria Grilled Tri-Tip Beef
See how to make classic California-style barbecued tri-tip. See more
  • READY IN 5+ hrs

Santa Maria Grilled Tri-Tip Beef

Recipe by  

"The town of Santa Maria, California, is home to one of America's most delicious barbecue specialties: black-on-the-outside, pink-on-the-inside, grilled beef tri-tip steak. The tri-tip is cut from the bottom sirloin, and if cooked properly produces a very flavorful, extremely juicy piece of beef."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 6 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    20 mins
  • COOK

    25 mins

    5 hrs 15 mins


  1. Stir salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, rosemary, and cayenne pepper together in a bowl. Place beef in a glass baking dish and coat beef on all sides with spice mixture. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.
  2. Combine vinegar, vegetable oil, crushed garlic, and Dijon mustard together in a sealable container. Cover the container and shake to blend ingredients.
  3. Remove beef from refrigerator, uncover, and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil the grate.
  5. Place meat on preheated grill and brush with garlic-vinegar mixture. Cook meat for 4 minutes, flip, and baste. Repeat the flip and baste process every 4 minutes until beef starts to firm and is reddish-pink and juicy in the center, 25 to 30 minutes total. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 130 degrees F (54 degrees C). Let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Mar 22, 2014

We loved this recipe. I am going to save the spice list for other meats it was such a great combination. The meat was a little hotter on the inside than stated but it may have been because it sat out longer than 4 hours. I will take that into consideration next time. The left overs are tender and can be used a variety of ways. The next day I sliced thin against the grain and made steak salads topped with homemade shoestring french fries...yum. I seriously cant wait to make this again.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Mar 19, 2014

I am from Santa Maria,CA and I can tell you that Santa Maria tri-tip experts are purists, with the simplest of seasonings being used, powdered garlic, salt, pepper and maybe some parsley. One of the other things about Santa Maria-style tri-tip is that it is cooked over red oak wood. The oak and the simple seasonings are what brings out the excellent flavor of the meat.

Jul 15, 2014

freaking awesome!!

Mar 16, 2015

Made this exactly as directed, but it charred so badly that the flavor of the meat was lost.

Aug 09, 2014

This was the most fabulous beef I can remember ever eating! We had dinner for 7 with rave reviews from all. My only change in Chef John's recipe was crushed fresh garlic, rather than powdered, and chopped fresh rosemary, rather than dried. Being concerned about blacked beef being carcinogenic, however, I followed Chef John's grilling directions only until the tri-tip was totally browned and sealed. Then the heat was lowered, allowing the meat to cook more slowly until it reached Chef John's recommended inside temp of 130 degrees. With an electric knife, I sliced the roast on the diagonal & arranged with wedges of B Follick's marinated Grilled Portobello Mushrooms. Yum!

Oct 04, 2014

Very good Recipe. However if you wanyt true Santa Maria Style TriTip your rub should consist of Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Salt. However this Rub is very good as well.

Mar 11, 2015

It's an okay trip-tip recipe.

Jan 26, 2015

Very tasty as is, but If you have the time and a smoker this can be amazing! First, salt with kosher salt and refrigerate for 24 hours. Next, coat meat with olive oil and rub with dry ingredients, minus black pepper. Also, I like chipotle way better than cayenne. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (yes, that makes two days). Preheat smoker to 165-180 degrees and place cold meat straight from the fridge over active smoke (for this I like roughly 50% oak, 40% cherry and 10% mesquite). Smoke until internal temp reaches 100-105 degrees, then place the meat on the grill over a bed of hot coals. Baste with vinegar sauce. Sear but try not to burn the meat too much. Grill to 130 degrees internal then remove from the grill and hit all sides with a little freshly ground black pepper, tent with foil and let stand for about 5 minutes or so. Slice 1/4 inch thick cross grain. Magnificent!


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  • Calories
  • 452 kcal
  • 23%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 3.6 g
  • 1%
  • Cholesterol
  • 166 mg
  • 55%
  • Fat
  • 24.1 g
  • 37%
  • Fiber
  • 0.7 g
  • 3%
  • Protein
  • 52.5 g
  • 105%
  • Sodium
  • 855 mg
  • 34%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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