Video: Santa Maria Grilled Tri-Tip Beef -

Video: Santa Maria Grilled Tri-Tip Beef

See how to make classic California-style barbecued tri-tip.

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In this video, you’ll see how to make grilled Santa Maria-style tri-tip beef. It’s a California classic—charred almost black on the outside, beautifully pink on the inside. It starts with a basic dry rub. You’ll also make a simple basting sauce with garlic, mustard, vegetable oil, and red wine vinegar. The key to grilling the tri tip is to get the signature very dark, caramelized crust. Chef John will show you the tricks to getting it done just right. It’s a great cut of beef for this type of high-heat barbequing. Very flavorful and extremely juicy. Watch the video, then get the recipe for Chef John’s Santa Maria Grilled Tri-Tip Beef. If you like, serve it with Santa Maria Beans, tortillas, and salsa. See more Chef John videos >>

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Apr. 1, 2015 6:30 pm
Wow, familiar recipe, from those long ago days at the Cal-Poly Campus on the Central Coast of California at San Luis Obispo. I cooked tons, really tons of Tri Tip BBQ for those Poly BBQ's at Poly Grove on the Campus, for so many special catered events including one gig at the Hearst Property, La Cuesta Encantada aka Hearst Castle for a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the State University System. I still like the taste, the product, those Santa Maria small beans, all that salsa and grilled garlic bread. I didn't much care for the smoke, the heat, the grease which came from the charcoal glowing in those deep pit BBQ's that were a signature of Poly Grove outings. Santa Maria style BBQ--that historic grilling method of beef and poultry cooked over a fire pit, those huge racks raised and lowered over the heat source by chains. Better memories now years after all that heat, smoke and grease...if I remember we'd do 175 pounds to 225 pounds of tri-tip for each outing.
Gary Rogers 
Mar. 31, 2015 11:09 am
Chef John BIG BIG mistake by not showing how to cut on the diagonal. As previous writer noted, it will be very tough if you do not cut across the meat. There is a huge difference in texture. Gary Rogers
Improv Oven 
Mar. 30, 2015 6:20 pm
Nothing like a nice tri-tip roast. We love the recipe. Great job cant wait to try.
Mar. 30, 2015 4:41 pm
I grew up in CA in the area where these are popular. There is a bottled special seasoning that was put together for this cut of meat. It is Raven's all purpose seasoning and you can get it at Raven's in Armona, CA. They are on line and they do on-line ordering. Use it liberally and after you rub it in let it sit for 30 min. The Portugese farmers invented this cut of meat and the seasoning.
Mar. 30, 2015 11:56 am
I've made my tri-tip this way for many years. Chef John left out one VERY IMPORTANT note: Make sure you slice ACROSS the grain of the meat. If you don't, you'll find out why this used to be thought of as a tough cut. Enjoy!
Mar. 3, 2015 8:54 pm
@Betty Dickson, there are standard codes for cuts of beef. The code for the cut known as 'tri tip' is 185c. The name of the cut is also 'bottom sirloin butt'. Tell these to things to your butcher and he/ she should be able to locate the cut for you. Enjoy.
Feb. 9, 2015 4:15 pm
I still need to know what else this might be called besides Tri Tip? Any suggestions? What do butchers on east coast call it?
Feb. 1, 2015 11:31 am
just click the italic blue name
Jan. 29, 2015 1:01 pm
I am from Pismo Beach Ca 20 miles north of Santa Maria Ca. I grew up eating Santa maria style Tri-Tip. The dry rub I'm familiar with consists of 4 ingredients equal measures. Kosher salt, Black pepper, Garlic, Dry Parsley nothing more or less. Marinate rubbed meat for 2-24 hours then cook on high heat OAK WOOD BBQ pit. Simplicity at it's best a VERY famous style of Rubbed BBQ Yummmm!!!
Jan. 26, 2015 10:11 am
Chef John is great but he missed this one. It did come from the Spanish land grants. And at the end he told the secret. Red Oak. Let it go slow and high enough that it just hurts your hand. It is a light smoke.
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