Santa Maria Tri-Tip Roast
Santa Maria Tri-Tip Roast is a traditional cut of sirloin roast, dating back to the mid-1800’s in the Santa Maria Valley of California. It was grilled over oak with very simple salt, pepper and garlic spices. It was served with pinquito beans, considered local to the Santa Maria area. These days the Tri-Tip cut is the same but you find many versions of the spices used, and debate whether to grill over charcoal, or gas, whether to add oak and if it’s better to cook direct, indirect, or both.
Our version is the way we like to cook the Tri-Tip, since it comes out flavorful by using oak wood chips. The roast is seared and browned over direct heat for a nice crust, then cooked with indirect heat. This is similar to the way some high-end restaurants sear a steak then finish in the oven. This helps to keep the roast from drying out.
Our handcrafted Santa Maria Tri-Tip Rub adds a more savory flavor than many blends we have seen. We also use a simple mopping sauce which helps to keep the roast moist.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
3 Tablespoons Santa Maria Tri-Tip Rub
1 beef tri-tip, preferably with some fat on one side (about 2 ½ pounds)
2 cups oak chips, soaked in water for at least 2-3 hours
⅓ Cup Red Wine Vinegar
⅓ Cup Canola Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced fine
2 Teaspoons Santa Maria Rub
Make the Mopping Sauce, using 2 Teaspoons of the Santa Maria Rub. Rub the rest of the Santa Maria Rub all over the Tri-Tip Roast. Rub well into the roast. Pierce the roast with a serving fork to help the rub flavors penetrate deeper. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3-4 hours, allowing the flavor to develop on the roast.
Prepare your gas or charcoal grill for both direct and indirect medium-high heat. Add the soaked oak chips to your charcoal grill or in your gas smoker box about 10 minutes before putting the Tri-Tip on the grill.
Place the Tri-Tip over direct heat, with the fat-side up. Sear about 5 minutes on each side until nicely browned. Watch so it doesn’t burn on either side. It can flare if you don’t watch close.
Move the Tri-Tip to the indirect heat side, fat side up. Baste with the mopping sauce on both sides, then every 5 to 7 minutes while cooking to keep it moist. Close the cover and grill about 20 to 25 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast registers 130-135ºF, for Medium Rare. For Medium, cook another 5-10 minutes (25 to 30 minutes total), or until the temperature reaches 135-140ºF, or another 5-10 minutes (30 to 35 minutes total), or until the temperature reaches 145-155ºF for Medium Well. Don’t overcook. The temperature can rise fast so watch your thermometer.
Transfer the Tri-tip to a cutting board. Loosely cover with foil and let rest 10 minutes. Slice the roast in thin slices across the grain. Serve with a side of pinquito beans, which is the traditional side dish. We have a Pintos with Poblano Chiles recipe on our website. Click HERE for the recipe.