Simple Sundays | Santa Maria Tri-Tip: It's All In the Rub

I hope you’re enjoying your Memorial Day weekend. In case you haven’t ironed out your menu, I wanted to usher you over to my favorite recipe for a Santa Maria Tri-Tip. With origins from the Central Coast, in the small town of Santa Maria just north of Santa Barbara, this is quintessential California on the grill.

The trick to this classic is all in the rub. And if you’re lucky to find a butcher who can provide you with a tri-tip that has not been fully trimmed of all its fat, then you will hit the jackpot. You may shudder to hear me recommend selecting a cut with some fat left on the meat, but believe me, as you grill this hunk of tastiness, the fat will melt into the fabulous zesty spice rub, and coax the tri-tip into succulence supreme.

My personal favorite recipe for a Santa Maria Style BBQ Oakwood Grilled Tri-Tip was featured on an old episode of BBQ with Bobby Flay, from a gentleman named Frank Ostini. It’s a recipe I turn to time and again, and though I may tweak it here and there, I have come to realize that the recipe, as written, is just about perfect. I like to make a big batch of the rub and keep it on hand; when I’m in a pinch, I can bang out a Tri-Tip in a jiffy.

I hope you like it! Go get your grill on!

Santa Maria Style BBQ Oakwood Grilled Tri-Tip

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by Liren Baker on May 29, 2011

17 Responses to “Simple Sundays | Santa Maria Tri-Tip: It's All In the Rub”

  1. Belinda @zomppa May 29, 2011 @ 4:36 am (#

    I’d like to come to your cookout – gorgeous photos!

    • Liren replied: — June 6th, 2011 @ 11:00 am

      Belinda, it would be so fun to do a cookout, wouldn’t it!?

  2. Katty's Kitchen May 29, 2011 @ 5:44 am (#

    DROOL…can I come over, too? Love tri-tip AND the Central Coast AND so many of the wines from Sideways country. I’ll bring a bottle! :)

    • Liren replied: — June 6th, 2011 @ 11:00 am

      One day we will have to have big cookout. I agree there are so many wonderful wines from the Central Coast, too – what a perfect meal that would be !

  3. Cassie @ Bake Your Day May 29, 2011 @ 6:57 am (#

    Mouth watering! I’m heading to that recipe now!

  4. Kay Ecker May 29, 2011 @ 9:56 am (#

    What a great post, love your beautiful pictures! I love tri-tip and yours looks delicious :o) I love going to the Hitching Post too!

  5. Kate @ Scarpetta Dolcetto May 29, 2011 @ 11:29 am (#

    Great minds think alike…we’re doing Santa Maria-style tri-tip for our BBQ tomorrow! Can’t wait. So simple to prepare and SO tasty. Yours looks fab!

  6. Priscilla - She's Cookin' May 29, 2011 @ 11:07 pm (#

    Yep, first had Santa Maria tri-tip at the Hitching Post years ago – can’t beat it! Your tri-tip is grilled to perfection. Although I use more of a cajun rub – its is definitely all about the rub :) Hope you’re enjoying a relaxing long weekend, Liren.

  7. kristy May 30, 2011 @ 2:37 am (#
    )… your mixed spices sounded amazing. Must be so flavourful & delicious. Thanks for sharing it. Have a great day ahead.

  8. pachecopatty May 30, 2011 @ 5:32 pm (#

    Hi Liren, I enjoyed meeting and speaking with you on Sunday. You have a wonderful inspiring blog with so so many delicious recipes. This tri-tip recipe would be the star at any holiday weekend party, thanks for passing on the recipe;-)

  9. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts May 31, 2011 @ 11:50 am (#

    What a perfectly cooked tri-tip. I don’t think I have ever had Tri-Tip before, but this looks juicy and delicious! And a good rub, is always amazing!

  10. Magic of Spice June 1, 2011 @ 12:43 pm (#

    Santa Maria tri-tip is a huge favorite of my families…looks beautifully prepared :)

  11. Liz June 1, 2011 @ 6:22 pm (#

    Who could resist that gorgeous slab of rare beef? I’ll definitely try this rub~

  12. Katie June 5, 2011 @ 1:36 pm (#

    That’s the prettiest picture I’ve seen all day. Wow!

  13. Candace June 5, 2011 @ 10:57 pm (#

    If you head to the central coast you can find a fantastic seasoning called “Susie-Q”. They sell it in grocery stores and there really is no beating it. I grew up in Santa Maria and have to say that nothing beats a fabulous tri-tip.

    • Liren replied: — June 6th, 2011 @ 10:58 am

      Hi Candace, the next time I am in the central coast I will absolutely look for the Susie-Q seasoning. In fact, who knows, I might be lucky enough to find it up here in the Bay Area, so I will keep my eyes open. Thanks for the suggestion!

  14. mikey dolonge June 22, 2013 @ 11:06 am (#

    you have to cut it AGAINST the grain!
    split it in half than cut at 90 degrees the cut.
    it makes it much more tender!

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