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.

Recipe Summary

prep:
20 mins
cook:
25 mins
additional:
4 hrs 30 mins
total:
5 hrs 15 mins
Servings:
6
Yield:
6 servings
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Ingredients

6
Original recipe yields 6 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

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  • Combine vinegar, vegetable oil, crushed garlic, and Dijon mustard together in a sealable container. Cover the container and shake to blend ingredients.

  • Remove beef from refrigerator, uncover, and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  • Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil the grate.

  • 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.

Nutrition Facts

452 calories; protein 52.5g 105% DV; carbohydrates 3.6g 1% DV; fat 24.1g 37% DV; cholesterol 166.2mg 55% DV; sodium 854.9mg 34% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (226)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
01/27/2015
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! Read More
(78)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 2 stars
03/19/2014
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. Read More
(201)
290 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 257
  • 4 star values: 24
  • 3 star values: 4
  • 2 star values: 3
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: 2 stars
03/19/2014
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. Read More
(201)
Rating: 5 stars
01/27/2015
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! Read More
(78)
Rating: 5 stars
02/08/2015
Wow! This was great. I followed the directions exactly however I cut the crushed garlic down to one clove. Wife and kids loved it. Will definitely make again. I don't really care if The Santa Maria residents state that it doesn't taste like Santa Maria style. It was delicious. Read More
(57)
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Rating: 5 stars
03/22/2014
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. Read More
(46)
Rating: 5 stars
08/09/2014
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! Read More
(27)
Rating: 5 stars
07/16/2014
freaking awesome!! Read More
(24)
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Rating: 3 stars
02/04/2015
I am a big fan of Chef John's recipes and being born & raised in Santa Maria, CA i was skeptical of this change from the traditional Santa maria style seasonings of garlic salt w/parsley, black pepper, and beer(optional). I BBQ'd 2 tri-tips this weekend, 1 traditional and 1 using this recipe. Both were delicious, but heavily critiqued, as is the Santa Maria way when it comes to such serious business as tri-tip! Many people said this 1 tasted as if i had used seasoned salt instead of garlic salt, others disliked the mustard/ vinegar flavor. I personally think this recipe tastes more like San Luis Obispo (SLO) style which is usually served w/ bbq sauce than Santa Maria style which is usually served with homemade salsa. Read More
(18)
Rating: 3 stars
03/16/2015
Made this exactly as directed but it charred so badly that the flavor of the meat was lost. Read More
(14)
Rating: 5 stars
06/04/2014
Best. Tri Tip. Recipe. EVER. Read More
(12)