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Santa Maria Tri Tip

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Our Santa Maria style tri-tip was crafted to mirror the fan-favorite, which is traditionally smoked over red oak chips. This lean, triangular cut of steak is absolutely phenomenal on the grill. We love to make our Santa Maria tri-tip during our spring and summer barbecues and it is always a major hit.

If you like this recipe you will like our oven-roasted tri tip and our tri tip fajitas.

Santa Maria tri tip sliced on a platter.

What We Love About This Santa Maria Tri-Tip Recipe:

This California classic lives up to the hype and is beloved for many reasons such as:

  • Has the perfect blend of smoky, spicy and sweet flavors. 
  • This tender steak is renowned for its buttery texture. 
  • Seasoning boasts plenty of healthy benefits. 
  • Taste a little bit of California’s culinary history with every bite. 

Ingredients You Need For This Santa Maria Tri-Tip:

This simple recipe only requires a few ingredients. Check out our Santa Maria tri tip Rub recipe to make your own spice blend and get to grilling! The ingredients you will need are:

A tri tip with spice rub ready for the grill.

Don’t feel like lighting up the grill tonight? Try a slow cooker tri tip.

How to Make This Santa Maria Tri-Tip:

This recipe is definitely simple but be sure to plan ahead to make sure you allow plenty of time for your steak to soak in all of the flavor of our delectable dry rub. Here are the steps to make this Santa Maria tri-tip steak:

A Santa Maria Tri Tip on the grill.

Preparation:

  1. Remove any silver skin from the meat as well as any thick layers of fat. 
  2. Sprinkle the entire surface with the rub. Massage the rub into all the cracks and crevices of the meat. 
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, preferably overnight. When ready to grill the roast, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to sit at room temperature for one hour.

For a charcoal grill: 

  1.  Set the grill for a 2-zone heat. If using a gas grill, heat the grill on a high setting.
  2. Grill the tri tip as indicated in the recipe below. Use a spray bottle to spray any flames that flare up.   

For a gas grill:  

  1. Heat the grill to a high setting. Then, place the roast on the hot grill and sear one side for 6-8 minutes. 
  2. Lower the heat to medium-high and continue to cook, flipping the roast every 6-8 minutes until an instant-read thermometer reaches 130° Fahrenheit.  

Carving the roast

  1. Transfer the roast to a cutting board, tent with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. To carve the roast, cut it in half where the roast makes a natural angle. Slice each section against the grain into thin slices.  
A tri tip showing the grain lines and the direction that the tri tip needs to be sliced.

Chef’s Tips & Tricks For Recipe Success: 

  • For best results, allow the dry rub to sit on the meat overnight. This will ensure a more potent flavor and optimal tenderness for your steak. Our dry rub essentially acts as a brine. 
  • Be sure to not trim off all the fat on your tri-tip steak as it will help baste the meat as it cooks.  
  • Save your leftover seasoning! Our Santa Maria style dry rub is a great addition to your spice cabinet and can be used in a myriad of ways. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I substitute Tri-Tip steak?

If you cannot get your hands on a tri-tip steak, feel free to substitute other thick-cut steaks such as a London broil. Check out our cowboy steak or our ribeye steak in the oven.

What If I Don’t Have a Grill? 

Fear not! Even if you do not have a grill, you can still make and enjoy this smoky Santa Maria tri-tip recipe. Prepare and season your steak as directed above. Then, preheat your oven to 425° Fahrenheit.

Place your roast in the oven on a baking sheet and remove it when the steak’s internal temperature reaches about 135° Fahrenheit for medium-rare or when it reaches your desired texture. 

Why is it called Santa Maria Tri Tip?

Santa Maria California is where it first became popular. It is often grilled over red oak wood for a special smoky flavor.

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SOME OTHER RECIPES WE ARE SURE YOU WILL LOVE:

  • This Instant Pot tri tip gets cooked with a bunch of veggies for a complete meal. It makes a quick dinner for busy nights.
  • This beer can roasted chicken is cooked with wine, lemon and fresh herbs.
  • Our herbed pot roast cooks everything in one pot for dinner. This is good ole comfort food like grandma makes.

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Santa Maria tri tip ready to serve.

Santa Maria Tri Tip

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 21 minutes

A smokey dry rub infuses a ton of flavor into the tri tip before it gets grilled. It is incredibly easy and makes an amazing dinner. If you give the rub plenty of time to sit on the tri-tip it will develop the flavors more and tenderize the meat.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Remove any silver skin from the meat and any thick layers of fat.  Do not trim off all the fat as it will help baste the meat as it cooks.  
  2. Place the roast on a large platter or tray and sprinkle the entire surface with the rub.  Massage the seasoning rub into all the cracks and crevices of the meat.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.  When ready to grill the roast, remove it from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

For a charcoal grill: 

  1.  Set the grill for a 2-zone heat.  If using a gas grill heat the grill to high.  
  2. Place the roast on the hot zone of the grill and sear one side for  6-8 minutes.  Spray any flare-ups with water as needed.   Turn the roast over and sear the other side for 6-8 minutes. 
  3. Move the roast to the cooler heat zone of the grill and cook for another 6-8 minutes.  Flip the roast and cook for another 6-8 minutes.  Continue cooking and turning until an instant-read thermometer reaches 130°F when inserted into the thickest part of the roast.  

For a gas grill:  

  1. Heat the grill to high.  Place the roast on the hot zone of the grill and sear one side for  6-8 minutes.  Turn the roast and sear for another 6-8 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium-high and continue to cook flipping the roast every 6-8 minutes until an instant-read thermometer reaches 130°.  
  2. Transfer the roast to a cutting board, tent with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  To carve the roast, cut it in half where the roast makes a natural angle.  Slice each section against the grain into thin slices.  
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 269Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 64mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 32g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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Tri tip rub in a jar.
Santa Maria Tri-Tip Rub
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angiesrecipes

Monday 29th of March 2021

So juicy, tender and flavourful! Thanks for the oven version too since I don't have a grill. angiesrecipes http://angiesrecipes.blogspot.com

Pat Nyswonger

Tuesday 30th of March 2021

Hi, Angie! Yes, this is delicious in the oven....Enjoy!

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