Santa Maria Tri-Tip? Think thick crispy, salty, smokey crust, tender & juicy inside, and basically the best tri-tip you’ll have in your life. For reals. You’ll never believe how easy this is AND how show stopping.
The Seasoned Santa Maria Tri-Tip Crust
This is why the Santa Maria Tri-tip is famous. It has a deep flavorful, salty crust so when you bite into this meat you’re biting into everything! Crispy salt, savory tender meat and a burst of flavor in your mouth. Making sure you get this crust right is essential! No worries! It’s easy.
STEP 1: the DRY RUB
Take your seasonings and mix them all together. I love using Remond’s real salt (not sponsored!) for my seasonings. Other seasonings just dont compare. Instead of using onion powder, garlic powder and salt I use their onion salt, garlic salt and then I cut back on “salt” quantity. However, if you only have the powder form (ie garkic powder or onion powder) of these spices that will be ok, just double or triple your salt.
Message the dry rub all over your tri-tip and wrap it in plastic wrap, or gallon bag and let it marinate for 4-6 hours-overnight. I like to give mine as much time as possible, so I do it the day before.
Smoking vs. Grilling Tri-tip
Which is better? This can completely be left up to your personal preference, in fact- in my family we’re divided on this subject! The truth is you can grill or smoke tri-tip and it’ll come out beautiful. My husband prefers to grill leaner meats like tri-tip. Tri-tip will just take slightly longer on the smoker than grill. I’ve included instruction in recipe card for both.
We have both a smoker and a grill and use both often. If you are looking into a smoker we highly recommend the Camp Chef Woodwind. It’s easy to use, the best to clean but makes even better smoked meat. We’ve been smoking all summer long and love this thing.
STEP 2: BASTING THE TRI-TIP
This basting sauce will do a few things for the tri-tip. Don’t skimp on this step!
- Help keep it moist.
- clCreate a deeper flavored crust (I mean, garlic!! vinegar!! mustard!!)
- Helps the crust to cook at a higher temp so it is nice and crisp.
Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. Allow the tri-tip to cook for about 5 min, then periodically take your silicone brush flip then baste your tri-tip. Keep doing this throughout the process until the tri-tip internal temp reaches your liking.
Whats a good internal temperature for Tri-tip?
First off- you need a great thermometer like thermoworks! we love them, and it will reliable + fast.
- rare tri-tip roast is 120 degrees
- medium tri-tip- 130 degrees
- medium well tri-tip- 140 degrees
It depends on your preference. HOWEVER, it is important to allow your meat to rest after removing from smoker/grill. The meat will continue to cook while resting for a few more minutes. If you really want to insure a rare/med rare tri-tip roast you will want to pull it off a couple of degrees sooner.
How to cut tri-tip
Once you’ve let your tri-tip rest for about 15-20 minutes you are ready to slice this bad boy. Using a sharp knife (I love my ceramic knife) slice the roast against the grain. You can see in the photo the lines of the meat are going north south direction and I cut in an east/west direction.
I love to make a side of chimichurri and grilled potato salad with this Santa Maria Tri-tip. It pairs perfectly!
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Step-by-step instructions for the best Santa Maria Tri-Tip recipe. Crispy, salty crust juicy tender inside. Both smoker and grilling instructions included.
- 2-3 lb tri-tip
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup veg oil (or oil that have a very high smoke point)
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
Combine dry rub ingredients and coat entire tri-tip. Wrap in plastic wrap or gallon size bag. Place in bowl/pan and keep refrigerated 4 hours to over night.
In small bowl combine ingredients for basting sauce.
Preheat smoker 220 degrees.
After 15 minutes, flip tri-tip and baste continue this pattern every 10 minutes.
Tri-tip is done about 127 internal temp (+/- depending on what your preferred doneness is). It'll take somewhere between 60-90 minutes.
Grill med to med-high heat.
Flip tri-tip and baste every 5 minutes. Continue this pattern every 5 minutes.
for about 30 minutes or until internal temp is 127 +/- your preferred doneness.