BBQ-ing Santa Maria style is more of a method than a recipe. It is cooking the tri-tip over an open flame, preferably oak. No briquets, just wood. It is also crucial is to have a grill that can be raised and lowered so you can sear the meat on the outside without burning. You want the flame to just lick the bottom of the meat.
I used to have a good recipe for tri-tip, but I couldn’t find it when I looked for it just now. Darn. Especially since this thread is making me wish that I could grill one soon myself.
It’s a bottom sirloin, and in one of the minor successes of agribusiness, almost any grocer can order it in for you, in a cryovac bag. Steaks cut from the bottom sirloin / tri tip are frequently marketed as Cullotte steaks in some areas.
Update…….garlic powder, kosher salt, pepper and paprika. Roasted it on the side of the bbq that was shut off for indirect heat. Had to fight my daughter for the last piece……..
My memory may be fuzzy, but didn’t the Sterns write up Santa Maria style BBQ a few years back? It’s been quite awhile since I read their article, but it did revive memories from my childhood. I think it even had a basic recipe or two – I believe it was in a Gourmet magazine article. I’ll have to look through our stack of back issues at home tonight…
During my childhood, my family was still anchored in the Santa Barbara – Lompoc – Santa Maria areas, and every reunion or family BBQ seemed to feature a variation of Santa Maria style. Good stuff!
I am at Pomona every February and November for the NHRA races. There is a stand there that specializes in tri-tips. Since I am from the poor old state of Tennessee, I had never heard of this cut before. It was cooked over a grill and was very good, but a little chewy.
The stand is there for every race, so I assume it is there for all fairground events.
Paul E. Smith
I have noticed that Tri-Tip seems to be a regional (west coast) descriptor for a top or bottom round roast. Usually a triangle shape because it is the ‘end’ of the round. We used to get them pretty cheap at Stater Brother’s. I have not seen them marketed east of the Rockies anywhere…Brisket is the Beef of choice from there —east I think.
I’m planning on roasting a tri-tip tomorrow and want to do it like they do in Santa Maria, CA. I have a 2-part question—–anyone have a good recipe for making the tri-tip. And, has anyone found a good place to eat tri-tip? I’ve gone up to Santa Maria for the Saturday BBQ’s and would like a place that makes it like that—-also has anyone been there and found a really good wagon/cart cooking it at the Saturday BBQ on Main Street there?
Santa Maria Style
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