Grilled Santa Maria Tri-Tip

Grilled tri-tip

Annabelle Breakey / Photodisc / Getty Images

Prep: 3 hrs 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 4 hrs
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
519 Calories
33g Fat
3g Carbs
50g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 519
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 33g 42%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 157mg 52%
Sodium 819mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 50g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 51mg 4%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 665mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The town of Santa Maria, California, is famous for its delicious grilled tri-tip. Tri-tip is a great piece of beef for the grill, and this West Coast barbecue favorite makes a nice change of pace from the more common Texas or Southern barbecue recipes.


  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds beef tri-tip roast

  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Combine the black pepper, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, rosemary, and cayenne in a small bowl.

  3. Rub onto all surfaces of the tri-tip.

  4. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.

  5. Remove and let sit out for 30 minutes at room temperature.

  6. Add the Dijon, vinegar, vegetable oil, and crushed garlic to a jar with a lid and shake vigorously until emulsified.

  7. Prepare your charcoal or gas barbecue grill.

  8. Place the tri-tip on the grill and brush with the oil and vinegar mixture.

  9. Turn every 3 to 4 minutes, basting generously each time.

  10. Grill for 25 to 30 minutes for medium-rare (internal temp of 135 F.). The outside of the roast will get very dark and develop a charred crust, this is desired and one of the signature characteristics of this barbecue recipe.

  11. Remove the tri-tip from the grill to a large platter.

  12. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing in 1/4-inch thick pieces across the grain.

  13. Serve as you would any barbecued beef, but in California, this is often served with tortillas and salsa. Enjoy!