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)
522 Calories
30g Fat
9g Carbs
51g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 522
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 39%
Saturated Fat 8g 39%
Cholesterol 152mg 51%
Sodium 893mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 51g
Calcium 77mg 6%
*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 pound beef tri-tip roast
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper (fresh ground)
  • 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!