Santa Maria Tri-Tip

Tri-tip charcoal grill

Sabrina S. Baksh / Regarding BBQ, Inc.

  • Total: 55 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
420 Calories
20g Fat
3g Carbs
55g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 420
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 25%
Saturated Fat 8g 38%
Cholesterol 169mg 56%
Sodium 895mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 55g
Calcium 32mg 2%
*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.)

Long ago in the days of cattle drives in the Santa Maria Valley, there emerged a traditional cookout known as Santa Maria Barbecue. These days, this tradition consists of grilled beef tri-tip roasts, pinquito beans, and a salad. This is a great style for a cookout and a simple way to prepare the main dish.


  • 2 to 3 pounds/1 to 1.3 kilograms beef tri-tip roast
  • 2 teaspoons/ 10 milliliters salt
  • 2 teaspoons/10 milliliters garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons/10 milliliters sugar
  • 2 teaspoons/10 milliliters black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Combine the seasonings and sprinkle over the surface of the beef tri-tip. Set aside for about 30 minutes.

  2. Preheat grill to a high temperature. Place tri-tip on the hot grill and sear the surface for about two minutes per side.

  3. Move away from the high temperature or reduce to low fire and continue cooking. This is preferably done with the lid up to prevent burning or overcooking but this is up to your discretion based on your equipment. What you want is a grilling temperature of around 300 F/150 C.

  4. Continue cooking until the meat reaches the desired doneness and remove from grill. Plan on about 45 minutes total cooking time but keep an eye on the meat. Preferably this meat should be served medium-rare.

  5. Serve with your cookout sides of choice and enjoy!

Recipe Variation

  • Traditionally this tri-tip is grilled over red oak coals and charcoal grills with adjustable grates. The meat is seared close to the fire then the grate is raised to allow the meat to slow roast until done.