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Well. Tom has mentioned Santa Maria Tri Tip several times the past year, so I thought I better try it. We've often done tri tip, but not Santa Maria style, which is very popular on the central coast of California..

First, a little background on tri tip. It's primarily a West Coast thing but can be found back east. Tri tip is a wonderful cut of meat, very good flavor and tender. People have described the flavor as bold as "rib eye" but fortunately it's much cheaper. The Virtual Webber Bullet does a good job of explaining this cut. It is also called "bottom sirloin roast" or "triangle roast".

I've heard Trader Joe carries it back east. So, if you're near one, go over and see if they have it. If so, buy it. Get on the internet and Google "Santa Maria Tri Tip". Delicious.

Here's a picture of two tri tips. The shape tells you how it got its name. Another thing to notice is how well marbled this cut of meat is.

The night before Mother's day I rubbed and sprinkled the meat with Santa Maria rub. It's a tasty rub and can be used on other cuts of meat. Here's the recipe I used:

Santa Maria Rub

1 tablespoon black pepper, fresh-ground
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon salt

I used some multiple of this to have some for future use.

Now, Santa Maria Tri Tip is primarily grilled, but what the heck, I own a Cookshack. So I smoked the meat first then grilled to finish. I let the meat rest on the counter for 30 minutes then placed it into a 200* preheated smoker until it hit an internal of 95*, roughly an hour. Oak is typically used for Santa Maria but I used mesquite since I didn't have oak. The meat was 45* when I placed it into the smoker.

Since the meat was going to be on the grill for a shorter length of time, I thought I'd mop it for better bark (nice grill flareups). I used the typical Santa Maria mop of a cup of red wine vinegar and a cup of garlic infused vegetable oil (grape seed for me). To that I added a teaspoon of mustard (it helps emulsify the mixture), some pepper. Many don't use the mop. Here's the meat right off the grill. Pulled the meat at 127*.

I let it sit under loose foil for 30 minutes then sliced the meat. It was so juicy my cutting board trough overflowed.

We had Kaiser rolls dipped in au jus and made tri tip sandwiches. That's why I sliced it thinner than normal. Some sides. Some merlot. Absolutely delicious. Tender, moist, smokey, grilled flavor.

There are only two tri tips per cow. So the two I cooked represented the product from one cow--not much there. My only concern is if this cut becomes as popular in the rest of the country as it is out west, then the cost of tri tip will soar.
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Originally posted by Pags:
I forgot to put "Pics" in the headliner. How do I do that?

Anyone can edit their own post, including title.

Click on the little icon in the lower right of the first post, the icon that looks like a pencil eraser and a folder. Change title or any other text as needed.
We like to do these a comps. Makes a great Friday evening meal.
I get mine at Sam's. If you ask, they will sell you a package of 8 or 9. We vac seal them and put them in the freezer. I checked last Friday for price per lb and it was $3.66 here in Wichita. These pics are fantastic, PAGS!!!
Oh, I smoked the last ones in the FEC all the way and they looked and tasted great.
I tried this recipe on a tri-tip from Costco this weekend. Rub recipe is very good. I was out of cayenne so had to substitute ground chipotle.

Smoked at 225* with 3 thin matchbook sized pieces of white oak. Pulled 50-60 minutes later and finished on hot grill to 125-130*. Served sliced thin on fresh baked bagettes. I can see just grilling this but the oak smoke flavor (mild but rich) really kicks this up a notch. Leftovers should be great for lunch Cool

This will make the monthly rotation when available. Great post Pags! Thx
Howdy all! Here in Bakersfield (and the central coast), tri tip ain't just for breakfast! Traditionally grilled over red oak, which burns hotter and with an fantastic aroma, tri tip is a great cross between a steak and roast.

Just last night my fiance wondered aloud about tri tip in the CS. Since it is basically a big hunk of steak, it benefits greatly from a grill finish. Lots of folks take it off a medium rare, but it can get a little chewy if you cut it too thick. Cut it like you would a competion brisket, thin across grain. We like to run ours a little closer to 145 - 155 and mop as we go.

Costco has great tri tip and should run anywhere between 4.29 and 5.99 per pound depending on when you can get it. Beware of supermarket tri tip, it can be overly fatty, and as a friend of says, "just because it's beef, doesn't mean it came from beef cattle".

Around here and up the valley, we dig Harris Ranch beef, some of the best, and yes, they do mail order. If you're gonna give tri tip a shot, marinade/inject with a mix of red wine vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, worchestershire, garlic, and onion.

Pags - looks terrific, nice job! Thankfully, tri-tip is still a west coast thing...many don't know what they are missing. I like to cook mine hot and fast, rare on the inside, crispy on the out. I agree with Texas Marshall, Costco has THE best tri tip I have found, however I have not tried Bristol Farms Wagyu....once mine rest's, I like to use a meat slicer and slice it thin like roast beef. Perfect for sandwiches....btw, where's the picture of the mixed green salad that went with that beef and wine...I know you didn't serve it with potato salad.......
A friend of mine had 4 couples over last night for dinner, and he served tri tip. Very interesting.

He got the tri tip at Costco, and it was Morton's brand tri tip. Some of you may be familiar with Morton's. It's the upscale steak house originated in Chicago that has excellent and very expensive meat. According to him, it was prime grade. Two pieces about 2.5 lbs and costing $13 each so it was more than we're use to paying in order to get the uptown cut. He oven roasted it, and it was absolutely the most tender, tasty tri tip I'be ever eaten. And I've had my share of tri tip.

I'm going to go down to Costco and look for it. I'll smoke/grill it up using the Santa Maria recipe above and take some pictures for the forum. Just thought if Costco carries it, maybe, they have it back east. If they do, I'd like to suggest that you consider giving it a try. I think you'll really enjoy it.
Last edited by pags
Hi Pags - Just a friendly FYI.

The product you bought at Costco probably has a label showing the brand name as "Morton's of Omaha". Costco carries a few items under this brand including the pre-marinated choice cut tritip you purchased. It's a private label brand exclusive to Costco which is, I believe, produced and supplied by Cargill.

The product has no association whatsoever with the the Morton restaurant chain, which was founded in the late 1970s under the name "Morton's of Chicago". After growing the chain for around 10 years, the founder, Arnie Morton, sold it to a group of investors, which now now operates approximately 70 restaurants under the name "Morton's The Steakhouse". For the duration, the primary, if not exclusive, beef vendor for Morton's has been Allen Brothers of Chicago.

BTW, I recall reading a year or two ago that there was a large contamination recall of this product. E Coli. I'm sure there are no issues now so enjoy it.
Last edited by dls
Thanks dls. A lot of people have the same Morton's misconception on this tri tip as I did, including everyone at the dinner party the other night. So when I went to Costco looking for it, I just saw Morton's label and didn't look any further. My bad. Last night's tri tip was still amongst the most tender I've ever eaten. I think it must have to do with the long term marinating as well as the beef cut.

We had my son and fiance over last night for dinner and to taste test/select champagne for his wedding. Lots of fun and a good dinner.

I threw the tri tip into the smoker at 250* all the way until it hit an internal of 130*, about 1.5 hrs. Used 1.75 oz of mesquite and 1.75 oz of wild cherry. Nice smoke flavor. It sliced so easily that I didn't need the Forschner, could have used a butter knife.
Last edited by pags
When I first heard of the product a couple years ago I assumed it was just another example of one company slightly altering the brand name of another company and it's high quality reputation for their own marketing purposes. In this case, replacing the word Chicago with Omaha. Apparently, it works.

I've heard from others that they really enjoyed the tritip, but after the E Coli issue I forgot about it. Based upon your experience, I may give it a try.

Glad you enjoyed it.
Smoked one of these tonight. I used the Santa Maria rub and injected with Worcestersire. It was outstanding. Mine looked just like yours in the finished grilled pictures. I think I might back off the fresh ground pepper as you have mentioned. But it was still outstanding. My son took one look at it as it came off the grill and said "you burned it Dad". I said "oh no son, not at all, wait till you taste it" Haha, he loved it.
Well. The wedding guests are arriving for next week's wedding, and I'm doing this same recipe for 16 relatives tonight. Most of them, meat eaters from Chicago that are used to that great beef from Kansas and Nebraska. Most have never had tri tip so I figured I'd see how this Santa Maria recipe passses mustard.

Four choice tri tips from Sam's, 12 lbs, rubbed and setting in the fridge for later. Using White Oak. Don't have Red Oak. My wife's great Caeser Salad, garlic bread (baguette sliced lengthwise, butter, garlic, 4 way grated cheese, sectioned then broiled), potato salad (we're lazy). Beer, wine. Laughs.

The party begins and will last for 2 weeks. Eeker Smiler Cool
Gosh. Those Chicagoans just don't eat like I remember. We had almost 2 tri tip left over. 6+ lbs eaten by 14 people...2 out of towners caught the flu and stayed in the hotel...bummer.

They did love this recipe, smoked then grilled with a mopping and a light rub dusting just before slicing. Gotta thank Tom again for pointing me in this direction. We eat Santa Maria style tri tip fairly often.
Well I finally found a source for tri-tip here in Maine. Turns out Hannaford carries them. You just have to ask for them at the meat counter.

So I got a tri-tip on the way home and prepared it ala Pags. The only differce was the mop. I used some italian dressing with a squirt of mustard to bind it. Wow! Both the Mrs. and I agree that tri-tip is "holiday" good!

Thanks again Pags. Can't thank you, and the rest of the sage contributors, enough. You guys do so much for the members of this forum.

Last edited by smokinmaineiac

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