Santa Maria Tri-Tip Steak

28 Jan

Santa Maria Tri-Tip Steak is a specialty of Santa Maria, California, which lies about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Tri-tip is taken from the bottom sirloin of the cow, and is often cut into steaks and sold as “sirloin steak” (a tougher version of the prized “top sirloin steak”). When sold whole, as is used in this recipe, it can weigh up to 4 pounds. This lean, moderately tough, and economical cut of meat fares best when cooked only to medium-rare or medium.

The key to making a good Santa Maria Tri-Tip is cooking it so that it has a crusty outside and tender, juicy inside. There are different ways to achieve this result; in Santa Maria, chefs often use a grill that can be adjusted up and down, so as to develop a crust and then pull it away from the fire to prevent burning.

My method is similar. We’re going to only heat one side of the grill, indirectly roast it until it reaches a certain temperature, then place it directly over the fire to create a tasty crust at the end. The end result is a dead simple recipe that always makes for a tasty experience.

Santa Maria Tri-Tip Steak

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

1 Tri-tip steak (2-4 lbs)
2 tbsp sugar-free rub

1. Pat the tri-tip dry using paper towels. Sprinkle the rub evenly over the steak, then let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes while you prep your grill.

2. To prep the grill, get one side hot while the other side cold, about 225-250 degrees on the cool side. This can be done by banking charcoal to one side, or turning off the burners on one half of your gas grill.

3. Place the steak on the cool side of the grill, and cook using indirect heat until it reaches an internal temperature of 110F, about 40 minutes. When it gets to temperature, move it to the hot side of the grill, cook for 5 minutes, then flip and cook for another 5 minutes. This will give you a nice crust on the steak. Pull the steak off the grill when it reaches an internal temperature of about 130-135F.

4. Let rest for 10 minutes then slice against the grain. Serve with its accumulated juices.

22 Responses to “Santa Maria Tri-Tip Steak”

  1. willam January 28, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    Sounds like a candidate for a nice brisket rub and Low and Slow smoker..

    • Russ Crandall January 28, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

      Totally, it would definitely work with low and slow, too.

  2. Priscilla @ January 28, 2014 at 6:58 pm #

    Tri tip is my favorite! Looks great!

  3. chef mimi January 29, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    Looks delicious and perfect!

  4. Natalie January 30, 2014 at 12:05 am #

    I just found your blog and can’t wait to try this recipe. I also have takayasus arteritis and I am curious to see if the paleo diet would help me in the same way that it has helped you. I look forward to reading more on here.

    • Russ Crandall January 30, 2014 at 7:21 pm #

      Natalie, thanks for visiting! Hope you find improved health through my recipes.

  5. Shirley Smith January 30, 2014 at 9:56 am #

    Looks amazing!!

  6. Betty Dorsing January 30, 2014 at 11:41 pm #

    I have been a follower of your blog and your amazing story and recovery! Currently myself and family have been living the Paleo life! And are enjoying the benefits! My daughter’s husband has an intolerance of grains,so she developed a marvelous gluten free and paleo friendly cracker! Everyone lived it so much that she developed it into a cracker business which is now in based in CA. Her business is located in Ventura. Would you be interested in receiving some crackers ! Also am interested in knowing about the upcoming Expo and if it would be a fit for her crackers! If you are interested we would be happy to send some complimentary crackers! Unless of course you may have already tried them from your grocer! Really enjoy your blog! Thanks for enlightening us about the Paleo way of life! Betty Dorsing

    Sent from my iPhone


  7. Cava Cava January 31, 2014 at 9:53 am #

    Another mouth watering dish. I wish I have someone cook this for me.
    Thanks for the recipe, guess I’ll just do this myself. lol

  8. Christina A January 31, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    Any other way you might suggest cooking this? I have a George Forman, not known for its temperature control ;)

  9. Danish February 4, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    looks delicious…. going to make it

  10. AgileWriter February 7, 2014 at 1:35 am #

    Try Beef in Red Wine Gravy
    You will love it!!!

  11. Scott Ptak February 7, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    I used to live in Santa Maria and the annual festival was a time for many different vendors to show off their cooking skills. Walking up and down the street with the smells of dozens of grills was always a time of expectation and fun. Thanks for the cooking tips – I will be trying to replicate that wonderful texture and flavor soon.

  12. Deb February 7, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    This would also be awesome in a smoker ( low & slow)..Can’t wait to give it a try..Yumm

  13. jennalovestherain February 11, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    Having grown up in the area near Santa Maria, this is near and dear to my heart. My dad would make it almost once a week and no one ever complained. He used almost the exact version you do, and it always came out a mouth-watering medium. In Santa Maria, you may still find parking lot BBQs selling Tri-Tip. They usually serve it up with some sour dough bread, beans and salad.

  14. free domain coupon October 7, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

    My brother suggested I might like this website. He was totally right.

    This post truly made my day. You cann’t imagine simply how a lot time I had spent for this info!


  1. Santa Maria Tri-Tip Steak | Paleo Digest - January 28, 2014

    […] Domestic Man / Posted on: January 01, 1970The Domestic Man – Santa Maria Tri-Tip Steak is a specialty of Santa Maria, California, which lies about 100 […]

  2. Weekly Meal Plan | Tales of A Paleo Mom - February 4, 2014

    […] Santa Ana Steak (but roasted in oven) with sauteed green beans and bacon (couldn’t taste a thing AGAIN, but […]

  3. The Roundup - February 5, 2014

    […] The Domestic Man: Santa Maria Tri-Tip┬áSteak […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 64,391 other followers

%d bloggers like this: