Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip

4.74 from 198 votes
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Santa Maria style tri-tip recipe perfect for grilling during barbecue season! A smoky, sweet and spicy rub adds instant flavor to this tender cut of beef.

Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip

Santa Maria style tri-tip takes a tender, and mild cut of beef then coats the roast with a blast of spices on the surface for maximum flavor. Instead of grilling the usual chicken, ribs or sausages, why not try this under-appreciated yet delicious steak!

When Jason and I attended college at CalPoly, San Luis Obispo, we quickly learned that one of the culinary delights on the Central Coast of California was the famous beef tri-tip cut. Downtown San Luis Obispo has numerous restaurants like Firestone Grill that offer the seasoned hunks of meat on their menus, often thinly sliced and served on a soft French roll and drenched in BBQ sauce. Yum!

Since graduating and migrating South over a decade ago, we haven’t had much opportunity to get some authentic Santa Maria style tri-tip as often as we would like. Many local BBQ restaurants fall short of the ones we had in San Luis Obispo. I’m sharing my tasty tips for making this flavorful beef right at home.

Tri tip cut of beef seared with black marks on a bbq grill

Barbecued tri-tip is said to have originated from the Central Coast, where the workers on the ranches were given less tender cuts of meat that were thought to be flavorless. However, with the proper seasoning and cooking time, people realized that tri-tip could be prepared just as flavorful as the more expensive and desired cuts of meat.

The area of Santa Maria, California has now become known for this kind of barbecue delight, and visitors to this beautiful coastline make sure to grab some tri-tip during their visits.

How to cook a tri-tip roast

Sometimes it helps to have friends in the right places, Jason’s friend Mike happens to live in Santa Maria, and he helped recommend a few cooking tips. I wanted to infuse extra flavor in the crust of the tri-tip meat, so I created a smoky, sweet and spicy rub for my Santa Maria style tri-tip recipe.

Homemade dry rub blend of spices in a wooden jar and on a spoon

Spice Rub

A blend of paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, sugar, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper to create a nice balance of flavors for the rub. Allow the meat to marinate in the seasonings for at least 3 hours, up to 3 days for the flavors to penetrate the surface better.

Grilling Tri-Tip

For large roasts, I like to rest the meat at room temperature for about 1 hour before cooking. This technique allows the meat to sear nicely on the surface without taking too much time for the meat to cook on the inside. The high heat from the grill and sugars in the rub creates a beautiful crust when seared for 10 minutes on both sides.

This cut is pretty thick, so to nail the right doneness of the meat the heat is turned down, and the grill is covered to roast the beef. Use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature, 120-125°F (medium-rare) and 130-135°F (medium).


Carryover cooking occurs with meat, so that is why you stop cooking before you hit the desired internal doneness temperature to account for the off-heat cooking that continues to happen. For a 2 to 3-pound tri-tip roast, 15 minutes is a good resting time.

Santa Maria style tri tip with a carving fork placed in one of the slices


When slicing tri-tip, it’s easy to see the direction that the grain runs along the muscle fibers. If you’re looking at the beef with the thinner end pointing towards you, the grain runs parallel from the short sides. Make sure to slice against the grain, with the knife at a slight angle, so you don’t end up with extremely chewy slices of beef.

If you haven’t had tri-tip before, this is a flavorful recipe that doesn’t require a long cooking time and can be prepared days ahead so that you can enjoy within an hour or less of grilling!

Tri-tip is a cut from the very bottom of the sirloin section of the cow, between the ribs and rump, shaped similarly to a long triangle. Due to this shape, you will get some thinner parts of the cut that will cook more quickly than the thicker sections. This is great if you have eaters who like more well-done pieces, or like me, who prefer medium-rare, you get the best of both worlds!

Slices of tri tip steak on a plate with lettuce and red onions

This Santa Maria style tri-tip is fantastic on its own or with a delicious homemade barbecue sauce. Once you give this steak a try, it will often be requested by friends and family at your summertime gatherings! Have you made tri-tip before? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments section.

More Steak recipes

Why is it important to “rest” meat before slicing?

Raw beef consists of mostly water (around 75%), protein and fat. Water is stored in multiple individual muscle myofibril structures, which make up each muscle fiber of the meat. As it cooks, the protein chemically bonds together, and some even dissolve, compressing and contracting during the exposure to heat. The contractions force the water out of the myofibrils into the adjacent spaces of the muscle fiber, and the meat visually shrinks. You can physically see the water quickly run out when you slice right away. When the meat is allowed to rest before cutting, the proteins can relax, allowing some of the expelled water to be reabsorbed by the myofibrils and fill in the spaces of the dissolved protein. The result is a less dry, juicer and more tender piece of meat! (Reference: The Science of Good Cooking)

Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip

Santa Maria style tri-tip recipe perfect for grilling during barbecue season! A smoky, sweet and spicy rub adds instant flavor to this tender cut of beef.
4.74 from 198 votes
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine American


  • 3 pounds tri tip

Dry Rub (½ cup)

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper


  • Combine all dry rub ingredients in a small container and set aside.
  • Trim the silver skin and fat layer from the trip tip. Place on a sheet of plastic wrap.
  • Generously coat the tri-tip with about 4 tablespoons of dry rub, 2 tablespoons on each side. Store extra seasonings in an airtight container for later use.
  • Tightly wrap the tri-tip and refrigerate until ready to use. Allow the rub to settle into the meat for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.
  • When ready to grill, remove the seasoned tri-tip from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature, about 1 hour.
  • Clean grill and lightly oil the grates using a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil.
  • Heat the grill to medium-high if using a gas grill. Once hot, place the meat on the grill and sear one side for 10 minutes with the lid open.
  • Turn tri-tip over and sear for another 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and close the lid.
  • Allow the meat to cook for about 15-25 minutes, checking the temperature until the thickest part reaches 120-125°F (medium-rare) or 130-135°F (medium).
  • The meat will continue to cook after being removed from the heat, so stop cooking a few degrees lower than the desired doneness.
  • Remove the tri-tip from the grill and allow it to rest wrapped loosely in foil for at least 15 minutes before slicing. The foil will catch any juices from the meat, which can be added back to the meat after slicing for more flavor.
  • Thinly slice against the grain and serve.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 6 servings
Calories 458kcal (23%)Carbohydrates 3g (1%)Protein 47g (94%)Fat 29g (45%)Saturated Fat 10g (50%)Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat 0.03gCholesterol 142mg (47%)Sodium 181mg (8%)Potassium 43mg (1%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 2g (2%)Vitamin A 700IU (14%)Vitamin C 1.7mg (2%)Calcium 4mgIron 0.4mg (2%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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106 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Cathy says

    Sooo delicious! Make a Texas style dip sandwich with any leftovers. Use the pan drippings with the sliced brisket on garlic Parmesan toast! So good.

  2. Errol Crones says

    I yesterday I bought this Beef Ralphs. Its packaged in a plasticky pouch.
    On the back of the pouch are the printed c booking directions.
    Well these cooking directions are printed so small I can NOT read them!
    I want to cook them in my oven. Can any one out there to plerase send me the directions?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I would roast the tri-tip at 350-degrees until it reaches medium-rare, 130 to 135-degrees. Cover and let it rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.

  3. Linda says

    Excellent! Prepared the rub as recipe stated, but not the sugar as my husband is diabetic. It was delicious. I don’t know what the sugar is supposed to do, but I didn’t miss it. I sprayed the meat just prior to cooking with Avocado oil instead of drizzling with oil. Thank you for this easy recipe.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Great job improvising the seasoning mix, Linda! The sugar adds additional flavor by accelerating browning. But you can definitely omit and it still tastes yummy!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Perhaps asking the butcher for Newport steak, Santa Maria steak, Triangle tip, or Triangle steak if it’s not referred to as tri-tip. Yes, you can cook it in the oven.

  4. Mark Stevens says

    Enjoyed you recipe and comments. I purchase a rub at the meat market in Fresno and Clovis areas. I always rub the meat first with a good high smoke oil before I use the rub and try to let it sit in the fridge as long as possible. A good 24 plus hours seems to be the best but a few hours is fine. Oiling the meat first helps with taste since varieties of meat ie select to prime can be $$ choice and no need to oil grill. I prefer to grill 3-5 min each side first to get a crust then use indirect heat the rest of way. I always try to use charcoal or wood first unless time is an issue.

  5. Marie says

    it seems to be really delicious, especially the Dry rub because it contains all my favourite spices. I will definitely try the recipe this Sunday. Thank you, Jessica

  6. Dee says

    Thank you, Jessica, for the perfect rub recipe and exact cooking directions. I’ve made this recipe at least 4 times for family and friends.
    We used to enjoy Santa Maria premarinated tri-tip from the markets but they are so expensive and the taste is so-so (depending on the brand). I figured I could do better at home and found your fabulous recipe.
    Your dry rub recipe is enough to marinate 2 tri-tips. I usually buy the meat on sale, add the dry rub to the meat, wrap it in plastic wrap, Ziploc bag, and freeze it. I defrost the tri-tip 1-2 days before grilling.
    The meat always comes out flavorful and delicious. No more expensive store-bought marinated meat for us! This is my go-to recipe.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Wow, you’re a tri-tip pro, Dee! So smart to freeze the marinated meat so you can just defrost and cook when the craving hits.

  7. Kay says

    I was looking for how to cook flank steak and your recipe came up and I just had to click on it and of course save the recipe. I live in Maryland and at our local Weis, they sell flank steak with Santa Monica rub. I also got one that is plain and I will definitely try this out. Oh! And thank you for the side dishe ideas, that was my next question lol
    Thank you again!

  8. Chris says

    What do you think is a good side dish to accompany the tri tip? I’m in Perth , Australia and it’s winter here. Thanks

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Chris- Perhaps some mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables, sauteed green beans, broccoli salad, or a crisp green salad to pair with the tri-tip.

  9. Cynthia says

    Is there another name for this cut? I’ve never heard of it, and please don’t tell me to ask my butcher because the nearest one is 1 and a half hours from my house which irritants the crap out of me. Is it also called flank steak?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Tri-tip is the most accurate name for the cut, so I would look for that at the store. It is not the same as flank steak, since they are from different areas. It comes from the bottom sirloin region. In the past, it used to be called newport steak, and sometimes labeled as santa maria steak in California, or triangle tip/steak.

      • Cynthia says

        I guess I won’t be saving this recipe then cause there is no such thing where I live. Maybe it didn’t sale around here so they decided not to carry it. Ohhh bother

  10. Carmen says

    This was so delicious! Thank you. I was going to learn to bbq but at the last minute changed my mind. I just did it stove top in my cast iron pan. The rub was really excellent. I usually use wet marinades. So happy I found this.

  11. Ra1der5 says

    I used to live in Lompoc, CA.; a stone’s throw from Santa Maria. This rub is classic for a Santa Maria style tri-tip BBQ with beans and garlic bread. Reminds me of good times. Thank you!

  12. Linda says

    I learned about tri tip when I worked in San Jose for a while. It used to be impossible to find this meat in Oklahoma! I had a friend ship it to me from California. When I buy now I buy huge bags from Sams. 5-7 tri tip roasts. The original rub mentioned here is what I use and my entire family loves it. We serve it on yeast rolls with a side of Sautéed green peppers, onions and mushrooms with some spices and broccoli casserole with some jalapeños added. Making this tomorrow for Halloween. Our favorite meal!

  13. Eloise says

    Jessica, Well I’m not from SLObut from central Cali. Here we use a rub called Pappy’s. And usually our tri tip is served with green salad, beans and pilaf and bbq sauce on the side. I’ve been grilling tri tip for at least 40 years. Please quit alerting the rest of the world about our best kept west coast secret, lol ?

  14. Joyce Robalino says

    Love your rub! I like a bit more than the usual salt pepper garlic powder.
    I was born in Carmel, grew up in Monterey CA and was quite familiar with tritips and Santa Maria-style BBQ. I didn’t know until I moved away from California for a few years that you can rarely find them.
    My dad was from North Carolina and really know how to BBQ. We used to do huge BBQ’s for his club and where he worked. He was actually a pitmaster.
    He learned the SM style too.
    What I really like too is the Pinquitos. They are really easy to find in stores on the central coast by the pound from Hispanic grocery stores. Buy them when I pass through the area.
    Recently my neighbors went down there for a family trip and I asked them to get some. They kept going to the tourist type places and all they kept finding were the about 1lb bags with seasoning for around $7-9 a package.
    A little sleuthing on the internet and I found L.A. Hearne Co in King City who is a major grower of them. I just ordered a 10lb bag that was $16 plus ship of about $13! (You can buy a container of them about 6lbs on Amazon for $49.95! Yikes!)
    So if you want to make the whole SM BBQ experience at home you can get the beans.

  15. Janet McHenry says

    Both my sons went to Cal Poly SLO but they learned to fix tri-tip through FFA barbecues in high school. We create a dry mix of half lemon pepper and half garlic salt. Easy and yummy.

  16. darl bundren says

    Not sure exactly why but I wish chili powder were not so dominant here. it overwhelmed the other flavors for me. The rest seemed like it would have been a great rub.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you for your feedback! You can definitely cut back on the chili powder for the next round to your liking.

  17. Nicky says

    We had a dinner party last night and used this recipe for the dry rub. It was delicious and very balanced. I used smoked paprika and it gave it a nice smokey taste. Very balanced recipe with not too much salt which I really liked. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  18. Evan says

    Just made this: my wife and I are from Southern California and grew up with the locals selling tri tip at the local Ralph’s for fundraisers. This is as close to the California tri tip as you can get.

  19. Kennith says

    Thanks for the recipe it has actually become a common meal amongst bbq in my group of friends. And we use a little bit of ghost pepper salt and little extra brown sugar. Also we tend to use a Waygu tri tip for our selection

  20. Anissa Rodriguez says

    As a Santa Maria native, true tri tip is served with fresh salsa, not bbq sauce. The flavor of bbq sauce just ruins the true flavor of the meat!

  21. Matty says

    The recipe sounds great and I agree about not finding tri tips as good as in the central coast. I was born and raised there and miss it so much. As a native to the central coast and Santa Maria Tri Tip, your recipe for the spice rub is way off. Original SM Tri Tip doesn’t have paprika, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper or brown sugar. The SM seasoning is much simpler. Salt, Pepper (I use a mix or black and white), white sugar, Granulated garlic, and dried parsley, I’ve seen some use granulated onion before too. That my friend will recreate the perfect Santa Maria Tri tip and bring you back to the central coast as the flavor explodes in your mouth

    • Jessica Gavin says

      So nice to meet a central coast native! You recipe sounds delicious, I can’t wait to give it a try 🙂

  22. Tracy says

    Thank you for the recipe! I’m trying it tonight! You don’t specify sweet or smoked paprika, so I assumed sweet (regular)? Since it also has cumin though, I added a pinch of smoky paprika and it really punched up the flavor – a little goes a long way though. 😉

  23. Sam Darsie says

    A proper Santa Maria Tri-tip Barbeque includes tri tip, pinquito beans, green salad, salsa, garlic bread and macaroni & cheese – according to the Santa Maria Historical Society. The term is even copyrighted!!!

    My family is from Santa Maria and my grandfather belonged to the exclusive and selective Santa Maria Barbeque Club which hosted huge community barbeques on Sundays from April to October. He was very rigid about the recipe!

    To save some time… Pinquito bean kits with spices and tri tip seasoning mixes are available from SusieQ brand, a local business.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I really love this comment Sam, so much helpful info! That is so incredible that your grandfather was in the elite BBQ club! I definitely need to serve the tri-tip with the sides you suggested. Thank you!

  24. Terry says

    I don’t know where you ate, but this is NOT Santa Maria style! Far Western, The Hitching Post, AJ Spurs, Jockos, McClintocks, they all cook it that way. I ought to know; I grew up there, spent 40 plus years on the coast. Santa Maria style is simply salt, pepper and California style garlic seasoning the meat which is then grilled over red oak. Anything else is just tri tip!

  25. Allan says

    Hi Jessica:
    Tri tip is almost unheard of in Sydney. Found one the other day so thought I would give it a go. Used your recipe and it turned out fabulous. Was using a basic char grill bbq (no hood). It was very hot so necessary to turn a couple of times rather than just the once. Then finished it off in the oven.
    Will definitely be doing it again. Hate to admit it, but American bbq is way ahead of what we mostly do here in Oz.

  26. Trilby says

    I followed your instructions, but the roast caught fire and charred to a crisp black hue. 🙁 Where did I go wrong?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Trilby- Can you tell me about your cooking process? Did you use a gas or charcoal grill? Did you grill the first side with the lid open? There is some sugar in the spice rub, so it will char a little but shouldn’t catch fire. How did you add the oil to the grill?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Great question Halen! I would set up the charcoal grill by putting the lit charcoal onto one side of the grill, this way you have zone to do indirect grilling. I would sear the steaks for 10 minutes on each side with lid closed and then transfer to the indirect heat zone with the lid closed, cooking until the meat reaches a medium-rare doneness, about 125-130 degrees F. Let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes before you slice.

  27. Susie Q says

    Jessica – we just stumbled on your very comprehensive article on your preparation of a tri tip. It’s wonderful to see other foodies from California’s Central Coast expanding on our local culinary traditions.

    If you’d ever like some locally-grown Pinquito Beans to experiment with, just drop us a line!

  28. Aron says

    Made mine with Chipotle powder instead of Cayenne and added olive oil and a touch of red wine vinegar to make a paste, tasted amazing raw. About to fire up the grill.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Marja- Great question! I would prepare the briquettes how you would normallu, creating a medium-high heat environment. You can cook the first side for 10 minutes uncovered, and then flip to the other side and cook covered for 7 to 10 minutes. I would use a thermometer to monitor the internal temperature for doneness.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Marja- Great question! I would prepare the briquettes how you would normally, creating a medium-high heat environment. You can cook the first side for 10 minutes uncovered, and then flip to the other side and cook covered for 7 to 10 minutes. I would use a thermometer to monitor the internal temperature for doneness.

  29. audrey says

    My boyfriend and I tried this recipe and it’s EXCELLENT!! This gave me a boost of confidence on the grill. (I’m generally not good at it.) I just stumbled upon your site and read your bio. Very interesting. So excited to try your other recipes. Thanks, Jessica.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You ROCK Audrey! I’m so happy to hear that you were brave and gave the grill a try. Just a little practice and you’ll be a pro in no time. Thanks for taking the time to make the recipe! Looking forward to hearing what other recipes you try 🙂

  30. Laurie says

    I’m trying this today…trying to knock my Qin’ up a notch. Maybe I’ll try the plain s/p garlic powder version another week. Unfortunately, our local supermarket has decided it’s pretty funny to pack the tri-tip with a huge hunk of fat underneath. I wound up with only 1/2 the meat and am not sure it will be enough for our family.

  31. Jim says

    About to try this rub for the first time with a slight tweak to the recipe. I substituted one of the two TBS of paprika for smoked paprika to give the meat a little more smoke flavor. I also have a charcoal grill, so I’ll be adding some hickory chips to the coals. I can’t wait to taste it.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Rosalie! I think if you don’t have the hot spices it will still be full of flavor. Taste the rub before adding it to the tri-tip and see if you need to re-balance any of the other spices. Please let me know how it turns out 🙂

  32. Jeny says

    I’ve been cooking a lot of years and I have to tell you this is the BEST rub I’ve ever made! Thanks!

  33. Teresa says

    NOT true SM style at all. As someone mentioned, salt, pepper and garlic salt or powder. Grilled over red oak. Served only with salsa, not with bbq sauce.
    In TX we can’t get the oak, and only recently found tri tip. I grew up in Orcutt/Santa Maria. Also have to have Pinquitos, or at least pintos cooked Jockos style!

  34. Karen says

    I grew up eating Santa Maria style tri tip. When we first moved to WA State,
    They could not cut the beef like that, here, now we can get tri tip.
    It has gotten so expensive. We don’t have it as often.
    My husband and my son, both graduated from Cal Poly. I love San Luis Obispo.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You are so lucky Karen! Yes, tri-tip seems to be quite the delicacy nowadays. I love that your husband and son both attended Calpoly. What did they study? I’m hoping my son will go there someday so we can visit often 🙂 I love SLO too!

  35. Vince says

    Santa Maria tri tip is only seasond with garlic powder and pepper and BBQ on red oak not grilled and not all serve with BBQ sauce like Jackos or hitching post Shaws stake house rib line

    • Tim Hocking says

      You are absolutely correct. Garlic powder and black pepper pepper are all the spices you need for Santa Maria tri-tip. Dried parsley is a plus The use of cooking over RED Oak is the one thing that none of these recipes can replicate.
      Tim Hocking
      Righetti class of ’96 and VCA BBQ bus crew

    • Bob says

      Amen — no rub & grilled. It’s not a prime rib and is not marbled enuf for slow roasting. Ave time for rare tri-tip over hot fire = 35-40min. I’m from Santa Barbara and have been been grilling this for longer than the rest of the world has heard about. Less is always more.

      • Mind1 says

        Turned out better than the premarinated stuff from the store. I halved everything and it was plenty of rub for 2.5lb cut.

  36. Mona says

    Turned out great! Thanks for a delicious tri-tip recipe and for presenting it so nicely and clearly. I followed it and dry rub worked so well. Every now and then we tweak the spices for variety to taste and it’s definitely a favorite. Looking forward to trying out your sides 🙂

  37. Tom says

    I cooked this for my family tonight, and my family loved it. Thank you so much for sharing this great Tri-Tip recipe, along with the spicy barbecue sauce.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yay Tom! That is fantastic that your family loved the recipe, that’s my goal 🙂 The sauce is definitely the cherry on top! Thank you for giving it a try, cheers!

  38. Claudia says

    The best tri tip EVER! The entire family loves, loves, loves this and are already begging me to make it again!

  39. Cristina McCarter says

    Another dish that was out of this world delish! Summer in our home is way too hot – I can’t even think about turning on the oven so we grill all the time. I surprised Ryan with a little surf and turf on a Friday night. I served the tri tip topped with chimichurri and grilled shrimp.

    The meat was so tender and juicy, and loaded with flavor. Thanks again for all your awesome recipes. Haven’t had a bad one yet! <3

  40. Crystal says

    My husband is from Santa Maria and we definitely love tri tip! Glad to see you sharing it with those that don’t know yet!!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      What a small world Crystal! My husband and I went to Calpoly SLO so we definitely have been there a few times and enjoyed tri tip at least once a week. I’m happy to share our California central coast delicacy with others 🙂

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Jay! Give this method a try: Prepare meat with rub as instructed. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil or other cooking oil to a large, heavy ovenproof pan. On stovetop, heat on high until pan is very hot, then add tri-tip, fat side down. Turn heat to medium-high and sear roast for about 4 minutes. Turn the roast and put it in the oven. Cook it for about 10 minutes a pound, checking with an instant-read thermometer until it reaches 130 degrees for medium-rare. You can sear the meat in a pan then transfer to a sheet pan and then roast if your pan isn’t oven proof. Let me know how it goes!

  41. Sammy says

    Found this on Pinterest thank you! I lived in slo for 6 months as a nanny 10 years ago. Man I feel old! I miss Firestone so much, and everything about slo. Thanks I’m making this today!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Sammy! Isn’t SLO one of those places that just stays in your heart forever? We miss it too, it’s been too long! I’ve had plenty of ABC burgers and tri tip at Firestone, I need to visit soon. Please let me know how the recipe turned out for you 🙂

  42. Crystal says

    Unfortunately I moved away from home (CA) and then discovered tri tip is a west coast cut. I FINALLY found a nice tri tip at a local grocery store and went searching for marinade / rub ideas. We tried yours last night; DH and I actually high fived after we both took out first bites! Amazing rub on a fantastic cut of meat! Can’t wait to find another tri tip so we can grill it again just like this. Thanks for sharing it!!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You made my day Crystal! I’m so glad that you were able to find tri tip at your local grocery store, it’s perfect for grilling season. So happy that you enjoyed the flavors, high fives all around 🙂

  43. Tim says

    Fellow Cal Poly alum…my rub to attempt to replicate the delicious Firestone tri-tip sandwich is probably about the same as yours based on your ingredient list, and like you, I dry brine mine for at least 24 hours prior. However, I cook it low and slow (205 for just under 2 hours) and then do a reverse sear. Serve on Franciscan french rolls toasted and then basted with garlic butter and lots of your favorite BBQ sauce (we have found Lucille’s to be the closest to the original) and you’ll be transported back to college…now if I could only figure out how they season their fries…

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Tim- You are making me hungry! I wish I lived a little closer to SLO so I could get my fix of firestone and all of the other yummy restaurants. My husband is a big tri tip fan, and I would often order the ABC burger with those yummy fries of course! The seasoning taste a little like Tony Chachere creole seasoning, how you ever tried it? Super good on meat too. I really like your method, super tender with the slow roast and that sear to add flavor and texture at the end sounds amazing!

  44. Jen Darling says

    Jessica, Thank you so much for posting your recipe for Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip. Your recipe looked the best by far. I am grilling it tonight for our anniversary 🙂

  45. Paula says

    Have you considered drizzling some olive Oil over it after you rubbed the spice in? I have come to enjoy doing this with my meats, sometimes trading out for WORCESTERSHIRE sauce (or even blending both). Helps tenderize the meat more and adds more flavor. Just remember to watch it on the grill for the first few minutes — stepdad would burn the meat the first few times until he finally remembered the oil. But we love tri tip even more with that drizzle.

    Definitely think Ill enjoy this rub tonight though (and of course, added that drizzle). Just made and threw in fridge to settle for a bit.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Paula-
      That’s a great idea! Infuse some of those spices into the meat even more with the oil. I hope you enjoyed the recipe!

    • Ash says

      Olive oil before you do the rub and the rub will bind better you’ll still get that nice crust too