Santa Maria Tri-Tip

Living in central California, one of the cuts of meat I have cooked the most is the Tri-tip.  I had actually never heard of Tri-tip until I moved to this area. It wasn’t a thing where I lived the first 13 years of my life even though I grew up around cows and a freezer full of beef.

Oddly enough, even though I cook it often, I never once had “Santa Maria” style Tri-tip which apparently is the style that made it famous.  And I have to say, I’ve been missing out!

I’ve done rubs and marinades of all sorts. Over time, I’ve dropped marinades from my Tri-tip options because I feel like the meat is such a good tasting cut that it just doesn’t need the marinade.

I came across a few recipes to get an idea of what types of flavors are involved here and came up with a rub myself. Here is the final version that is oh so tasty!

Santa Maria Tri-Tip

Category: Beef, Recipe, Rub

Santa Maria Tri-Tip


  • 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 Tbsp finely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry sage
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne


  1. Mix all the ingredients into a bowl. After patting down the tri-tip, rub liberally with all of the ingredients.
  2. Let it sit for 1-2 hour.
  3. First warm up whatever you use to sear your meat.
  4. Sear all sides of the Tri-tip.
  5. Once seared, place the Tri-tip on your pellet grill at 225 and cook until the internal temperature reaches 130-135 (depending on your doneness preference) and cover for 15-30 minutes.
  6. Slice and serve.

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