Smoked Tri-Tip with Pico De Gallo

I was on a cruise with my wife’s family and we stopped in Santa Barbara, California.  We were walking around the “Funk Zone” and found a place we contemplated renting little two person “vehicles” from.  We figured it would be better to eat first so we asked the guy there where a good spot to eat was.  Without thought he pointed to the next road over and said:  “Go to Shalhoob Meat Company.  You won’t be sorry!”  So that is what we did!

My wife ordered the burger (which is usually what I do), but the Tri-tip sandwich was calling my name. One thing that I didn’t realize the tri-tip sandwich would have on it is pico de gallo.  To me, that’s not a good fit. So if I had known it prior to ordering it I could’ve made a horrible mistake.  Well I didn’t and it was DELICIOUS!  Neither of us was disappointed one bit.  In fact we are now trying to plan another trip to Santa Barbara so that we can eat there again.

Ever since we got back from our vacation I’ve thought about trying to recreate the sandwich. Well I finally tried and I’m now fully convinced that Pico de Gallo belongs on everything Tri-tip!  I found a recipe on a website called “Bush Cooking.”  I did change a few things and techniques to work with my equipment so you can compare the two and see which you prefer.  But I wanted to give a HUGE shout out to them for getting me mostly there!

Below is what I did and I’ll do it very similarly in the future without changing much:


Smoked Tri-Tip with Pico De Gallo

Category: Beef, Rub

Smoked Tri-Tip with Pico De Gallo


  • For the Tri-Tip Rub
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • For the Pico de Gallo
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes (halved)
  • Italian dressing
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 onion cut into quarters


  1. Take ingredients for the Tri-tip rub, mix together and rub over the Tri-tip at least 2 hours prior to cooking.
  2. Take the tomatoes and marinade with the italian dressing for an hour.
  3. After the hour is up, remove the tomatoes from the dressing and place on Green Mountain Grill or similar pellet smoker along with the onion. Smoke for a minimum of 1 hour and then remove.
  4. Place Tri-tip on your pellet grill and cook as you normally would. I prefer to pull it at 100 degrees internal and wrap, while cranking up my grill to reverse sear. Once my grill is at temperature i'll unwrap and place on the grill until it hits 130 degrees internal and then I'll remove again, wrap in foil and let it rest for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  5. As the Tri-tip is cooking, slice up the tomatoes, onions and parsley and mix.
  6. After the Tri-tip is ready, slice and pour the Pico de Gallo on the top and serve (optional to add bread for sandwiches)

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