Santa Maria-Style Grilled Tri-Tip – Sizzling Summer Series

Summer is upon us with wonderful weather and longer days providing ample opportunity for grilling traditional favorites and trying dishes that take a little longer. Here at Summerset Grills, we want to provide a large sample of exciting ideas for summer grilling, and we are calling it the Sizzling Summer Series. To get things sizzling, we begin with Santa Maria-Style Grilled Tri Tip – juicy, tender, and bursting with flavor. Cooked over red oak and served with pinquito beans, the Santa Maria style became popular in the 1950’s and has practically become synonymous with grilled tri tip.

Tri tip is a triangular shaped cut of beef from the bottom sirloin, usually 1½ to 2 inches thick, preferably with some fat left on one side for flavor. The cut, texture, and taste is amazing and only requires a simple rub of garlic powder, salt, pepper, and parsley. The meat is grilled over a medium fire with red oak chips or chunks to get the characteristic smoky flavor and color. After browning each side, the remainder of the cooking will be with indirect heat and smoke until a thermometer reads 130 degrees, and then let rest for at least 15 minutes. Santa Maria-Style Tri Tip is incredibly tender and can be served sliced into strips with pinquito beans, or chopped and placed on French rolls or in tortillas. So invite your friends and family, fill the ice chest with your favorite drinks, and get your summer grillin’ on with the Sizzling Summer Series.

Servings: 8

Santa Maria-Style Grilled Tri-Tip Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 beef tri-tip (2 to 2 1/2 pounds), preferably with some fat on one side

Pinquito beans:

  • 1 lb pinquito beans or 1 lb pinto beans, dried
  • 2 slices bacon, diced
  • 1⁄2 cup diced ham
  • 1⁄2onion
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 3⁄4 cup tomato puree
  • 1⁄4 cup red chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

Santa Maria-Style Grilled Tri-Tip Directions

  1. In small bowl, mix garlic powder, salt, pepper and parsley; rub well into meat. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, soak 2 cups red oak chips in water for at least 20 minutes (optional). Prepare a medium-size fire on one side of a charcoal or gas grill. Add chips to fire, if using. Set tri-tip over fire, fat side up (with a gas grill, close lid), and brown well, 3 to 5 minutes; turn over and brown other side.
  3. Move meat over area of the grill without fire, cover, and turn every 10 minutes or so, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 125 to 130 degrees, 25 to 35 minutes.
  4. Place meat on cutting board to rest at least 15 minutes. Slice across the grain.

Pinquito beans:

  1. Pick over beans to remove dirt and small stones, cover with water and let soak overnight in a large container.
  2. Drain, cover with fresh water, and simmer 2 hours, or until tender (pintos may need longer).
  3. Sauté bacon and ham until lightly browned; add to beans.
  4. Sauté onions in bacon fat until lightly browned.
  5. Add garlic and sauté a minute or two longer.
  6. Add tomato puree, chili sauce, sugar, mustard, and salt.
  7. Drain most of liquid off beans and stir in sauce. Keep warm on low heat until ready to serve.

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