Homemade Tri-Tip Grilled Beef BBQ

It’s Tri-Tip barbecue season and instead of grilling the usual chicken, ribs or sausages, why not try one of the more under appreciated yet delicious cuts of meats, tri-tip!

I particularly enjoyed to get my tri-tip sandwiches from Firestone Grill or during thursday night’s farmer’s market from restaurants grilling on their huge BBQ pits. I decided to make some right at home


Barbecued tri-tip is said to have originated from the Central Coast, where the workers on the ranches were given these less tender cuts of meat which were thought to be flavorless. However with the proper seasoning and cooking time, cooks 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 and visitors to this beautiful coastline make sure to grab some tri-tip during their visits.

Sometimes it helps to have friends in the right places, Jason’s friend Mike just 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 slightly spicy spice rub for my Santa Maria style tri-tip recipe. I used 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. I actually seasoned the tri-tip two the three days before grilling to allow the flavors to better penetrate the meat. The high heat from the grill and sugars in the rub created a nice crust when seared on both sides, then roasted, sealing in the yummy juices from the meat. This recipe makes lots of extra dry rub so you can use it for your next tri-tip or for adding more flavor to other grilled meats. 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 you can enjoy within an hour or less of grilling!

TIP: Why is it important to “rest” meat before slicing? Isn’t it so tempting to cut into those mouth-watering pieces of meat taken right off the grill? Well, if you can have a few minutes of torturing patience, it will pay off! 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 the meat cooks, the protein chemically bonds together and some even dissolve, compressing and contracting during the exposure to heat. The contractions forces 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 of the meat 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 myofribrils and fill in the spaces of the dissolved protein. The result is a less dry, juicer and more tender piece of meat! For a 2 to 3 pound tri-tip roast, 15 minutes is a good resting time.
Prep time: 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour 30 mins
Serves: 6 servings
A quick and delicious Santa Maria style tri-tip recipe perfect for barbecue season! A smoky, sweet and spicy spice rub makes this tri-tip even more flavorful.

3 pounds trip-tip, silver skin and fat removed

Dry Rub- (1/2 cup)

⅛ cup paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper