If you are a meat lover and a fan of good barbecue, then you probably have heard of Santa Maria Tri Tip. It is a popular dish originating from the central coast of California, primarily Santa Maria, and is now considered a West Coast BBQ classic. Santa Maria Tri Tip is often seasoned with a simple rub of salt, pepper, and garlic and then grilled over an open fire to perfection. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about Santa Maria Tri Tip.
What is Santa Maria Tri Tip?
Tri Tip is a triangular or boomerang-shaped cut of beef from the lower part of the sirloin. It is also known as Santa Maria Steak, Triangle Steak, or California Cut. Historically, it was considered a less valuable cut of meat, but over time, it gained popularity, especially in California.
The story goes that in the early 1950s, some Santa Maria butchers wanted to promote this cut of meat, so they started cooking it over red oak wood. The smoke from the oak wood imparts a distinct flavor, making it delicious and more desirable. The dish was traditionally served with beans, salad, garlic bread or breadsticks, and salsa.
How to Cook Santa Maria Tri Tip?
The process of cooking Santa Maria Tri Tip is quite simple, and you don’t need to be an expert in grilling to make it. Here are the steps:
1. Season the Meat – Mix equal parts salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and then liberally season the Tri Tip.
2. Prepare the grill – Traditional Santa Maria style involves cooking over red oak wood. However, you can use mesquite, hickory, or any hardwood that imparts a smoky flavor. Make sure your grill grates are clean and oiled.
3. Cook the meat – Grill the Tri Tip directly over the fire, around 10-15 minutes per side. You can also turn the meat frequently and use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. The ideal temperature should be around 130-135°F for medium-rare.
4. Rest the Meat – After removing it from the grill, let it rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting.
5. Serve – Slice against the grain and serve with traditional Santa Maria sides like beans, salad, garlic bread, and salsa.
Variations of Santa Maria Tri Tip
Here are some different ways to cook or serve Santa Maria Tri Tip:
1. Reverse Sear – This method involves cooking the meat slowly at a low temperature, then searing it over high heat to finish. This process can make the meat even more tender and flavorful.
2. Marinade – Some people like to marinate their Tri Tip before grilling to add more flavor. Common marinades include soy sauce, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and red wine.
3. Tacos – Cut the meat into smaller pieces and use them as the filling of your favorite tacos.
Concluding Thoughts on Santa Maria Tri Tip
Santa Maria Tri Tip is an excellent option for those who want to enjoy a juicy, flavorful piece of meat without spending a lot of money. The simplicity and ease of cooking this cut make it an ideal choice for a weeknight meal or a weekend cookout with friends and family. Once you have tried it, you’ll understand why it has become a West Coast BBQ classic.
FAQs about Santa Maria Tri Tip
What is the Origin of Santa Maria Tri Tip?
Santa Maria Tri Tip originated from the central coast of California in the 1950s.
What type of meat is Tri Tip?
Tri Tip is a triangular or boomerang-shaped cut of beef from the lower part of the sirloin.
What is the traditional seasoning for Santa Maria Tri Tip?
The traditional seasoning for Santa Maria Tri Tip is a simple mixture of salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Can I grill Santa Maria Tri Tip on a gas grill?
Yes, you can grill Santa Maria Tri Tip on a gas grill, but to get the traditional smoky flavor, you need to use wood chips or a smoker box.
What can I serve with Santa Maria Tri Tip?
Traditionally, Santa Maria Tri Tip is served with beans, salad, garlic bread, or breadsticks, and salsa. However, you can also serve it with other sides like grilled vegetables, mashed potatoes, or coleslaw.
In conclusion, Santa Maria Tri Tip is an easy but delicious dish that is sure to impress your family and friends. Whether you are an experienced grill master or a beginner, trying this West Coast BBQ classic is a must. Hopefully, this guide has given you all the information you need to prepare and enjoy Santa Maria Tri Tip at home.