Santa Maria Style American Wagyu Beef Tri-Tip on a Grill

Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip Recipe


Whenever in the Santa Barbara, California area our go-to is the Hitching Post II where you can get the original Santa Maria prepared Tri Tip Platter or Sandwich that is true western Americana BBQ! We have our own take starting with not just any tri-tip but an American Wagyu Tri Tip. When the meat is this good the perfect char will produce a Saturday evening well remembered whether in the ravines near Santa Maria or your own backyard.

Traditionally, Santa Maria style Tri-Tip is served cut on the bias against grain medium rare with a good char. The main attraction is typically eaten on a crusty hoagie roll or alongside pinto beans cooked with onions, garlic, and a jalapeño, garnished with tomato salsa and thin sliced red onions.

Yield: 8 Servings


Prep: 2 Hours 15 Minutes
Cook: 60 Minutes

1 2.5-3 LBS Cross Creek Ranch Premium Meats American or Full Blood Wagyu Tri-Tip

For the Rub
1 Tablespoon granulated garlic
1 Tablespoon granulated onion powder
1 Tablespoon Sweet Smoked Paprika
3 Tablespoons kosher Salt or Mesquite Smoked Salt
¼Teaspoon ground celery salt
1 Teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
½Teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼Teaspoon chipotle pepper
1 Teaspoon New Mexico chili pepper

For the Bath 
¼ Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 Medium red onion sliced in rounds
1 Tablespoon Black pepper
3 Cups Beef Bone Stock
2 Tablespoons Worchester Sauce
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
5 mashed Cloves of garlic

For the Basting (during grilling) 
1 Cup Apple Juice
1 Cup Bone Broth (Beef Stock can be substituted)


(Read through all instructions, as timing in preparation may differ under your cooking conditions)

    1. Heat up smoker, gas grill, or charcoal/wood grill to 400-450°
    2. Thaw meat if frozen, then let sit out till it hits room temperature.  Trim any fat, should you feel it is needed, but the fat will only add flavor from an American Wagyu cut.
    3. Mix all of the ingredients for the rub and set aside.
    4. Mix all ingredients for the Bath, set Tri-Tip in Bath, making sure it is completely submerged, and set in a refrigerated area for 2 hours
    5. Remove Tri-Tip from Bath and dry completely with a paper towel. Drying may take several attempts, as the meat will sweat as it dries.
    6. Once the meat is back to room temperature, generously rub the Tri-Tip with the seasoned rub listed above, and let sit for another 30 to 60 minutes.
    7. Prepare basting ingredients.  We find it easiest to use if mixed in a spray bottle, so the liquids can be easily and quickly added to the meat when it is on the grill.
    8. Prior to grilling make sure your temperature is within the set range and make sure grates have been oiled
    9. Place the Tri-tip on the grill/smoker and char each side for 2 to 3 minutes.
    10. Remove from direct flame and continue to cook uncovered. 
    11. When your thickest section of meat hits 130°, flip and spray with basting juices, then spray the top side of the meat again.
    12. Continue to baste/spray, every 5 to 8 minutes for the next 30 minutes.
    13. Remove meat from heat and wrap it in foil and allow it to rest for an additional 15 minutes.
    14. Cut into thin slices, going against the grain
    15. Enjoy
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