Beef/Veal/ Entree

Santa Maria-Style Tri Tip with Salsa

Just in time for your Labor Day cookout.

Have you ever come across a beef tri-tip in the market and didn’t know what to do with it? I have to admit I don’t think I have ever heard of it (or don’t remember) until last year and my son, Scott who lives in Chicago mentioned buying one and after seeing how juicy and delicious his looked I was then on the lookout for that particular cut of meat.

Then back at Easter, son, Paul cooked one for a house full of Sunday brunch guest. He served his as an appetizer to his pulled pork he had cooking on the grill. I got to taste his and it was juicy, medium rare and tasted like a great piece of steak.

Santa Maria-Style barbecue is a culinary tradition rooted in the Santa Maria Valley in Santa Barbara County (this from Wikipedia) and dates back to the 19th century and centers around the beef tri-tip, seasoned and grilled over coals. Read the above link for more information.

What did I serve with my tri-tip? I made a squash and potato gratin casserole and my Almond Slaw with Edamame and for an appetizer this Honey and Goat Cheese with Pistachios and lavash crackers. Dessert was Blueberry Lavender Ice Cream with Coconut Cookies.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: If you’ve never had French Fried Beets you just have to try mine. I got the inspiration to do these from Paul Qui from East Side Kings in Austin.


Ingredients for the Santa Maria-Style Salsa.


I charred the poblano pepper over my gas burner.


Chop all the ingredients.


Mix all the ingredients together with the oil, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar.


Put in bowl and chill until ready to serve the meat.


Seasoning for the tri-tip.


Season both sides of the tri-tip with the seasoning mixture.


Grill ready.


Grilled and ready to slice.


This is my chimichurri sauce; you can use any recipe you want for this.

Tri Tip with Santa Maria-Style Salsa
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Tri Tip
  1. 1 2-3 lb. tri tip
  2. 5 tsp. sea salt
  3. 2 tsp. black pepper
  4. 2 tsp. white pepper
  5. 3 tsp. granulated garlic
  6. 1 tsp. dried parsley
  7. 1 tsp. onion powder
  8. 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
For Salsa
  1. 2 large ripe tomatoes, diced (about 2 1/2 cups total)
  2. 1 stalk celery, peeled and diced (about 1/2 cup)
  3. 4 scallions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  4. 1 fresh California green chili (Poblano or Hatch can be substituted), diced (about 1/2 cup)
  5. 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  6. 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  7. 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  8. 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  9. Kosher salt
  1. Put the poblano pepper over gas flame or under broiler and cook until blackened. Put pepper in paper back and let steam for about 10 minutes then scrape off skin and chop.
  2. Combine tomatoes, celery, scallions, chili, cilantro, garlic, vinegar, and Worcestershire in a medium bowl and toss. Season to taste with salt. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Serve. Refrigerate leftovers in a sealed container for up to 5 days.
  3. For the tri-tip: Trip some of the fat off, but not all. Use vegetable oil and lightly oil the outside of the tri-tip. Mix all the seasoning together and coat all sides of the beef. Let set for about an hour with the spices on.
  4. Have grill ready and cook the meat until it reaches about 135° (medium rare). Remove from grill, let rest about 10 minutes then slice cross grain. Serve with the santa maria-style salsa.
Adapted from Salsa from Serious Eats Blog
Rosemary and the Goat

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