can hear the crackling fire of oak and chunk charcoal right now as we get set for the 4th of July weekend BBQ’s! Santa Maria Tri-Tip is the staple of Northern California barbecue. Happy 4th of July to you and yours!
Santa Maria Tri-Tip with Pinquito Bean Relish
Santa Maria Rub: (enough for a 4-pound roast)
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 Tbsp finely ground black pepper
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 teaspoon dry rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dry sage
Mix the rub ingredients together in a bowl.
Place the roast in a roasting pan or a baking pan with edges (this will help keep the rub from getting all over the floor).
Sprinkle the rub on the meat on all sides, and massage the rub into the meat.
Cover the roast with foil or plastic wrap and let it sit at room temp for an hour to take the chill off and allow the rub to work its magic on the roast.
Prepare your grill for hot direct heat on one side, and indirect heat on the other. If you are working with a wood-fired grill, Santa Maria BBQ traditionally uses red oak wood. If you are using a smoker, use oak or red oak chips or pellets.
Sear the roast on all sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Carefully watch the roast as it can easily flare up and burn. Don’t walk away from it during searing and move it away from flame as needed.
Once the tri-tip is seared on all sides, move it away from direct heat and place it fat-side up on the grill rack.
If you are using a gas grill with a top rack, I recommend placing the roast on that rack, with an aluminum tray on the bottom rack underneath to catch the fat drippings.
If you are grilling on charcoal or wood, you may want to turn the roast over every few minutes, for more even heating. Try to maintain a grill temperature of 250°F to 300°F.
If you are using a smoker, keep the temperature at 250 and smoke for 2-3 hours or until the temperature of the roast reaches your desired doneness. See temps below. Use a digital, probe thermometer for reading the temps.
Cover the grill and cook until the temperature of the tri-tip reaches 120°F for a rare roast, 130°F for medium-rare and 140°F for medium.
At this point the meat will take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes to cook, depending on how hot your grill is, how well done you want it, and the size of the cut. Remember, the interior temperature will continue to rise at least 5°F after you take the roast off the heat.
Once the roast reaches temperature, remove it from the grill and let it rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10-15 minutes. Slice across the grain to serve. Serve with the bean relish and garlic bread.
Santa Maria Pinquito Bean Relish:
8 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 poblano chile, finely diced
1 medium red onion, finely diced
2 cans pinquito or pinto beans, drained and rinsed twice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, for garnishing
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until golden brown and the fat has rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.
Add the poblano and onions to the bacon fat in the pan and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the beans and bacon and cook until warmed through. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put into a serving bowl and top with cilantro leaves.