BBQ Tri Tip Recipe

The secret to real West Coast bbq tri tip is that it's grilled over the glowing remains of an oak fire. The smoldering oak coals give the tri tip a light smoky flavor that can't be duplicate with plain charcoal.

To do this right, you'll need dry, cured oak and some charcoal. Light a chimney full of charcoal and dump it into your kettle grill. when it's at its hottest, pile on several sticks of oak. Let them flame up and burn, then when the flames die, you'll be left with a nice pile of oak coals.

Position the cooking grate into place and start grilling your already seasoned tri tips. Here's what you seasoned them with.

Santa Maria BBQ Tri Tip Rub


  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

Combine well in a small mixing bowl. Rub 1 tablespoon of the dry rub mix into each side of a 3 to 4 pound tri tip roast. Place over the oak coals, turning often to prevent juices from flaring and flaming.

Baste often too, with a mixture of...

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Continue grilling the tri tip roast until it's done to your liking. My preference is medium rare, which has just a bit of pink throughout. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing across the grain to serve.