If you've never experienced the flavor of a smoked Santa Maria tri tip roast, it's high time you did! Originating in 1800's California, this style of cooking beef tri tip roasts has continued in popularity, and for good reason. Simply seasoned and kissed with smoke from an oak fire, the flavor is incredible!
A tri tip is a cut of beef taken from the bottom sirloin of the steer. A layer of fat covers one side of the roast. Weighing approximately 2 pounds, it's the perfect size for the smoker. It's a great piece of meat whether it's cooked to rare or to medium doneness, so it doesn't take a long time to finish.
The Santa Maria method of cooking a tri tip consists of grilling the beef, seasoned simply with salt, pepper and garlic, over an open bed of oak coals. Traditionally served alongside beans, a green salad and toasted French bread, this dish has been enjoyed for many years.
To make a smoked Santa Maria tri tip, adjust your smoker to a higher temperature than you'd use for low-and-slow barbecuing. Use red oak wood chips or chunks to add the great smoky flavor.
To smoke my latest tri tip, I used my newest meat smoker, a Char-Broil gas smoker. It works well, reaching the higher temperate needed for this recipe easily, although I had to devise a wind break to block the gusts of wind here in the Arizona desert!
The actual cooking time for my roast was right at 2.5 hours, and it was cooked to a 130° internal temperature - just between rare and medium rare. The flavor was great, as was the texture. There were a couple of chewy spots in the roast, but overall it was tender, juicy and flavorful.
Another one of these roasts is hanging out in my freezer, so I predict that I will be enjoying a smoked Santa Maria tri tip again in the near future!