Santa Maria Tri-Tip Sandwich

  • Active Time 45m
  • Total Time 3h 50m
  • Rating ****

Makes 6 servings

Santa Maria, California, is home to the Barbecue Hall of Fame and a passionate band of grillers who have perfected the art of cooking a relatively unknown but unbelievably delicious cut of meat. Also known as "bottom sirloin butt," tri-tip should be grilled no more than medium-rare, then cut into thin slices and served on French bread.


  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup steak sauce
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coffee
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Rub:
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds tri-tip beef, about 1 1/2 inches thick
  • 12 slices French bread
  • Oak, mesquite, or hickory chips soaked in water for at least 30 minutes


TO MAKE THE BARBEQUE SAUCE: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, ketchup, steak sauce, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, ground coffee, and black pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes. Puree the sauce in a food processor or blender. Allow to cool, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Bring to room temperature before serving.

TO MAKE THE DRY RUB: In a small bowl, mix together the black pepper, garlic salt, mustard, paprika, and cayenne. Press the mixture into the surface of the tri-tip, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 3 hours or as long as 24 hours.

Follow the grill's instructions for using wood chips. Sear the tri-tip directly over medium heat, turning once, until both sides are seared, about 5 minutes total. Then grill the tri-tip indirectly over medium heat, turning once, until the internal temperature is about 140 degrees F for medium-rare, 20 to 30 minutes more. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing thinly on the diagonal against the grain.

Build each sandwich with slices of meat and a dollop of sauce. Serve warm or at room temperature.

WINE NOTES: Look for a wine with lots of fruit and a bit of acid for balance: a Rhone-style blend from the home of the tri-tip, California's Central Coast.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Chronicle. All rights reserved.

RecID 1561

nutrition information per serving

460 calories; 13g total fat; 122mg cholesterol; 1323mg sodium; 34g carbohydrates; 3g fiber; 49g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

Sign Up for Newsletters Here

Delicious recipes, easy meal ideas and holiday inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.