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Need recipe for "Santa Maria BBQ"

c
chriscinfl Jul 7, 2006 12:59 AM

When I was a kid, this was a staple at my dad's corporate picnic. I remember it having a ton of flavor and I would love to make it for my husband. What is the best cut of meat to use and what is the seasoning blend?

TIA!
Chris

  1. toodie jane Jul 7, 2006 01:07 AM

    Whole top block is the cut that was used by the original men's club that started the SMSBBQ. Later, tri-tip of beef was used and is what most backyard BBQ'rs use today. A simple S&P rub works just fine, perhaps with a touch of garlic. No fancy rubs needed for SMSBBQ, though tri-tip takes well to all types of rubs and marinades. It's a very flavorful cut with lots of marbeling. Cook it fast over med-hot heat, or slow-roast indirectly in a covered bbq a about 225.

    Let us have a report of your adventures, please!

    1. krissywats Jul 7, 2006 03:28 PM

      My father's corporate picnics where also heavily laden with Santa Maria BBQ (Vandenburg AFB - my birthplace!) - I don't know about the cuts of meat but I was finally able to get the 'secret' recipe for the rub:

      equal parts: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and sugar

      Sugar is ESSENTIAL and makes a huge difference in the juiciness of the meat. I make steaks and burgers alike with this shaken over the top and it never fails to deliver super juicy meat.

      1 Reply
      1. re: krissywats
        t
        Tom Hall Jul 7, 2006 04:34 PM

        Sugar is my secret ingredient for tri-tip rub, too. I figured that out about 12 years or so ago. Makes the rub work for some reason.

      2. adamclyde Jul 7, 2006 03:30 PM

        Agree... tri tip is really the best cut for santa maria bbq. LA times a year ago did a great, extremely simple recipe. I think it was 6 cloves garlic, 4 tsp salt, TB fresh ground pepper. Whiz it in a processor and slowly add 1/4 cup olive oil. rub that on the tri tip 30 minutes before grilling.

        Wen I cook it, I cook it at a pretty high temperature. I sear it well over very high heat, then move it to the indirect side of the grill until it reaches between 125 and 130 (if cooked at a high temp, it will continue to raise another 5 degrees or so).

        I think the traditional is to use oak wood for flavoring (red oak at that). But, honestly, any good smoke wood would work. My favorite are fruit woods like apple or cherry, or nut trees like hickory, oak or pecan.

        1. p
          petradish Jul 7, 2006 04:48 PM

          Here are a couple pics from last year using the slow and low, uncovered method for tri tip-about 1.25 hrs on the grill. It produces very tender and flavorful meat when the cap and veins of fat are allowed to soften and melt into the beef. We do a basic salt, pepper, and garlic rub like toodie jane mentioned, and of course a smoky essence from wood is a delicious component.

          http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=c...

          1. b
            Biggie Jul 7, 2006 06:22 PM

            is there another name for tri-tip? I can't seem to find that cut locally (MA)

            1 Reply
            1. re: Biggie
              adamclyde Jul 7, 2006 09:52 PM

              the only place you'll find it in MA labeled as tri tip is at a Trader Joes. Hopefully you have one nearby. Otherwise, you'll be met with blank looks if you ask your butcher.

              It's cut from the bottom sirloin cut. Here's a brief description from wikipedia...

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tri-tip

            2. d
              dano Jul 7, 2006 06:25 PM

              bottom sirloin butt iirc....

              1. j
                JPomer Jul 7, 2006 06:33 PM

                Sometime last summer the LA Times published the recipe for Santa Maria style barbecue:
                You might get it on line
                The rub is salt, pepper, olive oil and lots of garlic
                The meat is tri-tip
                You make a paste with the s/p, olive oil and garlic, rub it all over and seal in a plastic bag for several hours.
                Build a fire in your grill (preferably with hard wood charcoal and use chips - hickory I think)
                Sear the meat on both sides, then move to cool side of grill and, depending on size of the tri-tip, cook covered grill, for about 25-30 minutes, to 135 degrees, I think, for medium.

                The Times also gave recipies for the traditional sides, Pinto beans and Salsa.

                1 Reply
                1. re: JPomer
                  j
                  Janet Fritz Feb 25, 2007 03:13 PM

                  Jpomer. The wood used for a Santa Maria Bar B Q is OAK, and not just any old oak, red oak. You build a fire with red oak, and let it burn down to a beautiful bed of red coals...NO chips needed. Never seen anyone ever make a paste, although they could. The beans are NOT pinto! They are Santa Maria pinks. For years these beans were only grown in the Santa Maria Valley. Even now you will probably not find them on most store shelves out of the state of CA.

                2. yayadave Jul 7, 2006 07:04 PM

                  This purports to be the real deal from Susie Q. They now market the "Original" Santa Rosa BBQ.

                  http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/cda/r...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: yayadave
                    j
                    Janet Fritz Feb 25, 2007 03:19 PM

                    An authentic Santa Maria Bar B Q is not done with a RIB ROAST! You either use tri-tip or whole sirloin. I'm surprised that Susi Q's would say rib roast.

                    1. re: yayadave
                      c
                      coconutz Feb 25, 2007 03:23 PM

                      I have a container of the Susie Q Santa Maria Seasoning in the cubbord and there is no sugar in the mix. Just Garlic, Salt, Parsley and Pepper.

                    2. c
                      chriscinfl Jul 8, 2006 07:38 PM

                      Thanks so much everyone! Krissywats, I'll bet that is the exact recipe since a lot of people from Vandenburg ended up at NASA/Kennedy Space Center which is where my dad's picnics were. Thanks again everyone! I'm going to try this during the week.

                      1. Snackish Jul 10, 2006 08:39 PM

                        And you need the pinquito beans to go with, as well as salsa made with canned Ortega chiles and some really buttery garlic bread.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Snackish
                          j
                          Janet Fritz Feb 25, 2007 03:23 PM

                          And a salad! Lived in Santa Maria for over 30 years...they also Bar B Q all up and down the streets in Santa Maria.
                          I recently moved to FL. will start a new thing down here maybe..Most Bar B Q's down here are what we would call SMOKED!

                          1. re: Janet Fritz
                            z
                            zebcook Feb 26, 2007 06:13 PM

                            Lol, most BBQ in California are what folks in the South would call grilled.

                        2. scarmoza Feb 25, 2007 04:14 PM

                          I'm of that camp that believes it takes red oak to give it that true Santa Maria taste. And, a simple rub of salt, ground (dried) garlic or garlic powder, and ground black pepper does it just right for me.

                          1. MsMaryMc Feb 26, 2007 11:44 AM

                            I used to live in Santa Barbara, where I got hooked on the whole Santa Maria Tri-Tip extravaganza. After I moved away I got to jonesin' for it, so I hunted around online and combined a few recipes and experimented and came up with these: recipes for the spice rub and basting sauce for the tri-tip, plus pinquito beans and salsa to serve on the side.

                            http://www.casagordita.com/tritip.htm

                            (I've found pinquito beans at a couple of Latino markets in Seattle. You can also order them from http://www.ranchogordo.com .)

                            1. bkhuna Feb 26, 2007 06:19 PM

                              Try this link.

                              http://www.santamaria.com/visit/secti...

                              I live in Merritt Island, FL, and you should see the pathetic tri-tips you get around here. All the good folks out west are fortunate to get decent cuts of tri-tip. Oh well, we've got, uh, hmm, hmm, well, something on them I'm sure.

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