History of the Tri Tip Beef Cut

The tri-tip beef cut, a cornerstone of Santa Maria Style Barbecue, boasts a rich history intertwined with California's culinary evolution. Its journey from an overlooked piece of meat to a barbecue sensation is a tale of flavor discovery and innovation.

In the 1950s, the tri-tip cut was a relatively unknown entity in the world of American cuisine. This all changed when Clarence Minetti, Susan Righetti's father and the co-founder of the esteemed Far Western Tavern restaurant, was introduced to the tri-tip by Bob Schutz of the Santa Maria Market. Schutz, who is now widely acknowledged for popularizing this cut, saw potential in what was then considered a cut merely fit for stew meat or ground beef.

The tri-tip, deriving its name from its distinctive triangular shape, is a tender and flavorful cut from the top sirloin. Its rise to fame within the Santa Maria Valley, and subsequently throughout California's Central Coast, is a testament to its unique texture and robust flavors. While this cut is now a staple of family barbecues and a highlight of the region's culinary offerings, it remains less known in other parts of the United States, with many butchers outside of California still unfamiliar with its potential.

How to Prepare and Season Tri-Tip Steaks

For those seeking to master the art of preparing and seasoning tri-tip steaks, the key lies in understanding its unique characteristics. As a lean cut, tri-tip benefits from careful cooking to maintain its moisture and tenderness. Grilling or smoking are preferred methods, capturing the essence of authentic Santa Maria Barbecue.

Seasoning is critical in elevating the natural flavors of tri-tip. A blend of salt, pepper, garlic, and other herbs complements its rich beefy taste. Our Santa Maria Seasoning, specially crafted for tri-tip, offers a harmonious blend of spices that adhere to traditional Santa Maria Barbecue flavors. It's designed to enhance, not overpower, the natural savoriness of the meat.

Cooking Tips for the Perfect Tri-Tip

  • Temperature Control: Cook your tri-tip over medium-high heat. If using a grill, let one side remain cooler for indirect cooking.
  • Rest Before Cutting: After cooking, let the tri-tip rest for several minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a moist and flavorful steak.
  • Slice Against the Grain: For maximum tenderness, slice the tri-tip against the grain. This technique cuts through the muscle fibers, making the meat more tender.

Tri-tip's journey from an under appreciated cut to a barbecue star is a story of culinary rediscovery. Embracing the methods and flavors of Santa Maria Style Barbecue, we invite you to explore the rich and savory world of tri-tip. Whether you're a seasoned grill master or a newcomer to the art of barbecue, our Santa Maria Seasoning is your gateway to experiencing the authentic taste of California's Central Coast.


1 of 4