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Santa Maria Tri Tip

One of my favorite ways to feed a crowd is with a giant platter of tri-tip. It doesn’t take much to prep and it’s always delicious.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Resting Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 5 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 -6 servings
Author: Gaby


For the Tri Tip

  • 1 whole tri-tip about 2 pounds
  • 4 tablespoons rub see below

For the Rub

  • 2 tablespoons finely ground coffee
  • 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the Salad

  • 2 pounds heirloom tomatoes 5–6, sliced into ¼"-thick rounds
  • 6 Persian cucumbers sliced into ¼"-thick rounds
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • Red wine vinegar for serving
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • Trim silver skin off the trip tip but leave some of the fat.
  • Massage the meat with the rub until fully covered and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • Prepare a charcoal grill or gas grill to high. Place tri-tip on grill and sear one side well, 6 to 7 minutes making sure it doesn’t burn. Rotate the tri-tip and sear other side for about the same time. Reduce heat to medium-high or move the meat to a part of the grill that’s not over direct flames. Turn meat again and cook another 8 to 10 minutes. Flip and cook again for an additional 5-6 minutes. A 2-pound roast will need about 20 to 25 minutes total cooking time. Cook until an instant read thermometer reads 120°F for a rare roast, 130°F for medium-rare and 140°F for medium.
  • Remove from the grill, let rest on a cutting board 30 minutes for the juice to redistribute and for it to slightly cool.
  • Arrange tomato slices, cucumber slices, and basil along a serving board. Drizzle tomatoes and cucumbers very lightly with vinegar. Drizzle oil over everything and season liberally with sea salt and ground pepper To serve, slice against the grain. Serve next to tomatoes and cucumbers.