Smoked Santa Maria Tri Tip

When your family asks you to smoke a tri tip for Super Bowl, you make them one that will earn you the MVP . I love making a Santa Maria Tri Tip in the oven, and this is the first one I’ve cooked one my pellet smoker. I was a little concerned about the smoked flavor overwhelming and changing the Santa Maria dry rub seasonings, but honestly this was THE BEST version of tri tip I have ever cooked. There was so much flavor and the smoke absolutely complemented the seasoning really well. I’m not sure I will ever want to cook this in my oven again.


2 lbs Tri Tip

1 tbsp sea salt

1 tbsp black pepper

1 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp fresh rosemary minced

1/2 tbsp dried rosemary

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper


For the Santa Maria seasoning mix all ingredients except the fresh rosemary.

Make sure that your tri tip is trim of most excess fat and dry. Place on a tray, then generously rub both sides of the tri tip first with the fresh rosemary, then with the Santa Maria seasonings. Cover with plastic wrap and place back in the refrigerator for at least 2-24 hours.

Preheat the smoker to 225°. Make sure to spritz the meat every 30 minutes. For my meat spritzer I like to use is apple cider vinegar with a 50/50 mix of water works well. It is important to spritz the meat every 30 minutes to prevent it from drying out. It also adds a coating that allows the smoke to travel over the meat and stick to it. It does not change the flavor of the meat at all.

Cook to an internal temperature of 145°, which is about 2 hours.

Once done place on baking pan, the use a torch to create a nice bark on the top of the tri tip.

Cover meat with foil and let rest for 10-15 mins. When ready to serve, transfer to cutting board and make sure to slice against the grain. Keep in mind with a tri tip the grains run in two different directions. So start at the thinnest tip slice half way, then turn 45° to the next tip and continue slicing. You know you are doing it wrong if you see lines which means you going with the grain, this will make the meat chewy.

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