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I have a Santa Maria grill on the way. I’ve watched a few video recipes but find them lacking the detail I require for my first few cooks. Where can I find a primer to provide an introduction to Santa Maria grilling? I’m interested in– Do I grill over flame or glowing coals? What should the grate temperature be for searing? (A function of fire size and grate elevation.) What should the grate temperature be for grilling? Anything additional that a novice should know. For me, a non-intuitive cook, ideal instructions would be something like, “To sear your steak, raise or lower the grate until it registers XXX°. After searing, adjust the grate until it registers YYY° for continued grilling.”
The story behind Tri Tip Beef (a.k.a. Triangle Roast): This cut of meat is limited in availability because there is only one per side of beef. Therefore it is typically ground into hamburger or cut into cubes and sold as soup meat. This often over looked piece of meat is not only relatively inexpensive but also very flavorful and has become a favorite amongst the few in the know. The tri-tip roast or steak (also called a triangle roast) is the 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 pounds of meat that sits at the bottom of the sirloin. It has great flavor and tends to be much lower in fat than most cuts of beef i.e., it's a good lean cut of beef. The thing to remember is that lean also means it will dry out faster so it is recommended that you prepare with a good marinade &/or Rub. Particularly good flavors for tri-tip are Southwestern or Asian. Because tri-tip is lean, be careful not to overcook it, particularly when preparing the full roast. Medium is as far as you should go with this cut. Use a meat thermometer to monitor often during cooking. If you are used to grilling other cuts, this one can throw some grillers off by appearing underdone when it is ready to serve and by the amount it ‘swells’ when cooked. Santa Maria/Grilled Soy Lime Style – This simple tri tip recipe utilizes a hybrid marinade that is loosely based on a combination of spices picked up from two different recipes. Ingredients 2-3 Lb. Tri-tip roast Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Seasoning Blends – Meat Magic Seasoning Marinade: 2 teaspoons freshly ground 4-color pepper 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 Tbls. Garlic powder 2 Tbls. Sea Salt (fresh ground) 1 ½ Cups Apple Juice (100% pure juice) ¼ Cup Soy Sauce (low sodium) 2 ½ Tsp. Lime Juice 1 Tbls. Red Pepper Flakes 2 Tsp. Worcestershire sauce 2 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper ½ Tsp. Fresh Ground Ginger Root Optional: Corn Syrup or Honey (3 Tbls.) Basting Sauce: ½ cup red wine vinegar ½ cup vegetable oil (or EVOO) (add garlic powder if you can’t find garlic infused oil) (Continued) (Continued from Beef Tri-Tip) Preparation and cooking 1. Mix together all marinade ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the tri tip in a 1 gallon freezer bag. Place in refrigerator for 4-8 hours turning occasionally. 2. Whisk basting sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside for basting. 3. Lightly oil your cooking grid and fire up BGE to T-Rex. Remove from Marinade and pat dry. 4. Rub each side with Paul Prudhomme’s Meat Magic then sear the tri-tip at 600 to 700 degrees for 3-4 minutes per side. NOTE: This recipe calls for Searing; it is NOT necessary and you can choose to start the cook indirect and get very similar results without searing (cooking time for indirect will increase slightly) 5. Remove seared tri-tip from the BGE, cover it with foil and let it rest while bringing the BGE temperature down to 350 to 400 degrees. Optional: During this cool down period consider adding a few oak chunks to your lump. 6. Now set up BGE for Indirect cooking (plate setter) and return the tri-tip back in the BGE and cook to an internal temperature of 125-130 degrees (approximately 35 minutes) for medium rare, basting with the sauce every 5 to 10 minutes (optional). 7. Return the tri-tip back into the BGE and cook to an internal temperature of 125-130 degrees, basting every 5 to 10 minutes. 8. Remove tri-tip from the BGE, cover it with foil and let it rest 15 minutes; to serve cut into ½” slices against the grain.2 1 Paraphrased from Beef Tri-Tip, One of the best cuts you are probably not buying, By Derrick Riches, About.com Guide 2 this recipe is adapted loosely from Foodnetwork.com’s website; titled “Santa Maria Style BBQ” with lots of input from the gang at EggHeadForum.com