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A close-up view of a grilled trip-tip with Santa Maria salsa on a cutting board next to a large knife.

Grilled Tri-Tip with Santa Maria Salsa

Course: Entree
Cuisine: American / California
Keyword: easy grilling recipe, how to grill tri-tip, how to make santa maria salsa
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Dry Brine: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 268kcal
Grilled Tri-Tip with Santa Maria Salsa is truly an explosion of flavor. The meat is incredibly flavorful and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. And the Santa Maria salsa is the perfect complement to the beefy cut of meat. Perfect for your next BBQ!
Print Recipe


  • 1 Gas, charcoal, or electric grill


For the Tri-Tip

  • 1 2 lb tri-tip steak fat trimmed off
  • 2 tbsp coarse Kosher salt or sea salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar dark
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dry mustard

For the Santa Maria Salsa

  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes drained
  • 2 stalks celery finely chopped
  • 3 scallions chopped, green and white parts
  • 2 Anaheim peppers seeded and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro chopped
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp oregano dried
  • 1 tsp basil dried
  • 1 tsp hot sauce ie, Tobasco, Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • tsp garlic salt


Prepare the Grilled Tri-Tip

  • Sprinkle the coarse Kosher (or sea) salt all over the tri-tip. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the black pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, brown sugar, and dry mustard.
  • Fire your grill up for 2-zone cooking. One side with direct heat and the other side with no heat.
  • Remove the tri-tip from the refrigerator. Dust off a little of the salt, but leave most of it. Sprinkle the rub all over the meat. Use your fingers to press it into the steak.
  • Place the tri-tip on the indirect heat side of your grill and lower the lid. Cook until an internal temperature reaches 110°F, about 30 to 45 minutes. Flip the meat about halfway while cooking.
  • Move the tri-tip to the direct heat side of the grill and cook until an internal temperature of 130°F is reached. Remove from the grill and let the meat rest for 5 to 10 minutes (the temperature will rise to 135°F).
  • Slice against the grain and then top with the salsa, with extra served at the table.

Make the Santa Maria Salsa

  • In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use. (You can make this up to several hours of grilling, or you can make it while the tri-tip is chilling with salt in the fridge).


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. 
If you can't find tri-tip, ask your butcher if he/she can special order it for you. 
135°F is medium-rare. Bring the meat to 145°F for medium (very little pink inside). 
This sliced tri-tip makes amazing sandwiches, too. The salsa is a great condiment, too. 
Leftovers will keep for 5 days in the fridge. The salsa will keep for 1 week but loses its freshness after several days.  


Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 342mg | Potassium: 194mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1058IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1mg