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Santa Maria-Style BBQ Tri-Tip

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 5 hr
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Inactive: 3 hr 15 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 15 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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2 tablespoons granulated garlic

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 beef tri-tip, preferably with some fat on one side (about 2 1/2 pounds)

Santa Maria Pinquito Bean Relish, recipe follows

Tomato Relish, recipe follows

Grilled French Bread, recipe follows

Santa Maria Pinquito Bean Relish:

8 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 poblano chile, finely diced

1 medium Spanish onion, finely diced

2 cans pinquito or pinto beans, drained, rinsed and drained again

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, for garnishing

Tomato Relish:

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tablespoons canola oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, mashed to a paste with some salt

2 serrano or jalapeno chiles, finely diced

1/2 small red onion, finely diced

Grilled French Bread:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cloves garlic, chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 loaf French bread, split lengthwise

Olive or canola oil, for brushing

Handful fresh parsley leaves, for garnishing


Special equipment:
2 cups red oak chips, soaked in water for at least 2 hours, such as Susy Q's Brand
  1. In a small bowl, mix the granulated garlic, salt and pepper together and rub all over and into the meat. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Prepare a charcoal grill for direct and indirect medium-high heat. Add the chips about 30 minutes before grilling the beef.
  3. Set the tri-tip over direct heat, fat-side up, and sear until nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Flip over and sear other side.
  4. Move the tri-tip over the indirect-heat area, cover and grill until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 130 degrees F, 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let rest at least 15 minutes. Slice the meat across the grain. Serve with Santa Maria Pinquito Bean Relish, Tomato Relish and Grilled French Bread.

Santa Maria Pinquito Bean Relish:

  1. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until golden brown and the fat has rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.
  2. Add the poblano and onions to the bacon fat in the pan and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the beans and bacon and cook until warmed through. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put into a serving bowl and top with cilantro or parsley leaves.

Tomato Relish:

  1. Preheat the grill for high direct heat.
  2. Toss the tomatoes with the canola oil, season with salt and pepper and transfer to a grill basket. Grill, tossing once or twice, until charred on all sides. Remove the tomatoes to another bowl. Add the parsley or cilantro, olive oil, garlic paste, chiles and onions. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Grilled French Bread:

  1. Mash the butter, garlic and some salt and pepper in a mortar and pestle.
  2. Brush the cut side of the bread lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the bread, cut-side down, until golden brown. Flip over and continue cooking for 30 seconds longer. Remove from the grill, slather with the garlic butter and cut each half into 4 pieces. Put the pieces on a platter and scatter parsley leaves over the top.