Colorado Tri-Tip with Santa Maria Salsa
Food and Drink

Reprinted with permission from Weeknight Smoking on Your Traeger and Other Pellet Grills by Adam McKenzie, Page Street Publishing Co. 2021. photo credit: Ken Goodman

Colorado Tri-Tip with Santa Maria Salsa

"The crunchy Santa Maria–style salsa has a little kick and a great texture because of the unexpected addition of finely chopped celery. Your guests will find their perfect slice, since the ends come out more medium and the middle closer to rare."

Cook Time: 40 minutes (plus 15 minutes to rest) Serves: 4–6


for the Santa Maria salsa:

2 large ripe tomatoes, diced

2 celery ribs, diced

2 scallions, chopped

2 roasted green chiles, diced

¼ cup (8 chopped cilantro

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon cumin

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste


for the steak:

1 (about 3-lb) tri-tip roast

½ cup beef rub, such as Coffee Junky from Spiceology

To make the salsa: in a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, celery, scallions, green chiles, cilantro, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce and cumin and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat your pellet grill to 250°F. While the grill is heating, prep the tri-tip by trimming away some of the hard fat. You can also trim the silver skin. Season the meat liberally with the rub. It is a large cut and can take a lot of seasoning.

Place the tri-tip in the center of the grill and cook for about 20 minutes. Begin checking the internal temperature every 10–15 minutes until it reaches 120°F, about 35 minutes. Then transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil.

Increase the grill temperature to 450°F. Then sear the tri-tip on the grill for about 2 minutes on each side, and remove from the grill when the internal temperature reaches 130°F for medium-rare.

Let the meat rest for 15 minutes. Remove the salsa from the fridge and taste again to see if you need to adjust the seasonings. Slice the steak and serve with the salsa.