Real Deal Santa Maria Tri-tip

Last weekend I barbecued a couple tri-tip in real-deal Santa Maria fashion. Some of you might be familiar with my typical East of Santa Maria recipe. Well, this time out I simply used the Oakridge rubs that I recently reviewed, and I even cooked them over real Santa Maria-style red oak.

I must say that the Oakridge Santa Maria Steak Seasoning really shined, although I had to cut it 50/50 with their Competition Beef & Pork Rub for the tender palettes. It's just a little too spicy for my girls.

2 Tri-tip, trimmed (about 2 3/4 lbs each, preferably choice grade)
1/8 cup Oakridge BBQ Santa Maria Steak Seasoning
1/8 cup Oakridge BBQ Competition Beef & Pork Rub

Note: In lieu of the Oakridge rubs, you can use a mixture of two tablespoons seasoned salt, two tablespoons chile powder, one tablespoon light brown sugar, two teaspoons dried marjoram leaves, two teaspoons granulated garlic, and one teaspoon dried parsley. This is just a rough estimate of the rub flavor profile.

If your tri-tip are not trimmed of excess fat, trim them down to 1/8 fat at most. I got mine at Costco and they were very nicely trimmed.

Mix the rubs or seasoning ingredients well in a small mixing bowl.

Season both sides of each tri-tip generously with the rub/seasoning.

Put the roasts in a lipped pan, cover them loosely with plastic wrap, and let them sit at room temperature for about an hour before cooking.

Real Deal Santa Maria Tri-tip

Start your grill and prepare for two-zone cooking (indirect and direct) at medium-high heat (375-400º).

Cook the roasts indirect until the internal temperature in the thickest part of each is 127º.

Real Deal Santa Maria Tri-tip

Move the roasts over the coals and cook them direct for about two minutes on each side.

Real Deal Santa Maria Tri-tip

Remove the roasts from the grill, tent them loosely with foil, and let them rest for about ten minutes.

Slice the roasts across the grain to about 1/4", and serve with your favorite sides.

Real Deal Santa Maria Tri-tip


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Spicy Korean BBQ Pork

As you might expect, I love all kinds of barbecue. I also love Asian food, but I'd never done any Korean barbecue, so this was a bit new to me. It's only a bit new because it uses a lot of familiar flavors, but to a different end.

The Korean name of this dish is Daeji Bulgogi. Bulgogi means "meat fire" and it's traditionally made with beef. In this case we add daeji, which means "pork", so we end up with "pork meat fire". Now, in barbecue terms that's just about all you need to know.

This is a mildly sweet and spicy dish that is served with either lettuce for wraps, or with steamed rice. It also typically calls for pureed or grated Asian pear (a natural meat tenderizer), but I came up with a substitute of applesauce and pineapple juice.

OK, enough with the food anthropology, let's get some pork meat fire workin'!

2 lb Lean pork (I used sirloin tip)
6 Scallions, quartered widthwise
2 Scallions, chopped to 3/4" (for garnish)
1 large Yellow onion, cut into eight wedges
Toasted sesame seeds
Canola oil spray

3/4 cup Pineapple juice
1/2 cup Applesauce (natural)
1/2 cup Soy sauce
1/4 cup Light brown sugar
4 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Mirin (or 1 Tbsp honey and 2 Tbsp water mixed)
2 Tbsp Oelek sambal (Thai chili paste)
1 Tbsp Ginger, grated
1 Tbsp Sesame oil
1 Tbsp Fish sauce (optional)

Note: You'll need a grill wok or a wire rack to sit on top of your grill grate. You can also stir-fry this in a wok or cast iron skillet on the stove top.

To aid in slicing, put the pork in the freezer for about 30-45 minutes.

Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a large bowl and whisk well.

When the pork is partially frozen, slice it across the grain to about a quarter inch.

Add the pork, onions and quartered scallions to the bowl and stir to combine.

Spicy Korean BBQ Pork

Cover the bowl and marinate in the refrigerator for 3-6 hours.

Start your grill and prepare for direct cooking at medium-high heat (350-375º).

While your grill is heating, with a slotted spoon remove the pork, onions and scallions from the marinade to a platter or baking dish, draining the excess marinade. Reserve one cup of the marinade.

Spray your grill wok or wire rack well with canola oil spray then set it on your grill grate and let it preheat for 2-3 minutes.

Grill the pork and veggies in the wok or on the rack direct for about four minutes per side.

While grilling, bring the reserved cup of marinade to a gentle boil in a sauce pan over medium heat and let boil for five minutes. This kills the nasties in the marinade and allows you to use it as a finishing sauce.

Remove the pork and veggies to a platter and drizzle with the cooked marinade.

Garnish with the sesame seeds and chopped scallions.


(Makes four servings)

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Review: Oakridge BBQ Rubs

I'll readily confess that I am a serious seasoning freak. I have more kinds of various seasonings than should be allowed by law. However, I really have a weakness for barbecue seasonings, so when Mike Trump from Oakridge BBQ was kind enough to send me some rubs to try I welcomed the opportunity.

The Oakridge BBQ company is based in Kearney, Missouri, near the barbecue mecca of Kansas Ciy. They grew the company out of an award-winning competition team that began in 2002. Among other awards, they hold a coveted perfect 180 score in pork ribs. Having competed for a few years myself, I can tell you that that is a huge accomplishment.

When I received the rubs I was immediately intrigued by their gold packaging. Rather than the ubiquitous shaker bottle, they package their rubs in high-quality multi-layer resealable bags. Spices are highly susceptible to air and light exposure, so this packaging really helps to keep the product fresh to your door, and between uses.

Speaking of freshness, that's one of the very first things that came across the moment that I tasted the rubs. The flavors explode on your palette and immediately scream "fresh and quality". Their rubs are blended by hand in small batches and boast 100% natural indredients, with no MSG, no fillers, no preservatives, and no anti-caking ingredients. Oh, and all of their rubs are USDA-qualified as low-sodium products.

I tried three of their rubs (Competition Beef & Pork Rub, Secret Weapon™ Pork & Chicken Rub, and their new Santa Maria Steak Seasoning), and they all were simply outstanding. Each has a unique flavor profile, but they all have a familiar base flavor with a great balance of sweet, savory, and spice. I even used the Santa Maria Steak Seasoning on a barbecued prime rib roast to rave reviews. Their Secret Weapon™ is exactly that.

If you are looking for some seriously fresh hand-crafted quality rubs that are far from the same old same old, order some Oakridge rubs and thank me later.



Last night for dinner I decided to do a little Greek street food. I made Souvlaki with a light Mediterranean orzo salad. How can you go wrong with grilled pig-on-a-stick on a nice sunny day? You really can't.

Traditionally Souvlaki is made of lamb, but in recent times it's often pork, or even chicken. It's simply small pieces of marinated meat that are grilled on a skewer then served either on the skewer, or on pita bread with tzatziki sauce. I served mine in the latter fashion. I also skewered and grilled some red onion and sweet peppers for toppings.

2 lb Pork, cut to 1 1/2" cubes (I used sirloin tip)
1/2 cup Dry white wine
3 cloves Garlic, chopped fine
1/2 cup Canola oil
1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup Fresh oregano, chopped fine
2 Tbsp Kosher salt
2 tsp Black pepper, ground fresh
1 tsp Fish sauce (optional)
1/2 tsp Ground cumin
Juice of two lemons

Tzatziki Sauce
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt, or drained plain yogurt
1/8 cup Honey
1 medium Cucumber
1 tsp Dried dill
1 tsp Sea salt (or Kosher)
1/2 tsp Ground white pepper
1/4 tsp Granulated garlic
1/4 tsp Ground cumin
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Important: Make sure that your dried herbs are fresh. They only last about six months, so if they're old get some new.

Peel the cucumber, slice it in half lengthwise, then use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. This will help keep the sauce from being too watery.

Mince the cucumber, put it on some plastic wrap, and sprinkle with a bit of the salt.

Wrap the cucumber up in the plastic wrap and let sit for about 30 minutes. The salt will help draw some moisture out of the cucumber.

In the mean time, add all of the remaining sauce ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate.

When the cucumber has rested for 30 minutes, open one end of the plastic wrap and squeeze out as much water as you can.

Add the cucumber to the sauce, stir to combine, cover and refrigerate.

Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.

Put the pork in a large zip-top bag, add the marinade, seal while removing the air.

Place the bag in a lipped pan (to catch any leaks) and refrigerate four hours.

If you're using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least an hour.

Start your grill and prepare for direct cooking at medium-high heat (375-400º).

While your grill is heating, skewer the meat with five pieces on each skewer.

If you want to serve grilled vegetables, skewer them separately.


Grill the pork and veggies direct for about four minutes per side.

Serve the pork on a warm pita smeared with tzatziki and topped with some grilled veggies.


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