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Santa Maria Seasoning Recipe


Joined Jan 7, 2014
Since you all have been helpful in teaching me the ways of smoking, I'll help out with an easy rub recipe for true Santa Maria grilling.  The following recipe is my take on Susie Q's Santa Maria Seasoning, which is the "original" Santa Maria seasoning.  I started doing this when I moved to the east coast and couldn't get Susie Q's anywhere.  I've tested this over decades and I think it's pretty spot on. Even if it's not perfect, it tastes great on a tri tip or any grilled steak.

Santa Maria Seasoning

4 T Salt, coarse ground

2 tsp Black pepper ground

2 tsp Garlic powder

2 tsp Dried Parsley, minced

1 tsp Sugar

It looks like a lot of salt.  And it is, but it's the proportions they use.  Also, since they rub it on just before cooking, it doesn't get into the meat that deeply, so you get great beef flavor on the inside and a salty, garlicky, slightly sweet crust. It balances nicely.

Added bonus note: A proper Santa Maria BBQ includes slices of french bread (toasted on the grill) and dipped in butter.  A few years back, I was visiting a relative who has a ranch in the Santa Maria area.  I noticed that they had put a couple of roughly chopped garlic cloves and some salt (like a heavy pinch) in the pan they use for melting the butter.  Tried it at home and it makes a huge difference.  Don't let the butter get hot enough that the garlic browns, just warm it up and let it steep for a while. The flavors pop nicely.


Master of the Pit
Joined Jul 28, 2013
Sounds good.  I used to get  tri tips with Santa Maria seasoning, but a butcher recommended Pappy's seasoning and I now keep a big jar of it on hand at all times.  I noticed a lot of stores keep a couple of pounds of Santa Maria seasoning in a 5 gallon bucket and will drag the tri tips through it.  Doesn't seen very sanitary to me to use the same batch of seasoning  after dragging raw meat through it day after day


Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Joined Aug 1, 2008
Lots of folks use Pappy's Seasoning in my part of the world.

Good luck and good smoking.

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